PODCAST: How To Support Your Wife in an Equal Relationship feat. Todd Korpi

by | Jun 8, 2023 | Podcasts | 28 comments

Supporting Women as Equals Todd Korpi
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How do you act out the belief that women are equal?

This podcast takes a fun and different take on a topic we’ve dealt with a lot–but we haven’t really made practical.

A few weeks ago we hosted Nijay Gupta on the Bare Marriage podcast to take another look at women in Scripture, and see how Paul actually used women in all positions in the church. The Bible doesn’t hinder women. A few months ago Philip Payne told us the same thing.

Today Todd Korpi, who has co-pastored churches with his wife, joins us to talk about the practical: When you believe in equality, what does that actually look like? And how can men lift up women and empower them?

An important conversation!

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:


Timeline of the Podcast

2:00 Todd joins to discuss his book!
5:15 How theology + expectations played into his marriage
11:00 We view power wrong
14:45 “The Smoking Hot Wife”
1930 The Billy Graham rule
30:45 Complementarianism and decision making
41:00 Todd putting his beliefs into practice in his life

If you believe in equailty,  you have to act it out.

Todd shares how he paid lip service to equality, but when he married he still had certain ideas that his wife would do things for him that he didn’t have to do for her. And the same was true in church! So he shares his story with us of realizing the call of Christ is to actually lift people up, and use the power that you do have to help others have a voice.

It’s all based on his new book, Your Daughters Shall Prophesy, that calls men to work alongside women to achieve the kind of unity Jesus wants in His body.

I love what he had to say about learning how he had internalized entitlement without even realizing it, and how that isn’t part of the Christian walk. He deals with all kinds of issues–navigating housework; thinking about objectification; meetings at work and how we often exclude women; how to lift up the women in your church and use their gifts, and more. 

And I loved the personal stories with his wife, too!

Things Mentioned in the Podcast

Supporting Women as Equals Podcast

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!


Sheila: Welcome to the Bare Marriage podcast.  I’m Sheila Wray Gregoire from baremarriage.com where we like to talk about healthy, evidence-based biblical advice for your marriage and your sex life.  And I am so pleased to have a special guest, Todd Korpi, today to talk about his book, Your Daughters Shall Prophesy about how we can support women.  How men can support women when you do believe in equality.  So this is a great interview.  I’m so excited to bring it to you in a few minutes.  Before we do, I want to do a special shout out.  We have some new merch in the store that I am so excited about.  In our book, She Deserves Better, we have 32 little sayings that start with the phrase she should know.  So things like she should know that Jesus is not a jealous boyfriend.  She should know that she’s allowed to exist in a female body.  She should know that if you’re struggling with mental health it doesn’t mean you did something wrong.  And they’re great little phrase.  They’re great little nuggets.  And we hired someone to create us an amazing design, and we put it on pillows, on mugs, on—you can buy all kinds of stuff with it.  And it’s just so empowering either for yourself or even to buy for your daughter.  So I’m going to put a link to the store where you can see that.  We also have a lot of other merch in our store that, again, is really empowering for people.  And when you buy that merch, it helps support this podcast and this blog and everything that we do.  So go check that out.  The link is in the podcast notes.  Or just go to baremarriage.com and click on Store.  Also a big shout out to our patrons, who help fund a lot of our research.  And you can join that as well for as little as $5 a month and get some exclusive behind the scenes content.  So that’s at patreon.com/baremarriage, and the link is below.  And now without further ado, let’s get to our interview.  Well, I am so pleased to bring onto the podcast Todd Korpi, who is a Pentecostal missiologist and a professor at Fuller Seminary.  Hello, Todd.

Todd: Hi.  How are you?

Sheila: Good.  And I am so excited for your new book, Your Daughters Shall Prophesy.  It’s just out now.  And this is a different book.  We’ve had a lot of people on the podcast to talk about women in ministry and women’s roles, and that’s not exactly what this book does.  You take it one step further which I think is so cool.  And I’m going to read what you said.  “This book is not as much an apologetic for women in ministry as it is a guide for how to support women in ministry.”

Todd: Yeah.  I grew up in the Pentecostal tradition, which has been ordaining women for well over a century.  And so what I found was there’s a lot of resources out there now that are aimed at convincing people that women can and should be pastors which are all great.  But having led alongside my wife, having been around female pastors for years, I realize there’s not a lot of resources out there to help people like who are, in addition to being a pastor, is also a pastor’s husband.  And for people are in the orbit of women in ministry to know practically how do I support them?  In what ways does my helping actually hurt?  And things of that sort.  So that was kind of the aim in writing this book is—part of it is sharing a lot of my missteps along the way in the last 15 years of ministry but hopefully toward the aim that others can benefit from some of those mistakes and some perspectives as well as actually hearing from women and their real life examples as well.

Sheila: Yeah.  I love that because the point that you’re making a lot in your book is just because we believe in equality doesn’t mean we practice it.  

Todd: Yeah.  Exactly.  There’s a difference between theology and practice.  And sometimes in egalitarian spaces, I’ve found we almost use the theology as a cover or as kind of, “Well, I’ve checked off that box.  Women can be pastors.  That’s great.”  And we often ignore the ways in which we actually put barriers in place for women.  So my goal in writing this—and as I say in the book—is that we would move from being just passive supporters to passionate advocates.  That it takes forward momentum, an actual demonstrated effort, to remove those barriers to that our theology and our lifestyle actually line up.  

Sheila: Wow.  So we’re not hypocritical.

Todd: Right.  Yeah.  A little bit.  Yeah.  

Sheila: Wow.

Todd: There’s nothing worse than going to McDonald’s and asking for a shake and finding out the shake machine or the ice cream machine is broken.  And the same is true.  There is nothing worse than showing up at an egalitarian church only to realize it’s, “Hey, we’re egalitarian.”  *wink, wink* And that’s about the extent of it.

Sheila: Yeah.  And I know in Canada, in my own country, we have a number of egalitarian denominations that don’t have—or that hardly have any female senior pastors or—just because—and I don’t think it’s necessarily all about the pastor.  But it’s just how we do value women and how do we actually treat women.  So let’s jump into your book.  You did say that a lot of the book is filled with your own missteps, and I really appreciated that.  You got really vulnerable.  And I’m going to talk about one of them right now.  So let’s just jump into all of the mistakes Todd made right at the beginning of the podcast.    

Todd: That’s great.  

Sheila: But you said, “When we were first married, I expected her to do my ironing, shoulder most of the housework, and all of the cooking.  I wanted her to be in ministry, but I also implicitly expected her to drop whatever she was doing at a moment’s notice to help me in whatever I was doing.  We were theologically equal but functionally hierarchical.”    

