I watched my husband officiate a wedding today. My daughter’s pink sweater softened the stark red of my blouse as she leaned across my arm, whispering: "I think I've only seen one wedding not done by dad.” I thought about it. Then whispered back, “Probably so.”
My daughter’s words stayed with me as I watched the bride walk down the aisle—the green silk of her beaded dress sparkling in an elegant reflection of her Indian heritage. Indeed, from the singing of a traditional Indian blessing at the opening of the service to the refrains of Skillet’s The Last Night in the recessional, the ceremony reflected a beautiful blending of cultures as well as the individuality of both bride and groom.
Skillet is a close favorite to Taylor Swift and U2 for my daughter (we raised our children well), so she approved of the music. She also approved of how both men and women stood in the bride’s party and groom’s—the order of service recognizing the “Bridespeople” and the “Groomspeople” accordingly. It wasn’t until my husband’s familiar voice echoed in the sanctuary, signaling the start of the message and vows, that the import of my daughter’s words struck me—”I have only seen one wedding not done by dad.”
Do you know what this means? It means my daughter (and my son for that matter) only have heard wedding ceremonies emphasizing the partnership of husband and wife rather than a gender hierarchy. They only have heard spouses vow mutual submission rather than the one-sided submission of wives. They only have heard how a Christian marriage is built on the equality of men and women who serve together however God has gifted them rather than confined to culturally-derived roles.
Today I saw a Christian marriage built on the full freedom of Christ.
And the best part is that my daughter saw it too.
So why did I finally decided to write on substack? Because I believe that the message of Jesus is one of freedom. Because I know the historical reality of patriarchy is oppression. And because the response to The Making of Biblical Womanhood has made me realize that my voice can make a difference for women in the church.
What I can promise you is at least two posts a month, probably more as I concentrate my public writing in this space. You will be the first to know my thoughts on Mike Winger’s video series on women; you will be the first to get my book recommendations and reviews; you will be the first to hear what I think about news in the evangelical world; you will be the first to see updates on my current research for Becoming the Pastor’s Wife and Losing Our Medieval Religion; you will get a lot of medieval history (and highlights of my upcoming trips to Italy and England). You might also get a few crossover posts with my friends (spoilers!), and you will get to know me better as a person.
For those of you who want to financially support my writing (I know budgets are tight, so do not feel pressure), you can choose the paid option when you subscribe. I will offer you some exclusive book updates, first dibs on launch team news for future books, occasional live events, and the ability to interact with me through comments and chats.
Next up for all of you is my long-promised resource guide for The Making of Biblical Womanhood. It think it will be the perfect way to start a new year.
Be free, y’all!
Beth Allison Barr
Thanks for reading Marginalia with Beth Allison Barr! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work. You can also find me on twitter and Instagram @bethallisonbarr as well as at my website http://www.bethallisonbarr.com.
Thank you, Beth! I love the way you and your husband are saturating your children in the vision of full partnership within marriage. That is awesome!