Episode 138

Change: Dr. Lynn Cohick on Unlocking the Role of Women in Church History

Join host Lori Adams-Brown on A World of Difference as she sits down with Dr. Lynn Cohick, a New Testament professor and author of "A Second Edition Dictionary of Paul in His Letters." Lori discusses Dr. Cohick's journey as a professor, her love for scriptures, and her contribution to including more women's voices in the conversation around Paul and Paul's letters. Cohick shares about her writing and scholarship and how she has dug deep into understanding and representing what women were doing in the ancient church. They also discuss how women played a large role in the formation of Christian theology and liturgy. The discussion moves to the challenges women face in male-dominated industries such as biblical studies, theology, and academia and how they have to work twice as hard as men to be perceived at the same level. Cohick encourages women to take risks and not be afraid to fail. They then discuss the importance of acknowledging gender stereotypes and biases and the need to break free from them. The podcast ends with a sneak peek of a Patreon-exclusive interview where Cohick shares about her experience in times of suffering. Don't miss this thought-provoking episode of A World of Difference with host Lori Adams-Brown and guest Dr. Lynn Cohick.

https://lynncohick.com/

Lynn H. Cohick (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) is a Professor of NT. She served as Provost at both Northern Seminary and Denver Seminary. She taught NT for over 15 years at Wheaton College. Her books include The Letter to the Ephesians in the NICNT; Christian Women in the Patristic World: Their Influence, Authority, and Legacy in the Second through the Fifth Centuries (co-authored with Amy Brown Hughes; Philippians in the Story of God CommentaryEphesians in New Covenant Commentary; Women in the World of the Earliest Christians.

[00:00:02] Introduction of Dr. Lynn Cohick's new book

[00:03:53] Women's History in Early Christianity

[00:07:56] Women's Role in Church History

[00:12:22] Independent Women in Ancient World

[00:16:38] Interpretation in Diverse Communities

[00:21:28] Challenges faced by women in male-dominated spaces

[00:26:11] Overcoming Patriarchal Norms in Women's Careers

[00:30:09] Challenging Gender Biases in Education and Careers

[00:34:06] Challenging Paul's Views on Women in Scriptures

[00:38:26] Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2

[00:42:39] Biblical verse on women's salvation and cultural context

[00:46:18] Farewell to Dr. Cohick and acknowledgement of difficult situation

[00:49:43] Exclusive Interview with Dr. Cohick on Spiritual Practices

Become a patron of this podcast, and enjoy free merch. Join other patrons of this podcast at Patreon.

**********

´╗┐The A World of Difference Podcast is brought to you in partnership with Missio Alliance.

Join us to discuss this episode, previous episodes or for other thoughtful conversations at our Facebook group. We'd love to have you stop by and share your perspective.

Stay In Touch: Connect on Facebook and Instagram with thoughts, questions, and feedback.

Rate, review and share this podcast with anyone that would love to listen.  

Find Us Online:

@aworldof.difference on Instagram

A World of Difference on Facebook,

Linktree,

on Twitter at @loriadbr

or loriadamsbrown.com

Loved this episode? Leave us a review and rating. Click here to review

Become a patron of this podcast, and enjoy free merch. Join other patrons of this podcast at Patreon.

Mentioned in this episode:

Join the conversation in our Patreon Community

You are welcome to join us in the Patreon community where we go deeper into the episodes and the conversation. Join for as little as $5 a month at patreon.com/aworldofdifference

Want more? Join us in our Patreon Community

We'd love to have you and your perspective as we go deeper into exclusive episodes at patreon.com/aworldofdifference



This podcast uses the following third-party services for analysis:

Chartable - https://chartable.com/privacy
Podtrac - https://analytics.podtrac.com/privacy-policy-gdrp
Transcript

Transcript

Podcast Lyn Cohick.mp3

Lori Adams-Brown:

Welcome to the A World of Different's Podcast.

I'm Lori Adams Brown, and this is a podcast for those who are different and wanna make a difference.

Any of you have been following the events of what's been going on at Northern Seminary and care very deeply about what's been happening there And also, many of you love doctor Lynn Cohich, who is no longer there.

But as we were recording this podcast together, she had just announced that she's moving to Texas to a new position there.

But just as a way of introduction, doctor Cohick, holds a PhD from see a Pennsylvania and she's a professor of New Testament.

Lori Adams-Brown:

She served as provost at both Northern Seminary and Denver Seminary, and she taught New Testament for over 15 years at Wheaton college.

She's written many books, including on Ephesians.

She's written a book Christian Women in the Petristic World, their influence authority and legacy in the second through the fifth centuries.

Also, she's written Philippians in the story of God, commentary.

She's written about Ephesians in the new Covenant commentary, and women in the world of the earliest Christians, but she's on today to talk about her latest book that she has written with doctor Scott Mc Knight and doctor Nijay Gupta, It's a second edition dictionary of Paul in his letters, which has just been published by University Press, And so she's on today to talk about that as well as just her journey as a professor and her love for the scriptures.

Lori Adams-Brown:

And what are some of the things she learned in this project that was very academic in nature, but also very personal to her as somebody who cares very deeply about including women around the world in the conversation around Paul and Paul's letters, and they were able to include more of those voices in this second edition, which is extremely exciting.