Todd: Yeah.  So that one stings to have it read back to you a little bit.  I have a friend who grew up in Sweden who reached out to me about that and was like, “If my husband would have done that, we would have never gotten married.”  It’s like that’s fair. But a lot of it stems from—and this was the underlying point was that two people, when they get married, bring in the assumptions that they view as normal into their marriage.  So it’s not that these are my explicit values.  Well, this is my perception of normal as it pertains to how marriage is modeled.  And I had a very ministry focused egalitarian set of parents modeled to me.  So my dad supported my mom when she would teach Sunday School when she would preach.  He liked being behind the scenes.  And he was very supportive of that role, not threatened by the fact that she was a teacher and a preacher.  But at home, it was very much we were kind of egalitarian at church and complementarian at home.  They made decisions together but very much kind of a traditional, what you would think of, mid-20th century American family.  My dad did all the outside stuff.  My mom did all the inside stuff and so forth.  And Tara’s parents were very much the opposite.  Kind of functionally complementarian at church but they kind of did things as a team at home.  And so we went into this egalitarian marriage with very different expectations only to find that it created conflict as it inevitably would.  And I remember just vividly.  We were working at a church.  She was the associate youth pastor, which is the church that I talk about in the opening story of the book.  And I was the children’s pastor.  And I was running this event at the same time she was running the event.  And I remember—now mind you.  We got married young.  Give me a little bit of a break.  22.

Sheila: Yes.  I do.  Okay.  Absolutely.

Todd: But I remember getting upset with her because she wasn’t there to support me because I was overwhelmed with this event that we were running not taking into account she’s also running an event.  And I’m not there to support her.  But early on, there was kind of this default mechanism that I defaulted to of, “Well, we’re equal except for when we can’t be equal.  And then we need to go back to the normal way.”  

Sheila: Okay.  So how did you get over that?  When was the light bulb moment for you that, “I’m not being fair here”?

Todd:   Yeah.  I think it came in stages.  Early on those kind of household codes work themselves out.  I learned very quickly if I wanted to—if I needed ironing done, I needed to iron my clothes.  And found that I actually enjoyed that.  I found it therapeutic having—just well starched clothes and all that kind of stuff.  So some of that stuff worked itself out early on.  The big seismic shift came when we were church planters in Flint, Michigan.  And we were copastoring at the time this small church plant.  And there was a professor during my Masters.  He was my program advisor.  His name was Wilmer Villacorta at Fuller.  And he modeled this—the ethos of what the book is intended to represent.  This passionate advocacy.  It’s not simply just a matter of being cool with women in ministry or even being passionate about women in ministry.  But it’s an advocacy that’s—I need to look for opportunities to leverage my place in ministry and in the world to help come alongside women.  I remember coming home from a particular visit with my cohort in Colorado and coming home and just repenting to Tara, my wife.  I realize now the barriers that my thick headedness has put in place.  We planted our church in my home town.  And so in my mind consciously, we’re going at this as equals, but there was a sense under the—on an unconscious level that the church was really mine.  The city was mine.  The vision of the church was too.  And it capped her.  And truthfully, if I’m being completely honest, between the two of us, she’s really the better pastor.  It took awhile for me to come to a place where I realized that and for me to put barriers over her actually not—it not only disadvantaged her, but it disadvantaged our church and, in turn, disadvantaged the community that we were trying to reach.

Sheila: Wow.  That’s so interesting.  This whole thing about expecting that she would be there to pick up the slack or that she would—I find that—I just love this story that my uncle used to tell.  So my uncle was on the elder’s board at a complementarian church.  He and my aunt were both egalitarian, but they were going to a complementarian church.  And my uncle and aunt were both physicians as well.  And my aunt was more renowned and busier than my uncle was.  And the elders’ board was allocating all this work that all the elders had to do, and my uncle was like, “How are we supposed to get this done?”  And everyone said, “Well, just get your wife to do it.”  And my uncle said, “But Allison doesn’t have a wife.”  How does that work exactly?  But yeah.  This idea that she is there to support your vision is very much still in the church, and it is still in egalitarian spaces too.  So I love the fact that you recognize that.  You touched on something that I want to bring up too because you have a whole chapter on this idea of how we see power because we tend to see it as this limited resource or something that we have to hoard.  And that’s actually the opposite of power because you said I want to leverage my power to help her.  And so tell us how we see power wrong in the church often?

Todd: Yeah.  I think the title—I think it’s chapter 4.  It is called Power Ain’t Pie.  And it’s this idea that we tend to treat—we treat power, unconsciously, like a scarce resource.  And some of that really goes back to how we view creation, how we view our place in this world as either detached from God which is as a result of the rebellion of Genesis 3 or in communion with God as our source.  If we approach things from a perspective of the rebellion, we view power as a limited resource.  We view it as something that if you have more I have less inevitably.  But we see modeled throughout the Scriptures—and probably no greater place than the feeding of the 5,000 where the way of the kingdom is one of multiplication.  Now when we give something away, it’s multiplied in our hands.  And so in that chapter, I use the example.  I call the way of this world in power stewardship Babel power.  And I talk about that narrative where you have this establishing of this—what is actually a ziggurat.    This kind of ancient near Eastern temple that’s intended to reach to the heavens.  And the idea is if I ascend, it’s on your neck.  It’s with a boot on your neck.  I get higher by keeping you down so that I can commune with the divine.  So that everyone can look up and see me communicating with the divine and can laud, praises, and all of that.  But we see with the pattern of Jesus this Passover power.  That it is a matter, not of ascending to be like God, but of essentially stopping down, of emptying ourselves as Jesus did as Philippians 2 talks of, and not trying to count ourselves in equality with God but bending down and lifting other people up, of pouring ourselves out and the blessing in that.  I have found this both in—on a theological level but also in a practical ministry level that when I give power away, when I empower women in my life—and not just my wife but the women pastors that I have worked with.  When I give away opportunity, when I give—it stings at first.  It feels like I’m losing something.  But I have found it over and over and over again to come back as—I’m Pentecostal, so I’ll use the term double portion.  So as a double portion.  God multiplies as I give it away because He recognizes that I can steward it faithfully.

Sheila: Yeah.  I love that.  I think that’s a beautiful way to look at it.  Okay.  There is a lot of quite funny things in your book.  You give a lot of examples that are quite funny.  A lot of stories that are quite funny.  And I did laugh out loud at this particular line that I’m going to read.  But this is coming in the middle of the chapter on the smoking hot wife and the problem with how pastors often sexualize their wives in front of others and how wrong that is.  And you say, “Fundamentally, the reason is flawed because, first, and I know this is difficult for many of us men to deal with.  Most women aren’t after you.”  I’m just like yeah.  Because the reason that so many men say, “My smoking hot wife,” is to tell, “Hey, girls.  I’m off limits.”

Todd: I’m off the market.

Sheila: Yeah.  Yeah.  You know what, hun?  She’s not into you anyway.  Yes.  So let’s talk about the smoking hot wife.  Why is this such a bad, bad idea when pastors do it?

