087 | A Frank Discussion About Women in the Church

Welcome to episode 87 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. Sarah Knaub joins Susan in this episode as they talk about the church’s dismissive view of women. This excellent conversation was prompted by John MacArthur’s “go home” statement directed toward Beth Moore. Susan and Sarah’s conversation is loaded with rich and important content. Roles, submission, spiritual gifts, personal preference, teaching, marriage, men, children, strength, and theology are just a few of the topics this episode covers. Push play and join the conversation. Share it with a friend and subscribe in your favorite podcast app or on iHeartRadio.

We interviewed Sarah once before in episode 18 where we talked about the church and mental illness.


Photo by John Bussell on Unsplash

061 | Why We Podcast

Welcome to episode 61 of The Grace Cafe Podcast! We were in a recent conversation with someone who asked us why we podcast, what our goals are in this podcast, and what the future of The Grace Cafe Podcast looks like. This generated some good conversation between the two of us and we wanted to share those thoughts with you in this episode. Along the way, we touch on other topics like:

  • Community and freedom.
  • How religion damages us and our children.
  • Complimentarianism and patriarchy.
  • Painful endings and new beginnings.
  • Abba/Father.
  • What is covertly caught vs. what is overtly taught.
  • Shame regarding spiritual abuse and mental illness.
  • Community and freedom don’t look like religion tells us it does.
  • Anxiety and authenticity.
  • Anger and grief.
  • Religion doesn’t let you ask honest questions.
  • The degradation of women in the church and how we silence half the church.

Here’s the link to Susan’s blog about damaged children who grew up in evangelicalism and the purity culture that we talked about in this episode. Please read this.


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056 | Undiluted Grace

Welcome to episode 56 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. Our freeform conversation in this episode goes all over the place. We just grabbed the mics and started talking. Here’s a few of the topics that came up as we talked:

  • We’ve been made obedient from the heart.
  • Did Paul preach law and gospel?
  • The Law increases law-breaking.
  • God did for us what the law couldn’t do.
  • Were non-Jews ever under the Law? Is anyone under the law today?
  • Does the new heart mean you can now keep the law?
  • Is Jesus a new lawgiver with a new law?
  • In Adam, all die. In Christ, we’re made alive.
  • Faith expresses itself in love.
  • Thomas Aquinas’ view of women typifies so much of church history.

 Here’s the links to the 2 books we talk about in this episode:

We also give a shoutout to Mike’s new podcast, The UnSunday Show. The UnSunday Show is up and running and is a podcast where Mike explores in more detail, our journey out of institutional religion. Visit The UnSunday Show and subscribe in Apple Podcasts or in your favorite podcast app.

A personal note: with summer upon us, we may be unable to drop new episodes every week as we do now. But we’re still here and will drop new episodes at every opportunity. Tell a friend about us!


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051 | Finding the Freedom to be Authentic

“While the church served its purpose, I probably was asleep for many years. And now I’m waking up to living.” –Allison Stanley

Welcome to episode 51 of The Grace Cafe Podcast! Not to be confused with Area 51. Well, there may be a few similarities. This episode is a conversation between Susan and two of our friends, Allison Stanley and Nora Shaw. Allison has been on our show twice before, in episodes 10 and 11 and Nora joined Susan on the previous episode, 50. 

The theme of freedom in last week’s episode continues in this episode as the conversation turns toward losing our own authenticity as a result of needing approval from others. The freedom to be ourselves, which is ours in Christ, is lost when we find ourselves in an environment where we compromise who we really are in order to fit in. We hide parts of our true selves for fear of losing the approval of others. This is nowhere more evident than in religious settings where the emphasis is on sameness based on one person’s or one group’s theology or doctrine.

But many of us are finding the freedom to be who we really are regardless of the opinions of others. We’re learning that fitting in is a poor substitute for belonging and true freedom is the result of being who we really are without pretense or seeking the approval of others at the expense of being who we really are. We’ve traded our authenticity for approval long enough.


Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

050 | Finding Freedom Apart From Religion: A Conversation With Nora Shaw

Welcome to episode 50 of The Grace Cafe Podcast. This episode captures Susan’s conversation with her friend Nora Shaw. Nora talks of her journey into the freedom of the gospel and some of the ways organized religion inhibits that freedom. Religion forces us to fit in while never really belonging because we can’t be our true selves there. The freedom Jesus and the New Testament writers talk about is a freedom apart from performance, religious or otherwise. Breaking away from what binds us, while sometimes painful and difficult to do, is the first step to finding the freedom to be truly free. The freedom to be yourself that comes only through Jesus, apart from religion.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:35–36)


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044 | Jesus and Women: Lessons For a 21st Century Church

Welcome to episode 44 of the Grace Cafe Podcast. Let’s turn our attention to a few of Jesus’ encounters with women of his day as we continue our theme of Pictures of Jesus. The culture of Jesus’ day was steeped in patriarchal tradition where women had no rights and were subservient to the male-dominated culture. Society had digressed to the point where a man could divorce his wife for any reason at any time. Women had no voice in that culture and within that society. They were completely dependent upon the male-dominated culture and had no identity of their own, separate from male interpretation.

Enter: Jesus, who broke all of the acceptable social rules of the day and had public, one-on-one conversations with women who were social outcasts and who had no voice or individual social identity or value. He cared for them, interacted with them directly, and treated them with value, respect, love, and concern. He treated them as they were meant to be treated from the beginning – as co-regents with their male counterparts (Genesis 1:26-28). 

Today, we read passages in our Bibles that tell us there is no social segregation between male and female within the church and while we might assent to that truth intellectually, the reality is our practice often contradicts and denies what we profess. What did Paul mean by that statement? Grab your favorite beverage and join our conversation.

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029 | Momma Tried

Welcome to The Grace Cafe Podcast. This episode is one of our favorites from our old Chief Sinner Podcast. It originally aired in June, 2016 and is a conversation between Susan and her friend Val. Their important conversation is centered around the exhausting and unending obligations placed on us by most organized religions. They talk about everything from personal encounters with abusive top-down leadership to endless attempts at pleasing others. There’s no room in religious obligation for “it is finished.” The reality within religion is that it is never finished and there is always more to do. There is no rest in man-made religion.

We apologize for the crackling audio that starts about 5 minutes into the conversation. I got rid of most of it during editing but was unable to remove it all. I hope it’s not too distracting.


003 – Paul, Timothy, and Women in the Church

Welcome to the 3rd episode of the Grace Cafe Podcast, the podcast formerly known as the Known & Loved Podcast! In this episode, we take a closer look at the Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy concerning women in the Christian assembly. Specifically, we talk about the words in 1 Timothy 2:8-15. This section of Scripture contains some weird verses concerning women that are normally taken to be an across-the-board instruction manual for “doing church.” Here are a few examples:

  • I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;
  • likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.
  • Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.
  • For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Timothy was a resident of the city of Ephesus when he received this letter from Paul. The city of Ephesus had one of the largest pagan temples to the Greek goddess Artemis in Asia Minor. Acts 19 gives us some background to the culture there and the prominence of Artemis worship. Your Bible version may read “Diana” instead of Artemis. It’s okay, as either name is good. Artemis was the Greek name for this Greek goddess and Diana was her Latin name, so we would expect Rome to call her Diana.

But who was Artemis? That’s a loaded question with a complete answer far beyond what we can provide in this podcast description. In short, Artemis was a goddess of and a protector of women and she had hundreds of titles reflecting that. Those women in the Artemis culture looked to Artemis for divine help in childbirth, also believing that Artemis required them to wear their best clothes when in her presence, being more attentive to their requests if they dressed their best. Artemis was also looked upon as a woman’s protector in labor and childbirth.

Consequently, within the Artemisian culture, women were the dominate ones, often exercising dominance over the men. In the Artemisian culture in Sparta, men were often flogged as part of Artemis worship.

Far from being an across-the-board manual for how to “do church,” we believe Paul’s words to Timothy in the passage above were addressing the Artemis practices that were being brought into the church, not a manual for how women should dress and act in the Christian assembly.

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