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Carolyn Custis James: Helping Men and Women Embrace a Blessed Alliance Based on Biblical Understanding

Carolyn Custis James

Carolyn Custis James thinks deeply about what it means to be a female follower of Jesus in a postmodern world. She travels extensively both in the US and abroad as a speaker for churches, conferences, colleges, theological seminaries, and other Christian organizations. She is an adjunct professor at Biblical Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, as well as being on the board of the Institute for Bible Reading. In addition to writing several books including Malestrom, Half the Church, and The Gospel of Ruth, Carolyn is a regular contributor to blogs such as Missio Alliance and the Huffington Post/Religion.

Key Questions:

What is a male-female blessed alliance?

Are we as a society moving closer or further away from a biblical understanding of manhood and womanhood?

What can we learn from Genesis 1 and 2 about God’s original intention for gender and image-bearing?

Key Quotes:

“[In Genesis 1 and 2, God’s] not making any distinctions between them—saying now this is his job and that’s her job.”

“It is a Kingdom strategy…when [God’s] sons and daughters join forces and work together.”

“Both of us would say we have done more because of the other person than we ever would have done on our own.”

“After the 2008 financial crash, financial experts were saying ‘Would we be in this mess if it had been Lehman Brothers and Sisters?’ And not because women are better, but because different decisions get made when you get the whole, broader perspective of both male and female points of view.”

“When we come to the Scripture as western Americans, we are coming to a book that is not an American book and it is not a western book. And if that isn’t our starting point—if we just lunge into biblical interpretation and never leave our shores, never understand how that world worked, we will miss the meaning of the text.”

“We’ve assumed that patriarchy is the divinely approved system; although we’ve thrown out slavery and we’ve thrown out polygamy…Patriarchy is not the message of the Bible, it is the backdrop to the Bible’s message.”

“What happened at the fall was the destruction of the relationship between humanity and our creator, and the destruction of the relationship between male and female.”

“When Jesus came, he said he came to bring a Kingdom that is not of this world. So I think we should be looking for something that’s very different than what we’re willing to settle for.”

“The changes in the world that are so unsettling right now are also opportunities to ask new questions and bigger questions.”

“To ‘image’ somebody you don’t know is not possible; it’s something we’re supposed to work at.”

“The battle that God was calling humanity to before the fall meant engaging the enemy, meant the struggle of the life of faith.”

Mentioned in the Show:


Half the Church

The Gospel of Ruth

Twitter: @carolynezer


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Jason serves as the Chief Strategy Officer at PastorServe, a ministry committed to strengthening the Church by serving pastors through personal coaching and church consulting. He also hosts FrontStage BackStage, a podcast and YouTube show, that helps pastors embrace healthy, well-balanced leadership as they develop a sustainable rhythm for life and ministry. Prior to joining the PastorServe team, Jason served as Vice President of Ministry Mobilization at Outreach, Inc., and as the Executive Director of the National Back to Church Sunday movement. Additionally, Jason served for nearly two decades in pastoral leadership, primarily as a lead pastor, in several contexts, including church plant re-launch, multisite church, multiethnic urban church, and an established suburban church. His experience as a lead pastor has provided numerous opportunities to coach and mentor pastors across the country. Jason and his beautiful wife, Monica, are the proud parents of six children and live on Anastasia Island, Florida. @jasondaye