Todd: Yeah.  I think explicitly—that specific example is exactly that.  I think it’s to communicate two things.  I think there is that dynamic of—I mean all men have a slightly overinflated ego than what reality probably should call for.  So I think there is this implicit I need to communicate that I’m off the market which can be very egocentric.  I think it can also be very well intentioned.  Like I’m trying to model exclusive devotion.  But in actuality, it just comes across weird, and people don’t—people don’t come to church for you to communicate that from the pulpit.  Really it’s not proper stewardship of the pulpit.  The second thing is that it also communicates this objectification of my wife that in order to praise her it has to be her looks.  And it has to be—not just her beauty but in a sexualized way.  And I mean I have heard from many pastors in many space some of the most ridiculous shock jock value stuff said in this effort to communicate this lauded praise on their wives.  And I think perhaps a better of way of doing that is to communicate virtues that don’t necessarily—that put other women down because I don’t have to tell you.  This is your lane.  If I’m talking about all the ways in which my wife is smoking hot and all of this kind of stuff, women in the congregation are comparing themselves naturally to her.  Of all the ways she doesn’t fit that bill.  They’re shaped differently, or they look differently, or whatever.  Is that what I want as a pastor entrusted with the care of the women in my congregation?  And personally, I would say no.  And so what I recommend on that specific subject is choosing instead to praise her virtues, praise her intelligence, her strength, her wit, and choose to praise things that are stereotypically feminine.  Oh, she’s a great cook.  Well, that may be.  My wife’s a great cook, but I don’t talk about that from the pulpit because it forces her into a stereotype of, well, that’s her place.  So, of course, she should be a great cook.  And instead, I focus on values and virtues that are either neutral or kind of break open that stereotype a little bit because my heart is not only to build her up in a way that doesn’t objectify her.  But it’s also to give permission to the women in my congregation that even if you don’t fit the mold of the stereotypical wife or whatever that there is room for you in the family of God to be valued, to be honored, to be lifted up.  And I think that’s important, and we need to break free of those molds.  But the underlying point in that, of that chapter, is that there is a lot of things that we do as men—and I would say to some extent women as well—out of the desire to want to empower women in ministry, to want to empower the women in our lives, and we actually hurt.  And it’s kind of that classic adage by—inspired by that book title, When Helping Hurts.  We often intend to help, but we actually end up hurting or establishing barriers in the place of women.  And so we need to talk more openly about that.  That hey, maybe talking about your wife’s smoking bod isn’t the most appropriate way to build her up as well as to lift the feminine voice and character of your church.

Sheila: Yeah.  I’m just thinking about the men sitting in your congregation too listening to you praise Tara’s intelligence or her amazing program that she led or whatever it might be.  That’s really modeling what men should be looking for in women too.  I think that’s just such a healthy thing to do.  I love it.  In that chapter, as well, let’s just tackle another huge subject that comes up all the time in Christian circles, which is the Billy Graham rule.  So talk to me about the Billy Graham rule and what you think about that.  Or the Mike Pence rule.  Whatever people call it now.

Todd:   Yeah.  Whatever you want to call it.  Yeah.  I think fundamentally—I think it’s rooted in, again, the best of intentions but overlooking how it impacts women.  And truthfully, how it impacts men as well. 

Sheila: Yeah.  So let’s just define it because people may not know.  So the Billy Graham rule is the idea that—Billy Graham did this.  That he would never be alone in a car, in a restaurant, in a hotel room with another woman.  So there always had to be somebody else there.  And Mike Pence did the same thing.  And let’s talk about how that actually does impact women.

Todd: Yeah.  I mean think about it from this perspective.  If I’m the pastor of a local church or I run a Christian organization, a nonprofit, and I am only—and my rule is I only meet one on one with other men but there are women that are entrusted to me as their leader, then I immediately put a cap on their developmental opportunities.  I put a cap on the nature in which we can meet, the way in which I can help come alongside them and empower them, to be able to even voice concerns or problems.  Not being able to meet one on one, which again is rooted in this desire for accountability and all of that kind of stuff—but the unintended consequence of that is it limits the developmental potential of women.  And in the pastorate where women are several underrepresented even in egalitarian denominations, that’s especially an issue because often there aren’t women who in positions to develop other women.  And so you have men that won’t develop those women one on one, and so it creates a host of issues.  I think the underlying problem is that, again, it’s rooted in this assumption of the sexualization of mixed gender relationships.  That naturally if two people of opposite gender are in a room long enough that sex will randomly combust.  It’s an inevitable law of the universe and instead recognizing there are healthy boundaries.  There healthy accountability factors that you can put into place.  For example instead of refusing to ride alone in a car with all women, recognizing there may be, based on the nature of the relationship, some women in your life for whom that’s appropriate and others that it may not be for.  Or my practice is if I’m alone in a car with a woman I text my wife.  “Hey, this is where we’re going.  I’ll text you when we get there.”  It’s just a casual.  It’s not a weird thing.  It’s just like, “Hey, I’m keeping you in the loop.”  And we talk about the conversations that we have and stuff like that.  Again, not in a I have to file a report with her by the end of the day or vice versa.  But it’s just a part of the ongoing rhythm of our relationship.  We talk about our day.  And so we bring that stuff into account.  But I think that—again, it’s this idea that’s well intended, but we ignore the consequences.  And I think as the consequences—the unintended ramifications of that have been brought up, I don’t know if we’ve done a great job of taking those seriously.  It’s kind of like, “Well, yeah.  What do you do?”  Well, we reform it.  We change it.  We do something different.

Sheila: I think the underlying assumptions are kind of funny too because, like you said, the concern is that sex will spontaneously happen.  Well, I mean I’m sorry, guys.  But most women don’t want to sleep with you.  I think that’s something that men need to understand is most women don’t want to sleep—because that’s the concern.  Either I’m going to suddenly have sex that I didn’t intend to have which is not going to happen unless you want it to happen.  That’s not going to happen.  And if you’re that close to having an affair, you have bigger problems.  Or the second that’s often brought up is this fear of a false allegation.  But false allegations are really, really rare.  Really, really rare.

Todd: Yep.  Absolutely.  

Sheila: And I think when we talk about the Billy Graham rule in terms of we need to make sure there aren’t any false allegations, that actually is making an institutional statement that you think women make false allegations all the time.  

Todd: Right.  Yeah.  The number of false allegations are overwhelmingly disproportionately less than the prevalence of this kind of rule.  And you could make the case well the rule prevents that kind of stuff.  Well, the thing is is if someone wants to make a false allegation they’re going to find a way to do it.  Billy Graham rule or not.  And so I think yeah.  We need to come to grips with the fact that we are not these just objects of sexual desire as men that just—and I think we also need to recognize though that, on a pastoral level, we’re entrusted with both the men and women in our care whether they be staff, whether they be congregants, whether they be people in our community.  And that pastoral care has to come before this weird sort of gate keeping.  If the gate keeping prevents good pastoral care, then the gate keeping needs to be reformed.  

