The Blog

Discussions about the Gospel

Sarah and I talk about a lot of things, most of that dialogue doesn’t make it into the public sphere (you’re welcome.), but some of it does. Typically, what you hear in our podcasts is the fruit of our good discussions; but sometimes some of our good discussion don’t end up as podcasts about gender and theology and the Bible. Sometimes those discussions just stay between us. But when a specific topic consistently occupies our dialogues, we take note; and most recently that topic was the place of works in the life of the believer. As two individuals who ascribe to the Law/Gospel hermeneutic, we are cautious to discuss this topic openly. We are both sensitive to the fact that there are legitimate visceral responses to the discussion of works in the life of the believer for those who are coming out of fundamentalism. When you’ve been beaten severely by the Command and you encounter the freedom that is inherent in the word of the Promise, sometimes the right reaction is a pendulum swing to the other side and you can’t hear anything whatsoever about works. As someone who hasn’t come out of fundamentalism, I (Lauren) have never had a bad reaction to discussing works, ethics, or the law in the life of the believer. I (Sarah) have come from fundamentalism and needed significant time away from this discussion, allowing my previous framework of justification through works to completely crumble. I needed time to heal from what I would consider spiritual trauma, while also understanding that the gospel does not hinge upon my “doing”. I spent some time testing the “bounds of grace” much like an adopted child tests the love of her new parents. I needed to see that the gospel would remain true even if I pushed against it at every turn or stopped lifting a finger altogether. God is faithful, the gospel will always hold no matter what, and Christ’s union with me is permanent. Now that I do not have to worry about my vertical righteousness before God (coram Deo) I am now freed to consider my righteousness before the world, ie: love to my neighbor (coram mundo). While I am re-entering the discussion on works, even now I do so with great timidity, refusing to take my gaze from the gospel. So, sometimes the pendulum has to swing and there’s freedom for that swing. Lauren has been a friend and a guide, waiting for the Spirit to do it’s work, and for me to be ready to step into these waters with her. Her friendship, alongside a few others, has been a safe space for me to question, wrestle, and learn again. My posture with Ezer has always been lady laity, and so it brings me joy to bring this particular conversation to the surface alongside our podcast content. I am learning and she is patient.

So when dialogues with Sarah repeatedly turned to the topic of works, I was more than ready and willing to have those discussions. And these were really great discussions; discussions we noticed were lacking from our general public discourse. So we decided to rectify that lack by initiating the discussion. Sarah told me about a post she had written about the joy of work returning to her; I offered that I could theologically explain why that’s happened. I asked her to wait to publish her post so I could write mine. (Sarah, your patience is unyielding and thank you for the room to suffer under writer’s block for so long.) And last night we published our posts in tandem and linked—this may explain why some of our tweets today look like unwieldy, double-decker buses. Sarah’s post is titled, “The Joy of Work Restored” and mine is “The End of Toil; Work Restored”. They work together and are meant to be read together, though no specific order is required; feel free to read Sarah’s first and mine second or vice-versa.  Together we’ve combined the personal with the doctrinal; something we’ve always aimed to do in all that we are as Ezer Uncaged. We do really believe that works have a vital and vibrant place in the life of the believer and we are looking forward to more discussions about it.

So, below are the links to the post; we hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoyed writing them:

Sarah: The Joy of Work Restored

Lauren RE Larkin: The End of Toil; Work Restored

This is part 2 of a series. You can find part 1 here – “Consider, Take Counsel, and Speak: A Narrative of Judges 19“.

…She crawled towards the old man’s house, fearful that the mob would change their minds and come back for her. As she reached the threshold, she outstretched her arms, and lay her head down, too broken to cry out for help. She recalled the form of her father, standing on the threshold of the home where she grew up, wishing she were at his feet now…

Her breathing was labored and filled with the dust of the ground. Her body so broken it was numb to feel any of the pain that it should have felt. She waited for the death she knew and felt was eminent and she closed her eyes.

