Susan Harris Howell: The Bible, Church, & Inequitable Gender Socialization

During our childhood and journey into adolescence, not only are our bodies experiencing all sorts of physiological changes but so does our psyche. In this state, identity formation, commitment to intimacy with another person, and generativity take place. 

At the same time, this is also a critical time in which people of faith are being shaped into understanding gender and roles. Whether we realize it or not, we can see many church traditions as one of the primary perpetrators of inequitable gender socialization. And most Christians who hold these social and gender views look to the Bible as their grounding source. 

And for ill or not, we can’t avoid many of the toxic masculine views of the Bible expressed in the Scriptures. 

So, how do we reframe this conversation within many churches that still take a literal interpretation and biblical worldview to show both a reverence for the scriptures and tradition while embracing a new perspective on gender? 

“Children receive a host of gendered messages from family, the church, the education system, the English language, and the media sources that channel their focus toward some pursuits and away from others,” said Dr. Susan Harris Howell on the CBF Podcast Conversation. 

Howell is a professor of psychology at Campbellsville University, where she researches and teaches on the intersection of psychology and faith. She is also the author of Buried Talents

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Andy Hale is the creator and host of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Podcast. Hale is the Associate Executive Coordinator of CBF North Carolina. He’s also served as CBF’s Church Start Specialist, the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton, and the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge. Follow on Twitter @haleandy.

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