Sheila: Yeah.  Yeah.  And especially—yeah.  Because women do need mentors as well.  And if you’re in a situation where there aren’t a lot of female leaders, the only mentorship can come from other men.  And so we have to ask yeah.  How is that getting done?  You made a point too that the practices of some churches with issues like whether it’s the Billy Graham rule or whatever it might be would never pass equal opportunity stuff.  This would be all against human rights if churches were actually—because churches are exempt from a lot of these sorts of laws.  But if they weren’t exempt, churches would be in so much trouble based on how they treat women.  And I don’t think that that—I don’t think we understand how weird we are and how weird we look to the rest of the world.

Todd: Yeah.  I actually consulted a friend of mine who is an attorney.  And I was like, “Am I getting this right?  Why is this stuff able to happen so often?”  And she said, “There are obviously some prohibitions that extend both to religious institutions and non religious institutions across the board.”  But the issue isn’t even so much the religious exemption although that can play in certain circumstances, but it’s the employee threshold as many churches don’t meet the employee threshold to fall under, to qualify under, those equal employment opportunity commission guidelines for discrimination.  But we have to ask ourselves just because we don’t meet that threshold, does—should we just let ourselves off the hook?  Oh, I’m free to discriminate because we don’t have enough employees for the government to watch us.  Or do we want to live in an exemplary fashion that is a witness to the community around us.  That even though we’re not required to, we go above and beyond.  We don’t let the government regulate our holiness.  We don’t let the government regulate our human flourishing within our communities and instead choose to model a more excellent way for the rest of the world as a witness to the community.  And I think by not being required to do those things and rising above and doing them anyway, building new ways to empower women, I think the church should be a place where the rest of the world looks at us and is like this is the way to do it.  This is the way to empower women.  This is the way to empower traditionally marginalized voices.  This is the way to empower people of color.  This is the way to promote equality.  We need to look to them instead of trying to enforce or exempt ourselves from regulations by the government.

Sheila: Yeah.  I think one of the saddest things that we learned as we were talking to people when we were writing our book, She Deserves Better, is for so many young women church is the only place where they are discriminated against.  In universities, they are praised.  In colleges, they’re praised.  They’re encouraged to get graduate degrees, to keep going.  In the work place, they have multiple opportunities.  But in church, they don’t.  And it’s really hard when the place that represents your faith that represents the God that you so desperately love is the only place that tells you you’re not good enough.

Todd: Yeah.  Absolutely.  And that was the experience of my wife.  We went to a Pentecostal undergraduate Bible college.  And I mean she could not have been more elevated and praised.  And it was this nice little bubble of egalitarianism.  But we got out in the real world into our first ministry position.  And lo and behold, she—we came to a place where she was actually asked to step off staff because someone else on staff had a problem with her being a woman in ministry and working closely with him.  Now I will say, full disclosure, she was given the alternative of being my secretary.  So there was that.  But we politely declined and left.  I think yeah.  We’re in this place, and we think it’s this—that we associate often empowering female clergy as this progressive issue.  Well, it’s liberal drift and stuff like that.  But the reality is is that the church has been lifting up women since literally the Resurrection.  The first proclaimers of the Good News were women.  And God entrusted a woman to carry the Gospel in the incarnation in the womb of Mary.  And so we these early phases.  And we can go through Paul and all of these other examples, in the post Apostolic age, of women being elevated above the normal cultural expectations for a woman’s place.  And we see that thread continue.  It’s just we’ve often had this dominating thread of male heroes in Christian history.  But there are plenty of female ones to go around as Beth Allison Barr notes in her work and Lucy Peppiatt and others.  So I think that we need to come back to this place where we set this example of the church is a place where women can thrive, where women can flourish in a way that they can’t in any other environment.

Sheila: Oh gosh.  That sends shivers up my spine.  I wish that we could have that honestly because it doesn’t feel like we do.  Okay.  You then move on to the book into an interesting area because I don’t think a lot of people realize this is that there is two different kinds of complementarians.  Maybe there’s three.  I might have to count this.  There are those that think that women can preach, and so we’re going to be equal in church but not in the home.  So in the home, we’re still going to have headship and males in authority.  But in church, we’re not.  And then there’s those who are pretty egalitarian at home, but they’re pretty complementarian at church.  And then there’s some that are both.  So maybe that’s three categories.  But that is something that I see in a lot of denominations that do ordain women is that the marriage—the teaching around marriage can still be heavily complementarian.  So you do go through a lot of that.  And I want to read this to you.  You said, “There’s another problem with the term spiritual.  The way spiritual is used is in contrast to the physical.  Men and women might do their finances, household chores, meal planning, et cetera together.  The physical things.  But the spiritual matters are the domain of men or, at least, where he might have the final say.  But this way of dividing the cosmos between the unseen spiritual supernatural and the seen physical natural is born from the enlightenment, not from Scripture.”  So can you explain that?  Because I thought that was really interesting.

Todd: Yeah.  So we often draw these lines between the spiritual and the physical, the secular and the sacred, the supernatural and the natural.  And we group them together which comes down to where we end up feeling like the spiritual is that which is intangible.  It’s what I can’t see.  And that’s the good stuff.  The body is just this shell that I’m supposed to shed, and I’ll float away on a cloud into the sweet by and by.  The categorization of our lives, of I have my spiritual life, I have my work life, I have my family life is born from the enlightenment—from enlightenment philosophy of—specifically I want to say it was John Locke.  Don’t quote me on that on the fly.  That began to draw these dividing lines between the private life and the public life.  But the first Christians and the Jews from which our faith is born didn’t divide the world that way.  So it wasn’t this secular and sacred.  It was creator and creation.  And so the only thing that was apart from creation was God.  And everything else seen and unseen was grouped together in this creation.  So this idea that, well, men are supposed to be the spiritual head, but everything else is this jumbled mess is this division that really doesn’t make sense in the mind of the first readers of Scripture.  It’s just not the way they would have thought because they thought much more holistically.  That my physical life is spiritual.  That they way I tend to creation is spiritual.  The way I manage my finances is spiritual because it’s all about how I steward creation in relation to my covenant with Yahweh.  And so that comes down to this dichotomy of, well, we’re egalitarian at church, but the husband is the spiritual head that just doesn’t—that doesn’t actually pan out in—if you look at the way that Christian theology formed in the first century.  And so it just doesn’t hold any water.  But it’s kind of been the de facto assumed belief in egalitarian spaces.  And I think some of that is because there is not a whole lot out there from an egalitarian perspective on how do I live an egalitarian life.  I think of, honestly, resources like your podcast and your books and others in this world of marriage and family from this equal treatment of men and women as not the dominant voice.  It’s been very much dominated by this Leave it to Beaver, mid-20th century, American notion of gender roles in the home.  And so I think that some of it is just this is what we’ve inherited.  And until the conversation gets louder, that shows a more excellent way, it’ll continue which is why I think that we need to show a more excellent way.  

Sheila: Exactly.  Okay.  You get into one of my pet peeves, which I’m so glad you tackled this.  But the idea that, well, what it means for a man to be a head is that ultimately decisions rest with him.  And so if you’re in disagreement, he gets to be the tiebreaker, and that drives me bloody bonkers because, first of all, he could just simply declare anything in need of a tie breaker.  So it essentially means that he gets to make all the decisions if he wants to.   