A beautiful aroma wafted overcame her. She smelled something. What is that…? Is…is that frankincense? Myrrh? It’s so beautiful… With beleaguered breathing she tried to take in the fullness of the pleasing and soothing scent. She recalled her own oils she used to wear and how beautiful she felt when she wore them.

She opened her eyes to look around to see if she could locate the wonderful aroma. No one. She was still alone.  She closed her eyes again.  Vivid colors of crimson and scarlet danced in her minds eye. So rich, so luxurious…so royal, so special…

Then she heard something. What was that? Footsteps? She opened her eyes, barely. She saw something. Someone. Someone was walking toward her. Who is that? She wondered. Is that a woman? She closed her eyes; again, it was too exhausting to keep them open.

And then she felt a presence by her side and a hand softly moving hair back from her swollen and bruised face. She cautiously opened her eyes and they made contact with the eyes of a beautiful woman who was kneeling beside her.  The woman’s eyes were confident, the type of eyes that were confident with laughter.

The concubine inhaled…the aroma! The aroma she had smelled earlier was stronger now. It was her… She felt the crimson and scarlet linen the woman wore brush against her beaten and dirty frame as she knelt beside her. It was her I was seeing.

The woman continued to caress the concubines face, and the concubine kept staring into the now tear filled eyes of the woman: this strong woman, this capable woman, this…this…woman worth far more than any ruby or pearl. The concubine closed her eyes again; again, she was too exhausted to keep them open.

Then she felt the woman lean in, close; she felt her lips nearly touch her ear. And the woman spoke:

You, beloved daughter, are worth far more than you know. You, beloved sister, are not forgotten or forsaken. I’ve come to tell you: it will not always be so. For He comes, and He will rise with healing in His wings to mend all that has been broken, to right all that is wrong, to give life abundant where there is nothing but death. He is the good portion that can never be taken away from you. You will be called blessed. You will be loved. You will, once again, be adored.

The concubine gathered up all her remaining strength and opened her eyes one more time to see the woman. She was gone. The concubine closed her eyes for the last time.

…As the tears [of hope] began falling slowly from her eyes and then rolled down her blood stained cheeks, she took her final breath.

Photo Credit

*TRIGGER WARNING* This article is a narrative about a biblical account of sexual assault and violence which may be triggering to survivors.

In those days, when there was no king in Israel, a certain Levite was sojourning in the remote parts of the hill country of Ephraim, who took to himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah.2 And his concubine was unfaithful to him, and she went away from him to her father’s house at Bethlehem in Judah, and was there some four months. 3 Then her husband arose and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back.” (Judges 19: 1-3)

“Your husband has returned!”

Her father sounded so sure, so filled with hope. Her stomach was in knots. Had he come to put her to death for her unfaithfulness? Did he intend to take her back with him?

As he walked through the doorway and approached her, she held her breath. He offered a warm greeting to her and she bowed her head in response.
Continue reading

A good friend of ours had a really interesting take on the week following the fall in Genesis 3, and after much harassment kind persuasion, he agreed to share them with us. He is the author of Homeschool Sex Machine and JV Superstar but mostly he spends his time writing think pieces on important theological matters like Butt Sin. You can find Matthew Pierce on twitter @ongreenmountain or his personal website, www.matthewepierce.com.

So here we go …

Continue reading

As breath filled his lungs for the first time, his eyes opened wide.

Life began.

He blinked at the brilliant blue above, and smiled wild with wonder as words from his Maker filled his ears for the first time.

Joy.

The man rose from the soft patch of grass where he was carefully, perfectly formed in the hands of the skilled Potter. Approaching the garden made especially for him, sweet aromas began to fill his nostrils. He stood in amazement taking in every luminous detail. Water rushed in the river nearby and he was startled as the fish began to jump up out of the water, in a rhythmic dance before their Creator. Everything the man laid his eyes on made him gasp and smile with delight.

