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I couldn’t make it to a computer last week so there’s even more Friday reading today. There’ll be a bit of a gap in the blogging for a while – I’m going away for the next two weeks, visiting some remote communities in the NT. I love visiting these communities, they’ve got a lot of things going for them but unfortunately a reliable internet connection isn’t one of them.

On mothers

Diana Butler Bass The radical history of mothers day

Sarah Arthur Are women really saved through childbearing?

Anne Summers There is a better way to help mothers return to paid work

On Phoebe

Psephizo Phoebe, carrier of Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians

Where does that leave Phoebe? It appears as though she was not in fact the lector of Romans, and so Wright’s statement that she was ‘it’s first expositor’ is perhaps an overstatement. However, it remains the case that Phoebe was known to Paul, had a role of church leadership, and was entrusted by Paul with a key letter on which the next phase of his ministry depended. The phrasing of Romans 16.1–3 makes it clear she fulfilled the usual role of letter carrier, and as such she would have had an important role in answering questions and ensuring that the letter was understood correctly—so a better phrase might be ‘authoritative interpreter.’

On leadership

Ben Myers Bonhoeffer and the magical powers of leadership

On Adam

John Schneider The fall of “Augustinian Adam”: problems of original frailty and supralapsarian purpose

On the budget

I love interactive infographics.

ABC Budget 2013: where will your taxes go?

On recovering from alcoholism

Rachel Held Evans Ask a recovering alcoholic

On thinkers

Alecia Simmonds Why Australia hates thinkers

As a country we are hostile to those who are well-educated. We prefer home-spun wisdom to years of research. Our language is peppered with vitriol reserved for those who think for a living: “chattering classes”, “latte-sipping libertarians”, “intellectual elites” and now Nick Cater’s most unlovely term “bunyip elite”. If we want to emphasise the importance of something we say that the issue “is not just academic”. Any idea that takes longer than a nano-second to understand is howled down. Or perhaps, more precisely, any idea that threatens conservative orthodoxy is consigned to the divine irrelevancy of the academy…There’s no doubt that Australia is a vast, sunny, intellectual gulag.

And a response from Jeff Sparrow – Why Andrew Bolt is not an imbecile.

On wise women

Sarah Bessey has put together a list of 50 Church and Faith Lady-Bloggers. I’m working my way through her list.

She’s written an excellent piece on how older women often get left out of our churches. We put the young and enthusiastic up the front and forget older women, even though they’re often the wisest among us. Bessey’s piece is called ‘in which they are overlooked in a sea of hipsters’.

A few months ago, I requested stories or anecdotes about how it feels to be a woman in the church… One woman told me about how she had led worship at her church for years. But when a new young pastor was hired, he wanted a cooler band to get more young people, and the first thing to go were the older women. “No one wanted to see old women on stage,” she wrote candidly without bitterness, and so she was replaced with young women in their late teens and early twenties. She misses leading worship. Another woman told me about the sting of being passed over continually. She had very high levels of education, a seminary degree, a long history of teaching with many beloved students, but every teacher at her church’s education program was a young, charismatic man with half her education, let alone experience, despite their position of welcoming women in ministry. In practice, it wasn’t actually happening. She believed now that it was because she did not fit the expected look or personality or gender of their education program. Another woman shared about how she has welcomed and celebrated the shift in the churches of her context towards women in leadership and ministry. Yet, she has noticed that they are all young and beautiful women with identical outgoing and big-smiling personalities. The glass ceiling remains for her because she doesn’t fit the standard or “target audience” so she cheers on these young women, the age of her grand-children, with a selflessness that amazed me…

Then she Bessey went and got a list of Christian women bloggers over 50 so we can share some of their wisdom.

On Eurovision

I’m still trying to work out what to make of Romania.

Rebecca Vincent When the music dies: Azerbaijan one year after Eurovision.

On ‘typical’ Australians

Matt Cowgill What is the typical Australian’s income in 2013?

Low income earners tend to overestimate their own position in the income distribution, while high-income earners tend to underestimate theirs. In short, we all think we’re middle class.

On the ACL

Steph Judd What Christian constituency? Which burnt bridges? Rudd, the ACL and same-sex marriage?

On anglo-Catholic heaven

Anglo catholic heaven

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