Todd: Right.

Sheila: But it also makes no sense because if your aim is to follow after God and there is a disagreement and you let him decide then there is only two options.  Either you’re both wrong.  There’s never an option where you’re both right.  Either you’re both wrong, or one of is right and one of you is wrong.  What about trying to find a situation where you’re both following God?  Why aren’t we moving towards unity?  Why aren’t we moving towards better wisdom?  And why are we doing this tie breaker thing if the whole point is to follow God?  You have a whole bunch of questions to ask.  If you are in disagreement and you don’t want to just go to a tie breaker, here are some practical ways to do it.  So do you want to fill us in on some of that?    

Todd: Yeah.  And this was a principle that I learned born from making mistakes in marriage and in dialogue with Tara.  I began to recognize that this idea of having a tie breaker rule is just—ultimately, it’s silly because, like you said, the idea is striving for unity and striving to be led by the Spirit.  And we love our universally applicable rules.  If this happens, this happens.  These are the rules we follow.  We love that in our culture.  Again, not really the priority of the cultures of the Bible.  They valued the stability of relationships.  And so if we follow that biblical pattern, we recognize it’s a little bit messier because relationships are messy.  But there is intimacy that’s built in the mess, in the process.  But for us, we have—and we don’t have this list posted anyway, but this is just kind of our lived criteria.  We often default to who has the expertise in the area.  Who is better informed?  As we’re talking about something, we may defer to the other person based on who feels really that they’re being led by the Spirit and who feels like they’re being led by their emotions or the flesh.  We often defer to one another based on—sometimes it’s just a matter of who cares more.  There are some things that, “Babe, I’m with you, but I don’t really care what color we paint this wall,” or something like that.  And I don’t need to make a big thing of it.  I can just support, give feedback where it’s desired.  But if she’s the one that cares about that, then that’s fundamentally what matters.  And then there’s ultimately, for us—and this is for us.  So this is not a universally applicable rule.  But for us, we tend to defer to one another based—in matters of safety for our family, she tends to defer to me.  And in matters of wisdom and navigating relationships, I tend to defer to her.  And that’s just where our strengths kind of fall.  But that may be different for other couples.  And I am always cautious about, well, this and that because marriage and parenting publishing is just dominated with, “Well, women have this, this, and this.  And men are this, this, and this.  Men are the protectors, and women are the nurturers.”  And that’s not true.  It can be at times.  But it’s not universally true.  So I give that caveat there.  But yeah.   A lot of it is—it’s this beautiful mess, but we have found, as we’ve navigated that mess, it has caused our relationship to flourish.  And I would say that regardless of theology that pursuit actually enhances marriages and strengthens them in a way that just having a tie breaker rule doesn’t do.

Sheila: Yeah.  Yeah.  I love that.  You talk a lot about how—when we do do that tie breaker, when we do default to men that really is a form of patriarchy.  And that actually breeds dysfunction.  It doesn’t breed unity.  I know I have found that too.  But what I hear over and over again from those who do say that we should have patriarchy is that God is a God of order.  And He wants us to live ordered lives.  And He doesn’t want us to live in the chaos.  And how do you reply to that one?

Todd: I would say that God is a God of order, yes.  But God is a God of flourishing.  God desires for His people to flourish.  And that order—it has a purpose, and that’s to support that—it’s not just this arbitrary, well, God is a God of order because He’s a drill sergeant.   No.  That order is intended to promote human flourishing.  And so you have to reverse engineer it.  If the order isn’t promoting human flourishing, then it’s probably not an order given by God, and we’re reading that into God’s character.  And we’ve all worked for that kind of boss that gives away a fake amount of—or authority.  And then in a time of crisis, takes it all back, and it’s disempowering.  I worked for a pastor that was very empowering until he wasn’t.  And then it was—everything just came right back to him like a state of emergency.  It’s very disempowering.  And I think when women experience that it has—it breeds a dysfunction into a marriage that is unhealthy, that, “Well, I have authority.  I have a say until I don’t.”  If the husband always has that emergency button that he can hit and declare martial law, then that authority is really an illusion.  

Sheila: Yeah.  Yeah.  So true.  Okay.  So in the book, the case that you’re making is—throughout is really how can men use the power that they do have to prop up women, to empower women so that we can all be part of this kingdom because God needs all of us, right?  It’s not just about men.  God needs all of us.  And at the end, that really is what you’re building to.  And you gave a number of examples in the book.  And I’m wondering if you can share just one story of how you actually empowered your wife, how you gave up something because you said, “When you give away some of your power, it feels like a loss at first.  It feels like you’re giving up a scarce resource.  It feels counter intuitive.”  And it is hard.  And I know you shared how it was hard.  But can you tell us one story of when you did that for Tara?

Todd: Yeah.  I think it probably—in one of the last churches that we served together on staff at, we were both in leadership.  But there was this default regard for me.  So if they wanted an answer on something, they would come—and she was kind of like the tag along in some ways when we first stepped on staff.  And so if there was something that needed to be—a class that needed to be taught or a sermon that needed to be preached, they would come to me just by default.  And really for no other good reason than I am the man.  And so what I began—and now this was an influential church.  And it was a great opportunity speaking in front of tons of people and a wonderful congregation.  So it’s not like they were a bunch of people with arms folded.  They’re the kind of people you just want to teach.  You want to preach to because they’re so receptive and just loving and supportive and all that kind of stuff.  So it has the potential to just breathe life into your ego.  And I began to see how even in areas where she honestly would have been the better person to go to I was the default.  And so I began to recommend, “Well, I’m not available.  Maybe you should talk to Tara,” or, “Actually, I think Tara would be the better one to speak on that.”  And so before long, they began to give her more and more opportunity.  And it wasn’t this whole where she needed to be propped up.  It was really I needed to step out of the way for a second so they could actually see her for who she was on her own merit.  And they did.  And it was of tremendous benefit to the church.  And it provided a lot of opportunity.  It actually showed between the two of us she’s really the better preacher, and it provided opportunity for her to be able to exercise those giftings in a way that had I just hoarded that opportunity it wouldn’t have done.  And I think about there are other instances in different church situations that we’ve been in where a lot of it has been just looking for opportunities of how can I use my privilege—call it for what it is—in a way that just redirects praise to a woman or to give an opportunity away to a woman.  And it provides—like I said, it multiplies back on you, and some of that is just—I think of an example where there was a woman in an organization I was a part of that I had an opportunity to take credit for a work that she had done.  I was in a meeting she wasn’t in.  Nobody would have known.  It would have been great.  I talk about this in the book.   And instead, I highlighted, “Hey, this is actually the person that you laud praise on.  And if the opportunity ever presents itself for her to work on my team, I would love that because she’s amazing.”  And she was one of the first people that reached out to me when I announced that I was writing this book to offer, “Hey, when this launches, I’ll do whatever I can to help promote it,” and stuff.  You don’t do it for that.  But it was an unintended consequence of being willing to give away that opportunity just to recognize that in some way, shape, or form it always comes back to be a blessing in the long run.