He reached out and took fruit from a nearby vine and pulled it to his lips. It’s soft, firm skin gave way as the sweetest nectar spilled over his taste buds. The man began to leap about trying all of the different fruits, shouting euphoric exclamations with each new experience. As the Lord watched the man enjoying all that He had made, He was pleased.

It was good.

Continue reading

Genesis 2:23

This one at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh … You surpass them all.

Who is woman? A question asked by men and women alike and that is applicable to all generations. A question I ask myself, as a woman. A question all too often defined by her form and function. But we cannot isolate her from man to answer the question, because the answer to who she is lies in her relation to him. And often the answer seems to be not really an answer at all. She is completely similar to him, yet utterly different; she is equal yet not interchangeable; she is of the same flesh and bone yet a different person completely; she is comfort and challenge.

Continue reading

Why should women study/know theology/doctrine?

I’m having a hard time not answering with a simple “Because!” and calling it a day.

But I won’t just answer with a curt “Because!” Mostly because I can’t write a blog post that short, but also because this question and the answer are far too important for me.

I’m a woman and I study theology. So the answer to the question, “Why should women study/know theology/doctrine?” is an intensely personal one for me. In answering the question, I’m essentially telling you why I study theology. And in telling you why I study theology, I’ll be forced to use my existence, my person, as the foundation for the answer. I study theology because I am human, because I am woman, because I am both a daughter and a sister, because I am both a wife and a mother.

Continue reading

We are only free to know and search the hearts and minds of those whom we know love us and want to be with us. We need to know that we have this kind of freedom when it comes to searching, knowing, and studying our Heavenly Father. If we believe God is distant and angry — theology will be intimidating, scary, or perhaps “not worth the risk”. When I was I unsure of God’s love for me, seeking and searching Him was a terrifying thought. Once I grasped the truth found in the gospel, I was then given freedom to try and understand this beautiful God, who loved me and poured out his grace upon me. Theology then became something that I enjoyed to explore freely, instead of something (or Someone) to fear.

The truth is that God has always desired for us to know Him personally, and from creation has dealt with mankind from a place of love, drawing us to himself. From the moment He said “Let us make man in our image …” He put his imprint on our very being and by doing so, He identified Himself with us. In the beginning, God spoke with his creation and walked with them in the garden. Let that marinate for just a moment — because this is the crux moving forward: The Creator of the universe — who is not bound by time or space — who is Holy and all powerful — not only associates with His creation, but He draws near to them.

Continue reading

We are so excited to share Ezer Uncaged with you all! This project has been in the works for a past few months now involving many “goosebump-filled” conversations between Lauren and Sarah. (Goosebumps are the litmus test for a “good idea.” 😉 ) Throughout all of these conversations, one thing has been very apparent as we have been building this idea of starting a podcast — we are both very passionate about gender relations in general, but more specifically, woman. Ezer Uncaged was created for the sole purpose of proclaiming the gospel to weary, burned out, burdened, caged woman.

Continue reading

Here’s a sneak peak at what’s on the horizon as we head into Season 1 of the Ezer Uncaged podcast.

Pilot: The Reveal

Introduction: Why Should Women Study Theology

Season 1: Who is Woman?

  • Episode 1: Woman in the Garden — Genesis 2
  • Episode 2: Woman in the Fall — Genesis 3
  • Episode 3: Woman in the OT — General OT and Proverbs 31
  • Episode 4: Woman and Jesus — Jesus’ relationship with women, Mary and Martha, Luke 10
  • Episode 5: Woman and Paul — Paul’s relationships with women/his use of house-codes, so the epistles in general
  • Episode 6: Woman in Real Life — Taking what we heard and and processing it in our lives

Please subscribe to the Ezer Uncaged podcast via iTunes and don’t forget to follow and like us on Twitter and Facebook.