Sheila: Yeah.  I love that.  And have you noticed in your years of trying to be deliberate and intentional about this, have the men around you started to mimic that?  Has that been contagious at all?

Todd: Yeah.   And I think that’s really one of the reasons why I wrote the book was because it doesn’t—it actually doesn’t take much.  It takes awareness.  And I think a lot of men, especially in egalitarian spaces, they believe women can be pastors.  And they don’t know what they don’t know.  And I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  And so a lot of the book is aimed at learning to listen to women, learning to look for unintentional cues that—or little cues that you might be dominating a conversation where you could actually proactively listen.  But I have found that men are very receptive because I think, at the end of the day, we want to empower the women in our lives but often just don’t know how.  I’ll speak for myself.  Sometimes it takes more of a direct approach to learning how to—to developing a practice that changes the way that I behave rather than just picking up on—oh, maybe I shouldn’t do that.  Instead it sometimes just takes someone explicitly saying, “Hey, when you do that, it actually is disempowering the women in your life.”

Sheila: Yeah.  I love that.  I think it’s such an important book.  It’s a different take on it than a lot of the books that we’ve had on the podcast and I’ve talked about lately because—yeah.  It’s not just saying what does the Bible say, but it’s how practically, as a husband, do you support the fact that God has given your wife gifts too.  And your wife is not just here to support you.  How can you support her?  And yeah.  You cover everything.  You cover housework.  You cover decision making.  You cover how we act in church.  You cover how we parent.  Yeah. I just love it, and so I really appreciate the work that you’ve put into this.  Do you want to tell people where they can find it or where they can find you?    

Todd: Yeah.  So you can find—all of my social media, if you want to follow me on social, is just @toddkorpi.  And then you can buy the book, Your Daughters Shall Prophesy on Amazon, on Wipfandstock’s website, Barnes, pretty much anywhere you can buy a book online.  So yeah.

Sheila: And we will put links.  We will put links in the podcast notes to your socials and the book as well.  So yeah. 

Todd: Perfect.  Thank you so much, Sheila.  I appreciate it.  

Sheila: Thank you so much.  Thank you for doing this work.  Yeah.  I’m really glad you’re in this space with us.  So appreciate it.  Yeah.  I so appreciated hearing from Todd.  And thank you for joining us on this Bare Marriage podcast.  It’s been a strange week.  The Shiny Happy People documentary launched last week.  And just in the last few days online we’ve just been inundated with people realizing how toxic these teachings were and how toxic so many of the corners of evangelicalism were.  And these teachings infiltrated all kinds of stuff even if you weren’t part of conservative homeschooling movements, even if you weren’t part of the Gothard’s seminars, a lot of it you still hear it.  As I was watching the documentary, I heard echoes of Dannah Gresh talking about the china teacup versus the ceramic mug.  I heard all about eye traps.  I mean these are all things that Dannah Gresh taught in Secret Keeper Girl too which was mainstream.  And this is something which the evangelical church is going to have to grapple with.  And so if you haven’t seen the documentary yet on Amazon Prime, it’s four episodes.  It’s super good.  And we need to open our eyes to what has been done in our name.  And we need to confront it and change.  And I hope this podcast is part of that change.  So thank you for being a part of our community.  If you haven’t already joined us on social media, please check me out on Instagram, on Facebook, on Twitter.  Twitter is angry Sheila.  Facebook is let’s talk Sheila.  They’re all different, but they’re all me.  And let’s keep this conversation going because I think this is the way that the church is going to change, and this is the way that we’re going to start having those relationships as Todd Korpi talked about that we really want to have, that are meaningful, and that empower everybody.  So thanks for joining us.  And next week on the Bare Marriage podcast, we’re going to be talking about some of our new findings.  Joanna has run some new numbers on orgasm.  Super interesting.  And we’ll be looking at some other new studies that we want to let you in on.  So join us next week on the Bare Marriage podcast too.  Bye-bye.  

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Nathan

    A bit off topic, but this was something from an earlier post that I wanted to mention.

    One of our posters (I forgot who she was) mentioned being a teenager at a church youth group. A small number of boys made her feel VERY unsafe and uncomfortable with their comments, etc. They never tried anything physical, but she was very afraid that they might. She told the youth pastor, and the pastor basically told her to tolerate it, since suffering is good, and her suffering might lead those boys to a greater level of spiritual development. He also used the example of Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia. Aslan is a Christ figure in that series, and it was written by a Christian author. In the first book, it’s stated that Aslan isn’t “safe”, but he’s Good.

    That’s fine as far as it goes, but the “unsafeness” is often applied to people who willingly go out into the world and suffer for their faith, such as spreading the Word in a hostile area. While the world can be a bad place, and Jesus Himself says that in this world you will have trouble, There are some places where you should NOT have to put yourself at risk or feel unsafe…

    1. Your home/family
    2. Church
    3. Among other Christians

    Sheila has mentioned this before. These SHOULD be safe places, havens for us in a world that isn’t always safe, especially for an underage child. She should NOT have felt threatened in a church by other people CLAIMING to be Christian.

    That said, the pastor was partially right, but not completely. Aslan is indeed “unsafe” at times, and He acted unsafely in each book. (some plot spoilers ahead).

    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Aslan kills Jadis the White Witch.
    Prince Caspian: Aslan turns some very nasty little schoolboys into pigs.
    Voyage of the Dawn Treader: Aslan exiles Coriakin to a small island (for reasons unknown)
    The Silver Chair: Aslan assists Jill and Eustace into chastising the bullies head Headmistress of their school
    The Horse and his Boy: Aslan scratches Aravis and turns Rabadash into a donkey.
    The Magician’s Nephew: Aslan growls and shows anger when Digory is less than honest about his original encounter with Jadis.
    The Last Battle: At the end of Narnia, all of the bad creatures disappear into Aslan’s shadow and are presumably annihilated.

    But notice one thing: His anger, punishments, etc are all fair and Just. Aslan never punishes you beyond what you deserve and He NEVER abuses people (or makes them feel threatened) for his own gain.

    End of long, off topic rant. In other news, yes. A belief in equality also requires action. As Todd says, if you SAY you support equality, but don’t act on it, it doesn’t really count.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I love it when you get off topic, Nathan! So good.

    • Boone

      I learned a hard lesson my twelfth Christmas. At church the powers that be are always going to side with the bad actors. There’s no justice for the good kid that follows the rules. The good kid is a sure thing. There’s no point in wasting time and Justice for him. The bad actors have to be loved back into the fold and any number of casualties are acceptable to achieve that end.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes, I think this is very much it. This is why marriage advice is always geared at the party who is trying to keep the marriage together and hasn’t done anything really wrong. They’re the ones you can get to change. The one who is blowing the marriage apart? Nope. You just have to see if you can make the marriage enticing enough and consequence-free enough for them to stay.

      • JoB

        Yes… this captures what I’ve tried to clarify in my own mind. I also absorbed the idea that If you’re not a rebel, if you’re “in the fold,” then the idea of expecting any kind of fairness in your favor, from both other Christians as well as from non Christians, is unchristian. You’re supposed to sacrifice everything so that others can see the love and forgiveness of Christ, be convicted and repent.

        The idea of “justice” really only seems to be employed by evangelicals in a very narrow context, usually something egregiously illegal perpetrated by people who have no connection whatsoever to Christianity- ie, rescuing sex trafficked children in Cambodia. I know I’m generalizing, but I don’t remember hearing much at all about “justice”, certainly not in the sense of fairness about the little things (or even big societal things) in middle class American Christianity, in my many years in evangelical churches. Grace, mercy and forgiveness were always the predominant themes. And keeping the status quo seemed to go along with that, with the reminder that it was up to God to set things right, not me. I almost feel like I should do a study of the treatment of “justice” in the OT vs the NT.

  2. Mara R

    Not done listening yet, but this made me laugh, and I’m paraphrasing.

    Todd: “There is this idea that if a man and a woman are alone together long enough, sex will spontaneously combust.”

    And as was addressed, one of the things that this fear stems from is this belief in men that they exude more attraction or sexuality than what they actually also do.

    But another thing to consider. This “Sexual Combusting” notion creates excellent camouflage or underbrush in which predators can hide. It cancels out the idea in so many people’s brains that the predator has been grooming his victim for some time before the alleged ‘sexual combustion’. As Todd said, the sex won’t happen unless you want it to happen. The predators are actively pursuing it knowing they can fall back on the ‘sexual combustion’ defense.

    The idea of sexual combustion needs to go away in order to make it harder for the predators to hide among us.

    • Codec

      I find it odd really. It seems like a common fear/fantasy for a lot of men who are young and honestly insecure that a woman will invite then into adventure wether it be sexual or otherwise.

      As someone who feels that way sometimes I wonder if it is because I see myself as inadequate so I wish someone could shoe me that I wasn’t and we could grow along the way.

    • Angharad

      Yes, I’ve noticed it seems to be a particularly strong fear that married men have about single women – the number of times I’ve heard a married guy talk about single women ‘tempting’ him or being ‘traps’ or ‘minefields’ or ‘danger’ to his marriage, and I’m thinking…really?!!! Just because you found one woman who liked you enough to marry you, it doesn’t mean every female in the world is going to fall for you. Maybe just be grateful you found ONE who did? (And most of these guys are so arrogant and immature, I’m pretty amazed that they even found one…)

      • JoB

        So I’m going off topic here, but one thing I’ve questioned over the years is why the Bible is full of the seductress/unfaithful wife imagery? And there’s really no male counterpart to capture the imagination of Bible readers? In my experience, yes, I’ve known both men and women who had bad, ulterior motives, but it *seems* to me that men are much more likely to be “on the prowl” , have a “roving eye” and/or engage in predatory behavior than women. So why doesn’t Solomon warn young women about seductive men with bad intentions? Why is Folly a woman? (Yes, on the positive side, Wisdom is also personified as female). Why is Israel constantly portrayed as a lusty adulterous woman, even though it seems like there are a lot more men who actually embody that behavior? Just one of my many questions…

        • Angharad

          As far as Solomon’s writings go, he was writing to his son, so assuming his son was heterosexual, it makes sense that he would be warning about women rather than men.

          Also, for most of history, young men from a ‘good background’ have traditionally had more freedom to go out and about than women from the same background. So again, it makes sense for writing to focus on women. A ‘well brought up’ young woman would be unlikely to have the same opportunities to be led astray as a ‘well brought up’ young man would.

        • Jo R

          Yeah, I wonder why Solomon, he of 700 “wives” and 300 concubines, doesn’t warn of promiscuous, abusive men? 🤔 🙄

          I’ve started taking Proverbs with a huge grain of salt, but especially the marriage verses. And no, I’m not ashamed of that position, and I’m not going to apologize either.

          • Angharad

            I guess Proverbs was written in Solomon’s early years, when he was still walking closely with God. If you check out 1 Kings 11, it’s clear that he turned away from God in his later life and that his multiple wives was one of the indications of that. The Bible doesn’t whitewash people – just because something is recorded in the Bible, it doesn’t mean that it was something that God approved of, just that it happened.

          • Aaron

            Solomon’s father David, was no example of marital faithfulness. He was a polygamist as well.

        • Phil

          All – the bible was written as a what to do and what not to do. Questions are certainly fair. My wife and I ask questions every Sunday in our Sunday School class. I am a huge believer in asking questions with the quest to get to the correct theology. Here is some insight and I am no expert. However – what I have learned so far in my deep dive study of the bible is that essentially JESUS is everywhere in the bible. He is even there in the what not to do stories. He is there in all
          Kind of coded ways that are not screaming JESUS is here! But the number 3 is an example. Blood and wine references and bread and the list just goes on and on. While I know a little about Solomon I have not study him/his writings. What I am willing to do is BET IT ALL (I am not a betting man). that in his story and writings Jesus is there also. The bible is not an easy read and it is not always easy to understand or detect the underlying messages let alone the actual stories themselves. I would never know what I have found today in the bible with out the help from commentary. That being said we can not ignore parts of the bible and discount them. If we do we are the same as the jokers who come around here and quote Scripture and run. The Whole Story is important. I cant really tell you why because I admit I haven’t read it all yet. I just know that the entire bible is important regardless if the story is positive or negative and especially when the message does not seem to fit with the messages and concepts that are taught here. I am hopeful for us all that when we are discussing these topics that we are actually reading this stuff. My question to us is do you read the scriptures that people quote around here? I admit I could get bogged down if I read them all but when I engage I go to that scripture and I read before and after what ever was quoted. It really is a big deal to do that. Anyway. I hope for us all to have a better understanding of the bible so we can all be more like Jesus.

        • JoB

          I get that scripture was written by individuals, and there’s a lot to be learned from understanding it in its original context. And I guess I’m kind of answering myself when I think about one of Jesus’ main missions being to correct the misreading and misapplication of scripture in his day. But I do wonder why God has this theme that honestly seems unbalanced, to me at least. And it’s not just Solomon, it’s a running theme throughout the OT prophets (of which Hosea/Gomer is one of the more memorable images), there’s the Great Whore of Babylon… I guess it seems like it feeds a stereotype of women. Of course, those who misapply scripture are responsible for choosing stereotypes over truth, but still – why does it have to be there in the first place? And don’t even get me started on my questions about the tolerance of polygamy- so if a woman wanted to have sex with more than one man, she was automatically an adulteress? But if a man wanted to have sex with more than one woman, as long as he didn’t take another man’s woman, he could just acquire her as another wife. So, it would be much easier to characterize a woman as an adulterer, since she was the only one who was expected to be monogamous. I understand that God works with us where we are, in our human moment of culture and history… but he asked the Israelites to be set apart in so many ways, he couldn’t make monogamy one of them?? I know I cannot comprehend the mind of God, but I think it’s a legitimate question.

          • Phil

            It sure is JoB. My view and I am not saying this is THE answer is that “God’s theme” you mentioned was not God’s theme but mans theme that God used. Free will is much of the story that God used for his plan. Sex and whores and women and multiple wives and men having sex with men? NOT GODS PLAN. Absolutely not! That has been mans struggle as the result of the fall. Sadly, what we are doing here right now right here in this space is scuffing the surface of this giant struggle. My home Pastor (who is dead now) told me when I told him I struggled with sex addiction “Ah! Thats the oldest one in the book!” I really hope for the best for all on the sex topic. I really do. And I do see forward change in the world particularly in this space. My opinion is that until Jesus comes again, this world will always struggle with sex. I dont get to explain why it just is. The fortunate part for is is we have found a safe place here. God’s mysterious ways will be revealed when we wake up dead 😬. Thanks JoB.

        • Willow

          JoB, the Scriptures as we have them were written down by men (from an oral culture), discussed by men in synagogues and churches; edited, copied, and transcribed by men, collected by men, preserved by men; and, for the Christian portion of the Scriptures, it was an exclusively male council who decided what was going to be included in or excluded from the official (canonical) scriptures.

          It is my belief that the Bible, as we have it, is predominantly the stories men tell each other about God. It is not surprising to me that these stories are one-sided in topic, language, characters, or “types.”

          I have often asked myself, what are the stories women have told each other about God? What were the stories Sarah told about being an elderly mother when the other mothers were teenagers? What were the stories Mary told her friends about raising an “exceptional” child? What were the stories Jesus’s sisters told about growing up with him? What were the stories the women in exile told, or Moses’s big sister Miriam told? Where are the stories Deborah told about her wisdom in judging various situations? These stories were told, but have been lost to time. Now we must rely on the Spirit to fill our hearts with the stories women tell each other about God.

    • CMT

      I laughed at the spontaneous combustion thing too. You’re probably right that it works to the advantage of predators and that isn’t a laughing matter.

      The other odd thing to me is, this thinking only applies if everyone’s straight. So basically, assume non-heterosexual people can manage themselves appropriately around folks they might be attracted to, but heterosexual people can’t?

    • Wild Honey

      Made me laugh, too.

      I’m with Sheila when she says, “I mean I’m sorry, guys. But most women don’t want to sleep with you.”

      I had started volunteering as an admin assistant for our pastor and realized he was practicing the Billy Graham rule for our weekly meetings. I was well into my 30s by that point, but mentally reacted like a teenage girl: “Eww!!! Gross!!!” Totally changed how I viewed him, and made interactions with his wife awkward (at least on my side).

  3. Angharad

    I loved your uncle’s comment about his wife not having a wife to do stuff for her when she was busy – so funny!

    One comment re the ‘Billy Graham Rule’ though – I know it’s come in for some hugely bad press recently, but I actually think it’s sensible for those in leadership to avoid being alone with ANYONE. You can have private conversations at one end of a room (or even in a room that has a window between it and another room, with people in the outside room) – you don’t have to go somewhere where you can’t be seen by others.

    The problem is that there ARE people who will manipulate and abuse one-on-one conversations – it helps to protect both parties if they are never alone together. The alternative is that you happily meet alone with people until you encounter someone you are wary of trusting and then you refuse to meet alone with that person – which makes it really obvious that you don’t trust them.

    We had a lady in our last church who had some mental health issues and would come out with random accusations against people. Because my OH has a principle of never having private meetings with just one person, she didn’t feel singled out when he arranged to meet in a coffee shop or in one corner of our large church hall if she asked to talk with him. Someone else on the leadership team didn’t have this rule, and when she asked for a private meeting with that man, he didn’t feel he could discriminate against her by insisting on meeting in a public place. Sure enough, right after they had their meeting, she was claiming bullying and abuse took place in that meeting… Totally horrendous time and especially for the guy who got accused, and a whole lot of mess and investigation before he got cleared. And even now, there are some people who will mutter ‘no smoke without fire’. So I’m 100% in favour of the ‘Billy Graham Rule’ but it needs to be applied to EVERYONE, not just to attractive and/or single people of the opposite sex!

    • Angela Cabrera

      I was thinking that at my male OB/GYN’s office, they have the doctor come and talk to you, sometimes with, sometimes without another person in the room, but when it’s time for a physical exam, they always have another staff member present. Like you said, there must be some wise ways of meeting with people and still having confidentiality.

  4. Nathan

    > > why the Bible is full of the seductress/unfaithful wife imagery

    I’ve also heard many songs (from earlier generations, anyway) sing of the need for a faithful wife, and how the heart of a great marriage depends on a wife who never strays, and so on. But almost no mention of asking husbands to do the same.

  5. Lisa Johns

    Sexual combustion doesn’t happen. I guarantee the creep who “combusted” on me when I was just out of college had been fantasizing for months. 🤢

  6. Laura

    This particular podcast was so divine and happened at just the right time. On Sunday, the pastor of a Southern Baptist church I had been attending with a male friend for several months mentioned in his sermon that women cannot have the title of pastor or deacon, but they can do anything else. His reasoning was that this is “scriptural” (I knew he was referring to that verse in one of the Timothys but he did not cite the verse). I groaned. Thankfully, I was sitting in the balcony and later told my friend about it. He did not hear what the pastor said because his mind was somewhere else. I told him that I am not sure I can ever attend a service there again because it is so triggering to me when I hear things like that in church. When a pastor says that women cannot be pastors or deacons, he might as well just say that he does not think of women as equal to men and they should not have the same rights as men. I know that’s part of the Southern Baptist doctrine and the pastor was frustrated that the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) would soon be voting on the matter regarding women in church leadership. Thankfully, my friend understands my feelings and told me I did not have to attend this church because of him.

    Well, today when this podcast came on about this topic of women in leadership, I knew this was definitely a God-thing and I texted the link to the youtube video to him. He saw it and thought it made a difference to him. I told him I wish those in church leadership would learn this stuff, but sadly, a lot of SBC pastors are set in their ways.

    • Laura

      My male friend was the one to who I sent the link to this podcast. Not the pastor. I hope I didn’t sound confusing here.

      • Lisa Johns

        Maybe you should send it to the pastor. 😁

  7. Angela Cabrera

    Sheila, was the the podcast where someone asked the listeners to picture a Christian, then used describing words and asked us what kind of person we were picturing? Then he said, “most of you were picturing a white, American, Evangelical Christian, but I was talking about a female in (some African country.) If so, could you tell me the minute mark to find that?

  8. Aaron

    It is very rare in Pentecostal circles to have a female senior pastor (I am a Pentecostal myself). I’ve never seen a Pentecostal church with a female senior pastor. It’s not uncommon in Methodist circles, of which much of Pentecostal theology comes from, that the senior pastor is a woman. When the first people who preached the truth about the resurrection were women, what are we doing telling women they can’t preach?


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