So if you do not know of doctor Lynn Cohick, I'm excited to introduce her to you today.

I've been following her writing for a few years now and is super excited to have her today on the world of different podcasts.

So very, very warm welcome to doctor Lynn.

Cohek.

Lori Adams-Brown:

Hello.

Doctor Cohek.

I'm so excited excited to have you on the World of Defense Podcast today.

How are you doing today?

Doctor Cohek.

Lori Adams-Brown:

Hi.

Well, hi, Lori.

And please call

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

me Lynn.

I it feels a little too important when you call me Dr.

Coick, that's

Lori Adams-Brown:

No, you're very important.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

So, and I'm doing great.

Thanks so much for having me on your podcast.

Lori Adams-Brown:

Oh, it's an honor.

Truly an honor to have you here.

I have been a fan for a while reading your work.

And, yeah, you just have so many incredible contributions to the new testament study that many of us do as we prepare sermons, as we just are curious as we learn in Nina that you've influenced many students and you're time recently at Northern Seminary, and also congratulations on your new role.

You're moving to Texas.

Lori Adams-Brown:

I'm moving to Texas.

I know for those people from tech

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

they keep saying you're coming home, you

Lori Adams-Brown:

know,

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

so yeah, I'm very excited to be moving to Houston Christian University, formerly, Houston Baptist University, so some people might know it under that name, and will be focused primarily on their docter of Ministry Program.

So, really excited to join that new team.

Of course, we'll miss all my friends and colleagues at Northern.

So, you know, there's a bit of bitter sweetness with these things, but yeah, I'm very excited to move to Houston.

I've been told, the summers are not great, but I just remind them that I've had to deal with Chicago winters.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

So it's sort of that's right.

Yeah.

You pick your poison.

Yeah.

Lori Adams-Brown:

Absolutely.

Yeah.

And you moved to Chicago.

Were you in Colorado before?

Is Right?

Lori Adams-Brown:

Yeah,

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

for a couple of years, I was at Denver Seminary, right there on kind of the front range and very beautiful.

And enjoyed my time there very much.

But most of my professional career was at Wheaton College, which is also in the Chicago area.

So, yeah, I've, at Denver, as well as in Chicago, and then I grew up in Pennsylvania.

So, I've not really lived South.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

I've always had you know, the possibility at least of snow at Christmas.

And I think, instead, what I'll get are point setters that are actually planted in the ground, instead of in containers for Christmas.

I'm looking forward to it.

Yeah.

Lori Adams-Brown:

Yeah.

It'll definitely be different down there in Texas its own thing, but you'll have some good company down there with doctor Beth Alson Barr and wonderful women that are also contributing to the conversation.

So there's parks for sure.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

Absolutely, and my good friend, Dr.

Sandra Glaughn, who's at DTS, She and I and another colleague from Wheaton, George Colantis, have started a project called the visual, it's a visual museum.

It's a museum that will be online free access that shows photos of ancient artwork, for right now, just found in Italy, the frescoes, the mosaics, the catacomb art, sculptures that represent what women were doing in the ancient church.

And so exciting.

Yeah.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

So -- Really?

-- so there's a lot, yeah, there's a lot of fun things happening in the area of scholarship and scholarship with women.

And as you mentioned Dr.

Barr, Dr.

Glom, they're all located there in Texas.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

It's going to be a powerhouse.

Lori Adams-Brown:

It is.

I'm excited.

That is really great news.

Yes.

Oh my goodness.

Lori Adams-Brown:

And There's so much scholarship that's come out in recent years about women in the early church.

We just had doctor Gupta on talking about his latest book tell her story.

Such a a wonderful book.

And, like, you know, I think in the world of women, so many women have been writing about these things for a while.

But we always have new things to add to the conversation.

Lori Adams-Brown:

And I've seen some documentaries.

There's I'm trying to remember their names.

There's some women in, I think it's Edinburgh and Scotland that have done some research around women in the early church, and I've seen some of their documentary and like going into these catacombs and seeing images that we hadn't known about before, and it gives this whole story, and it's so intriguing.

There's a lot to discover right now.

There certainly is, and you bring in

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

not just from the New Testament and authors that look at the early church, but you've got classists that are writing on this, you've got art historians that are writing on this, so it's very interdisciplinary, which is exciting.

And that I think again increases our knowledge.

And what we find is that women were very active in the formation of Christian theology, Christian worship in liturgy, just the whole enterprise of being Christian was not something that was just done by bishops and councils.

Women had a tremendous role to play.

And that's exciting.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

It's exciting to know the history, because I think if you if you know that, it helps you today kind of find your way a little bit easier.

Yeah, I certainly was raised by parents who felt women can do whatever they want, just go for it.

You know, I wasn't raised in a real conservative environment.

And I'm grateful for that, because I don't think I carry some of the baggage that some of my colleagues and students do, where they there just wasn't a vision of what women can contribute, but we find the historical record shows how women have been doing this since the time of Jesus.

And certainly from the old testament perspective, lots of active Israelite women helping the people of God be faithful?

Lori Adams-Brown:

It's so true.

I think so much of it is lens.

I hear your story quite often.

Women who are pastors, priests, scholars of New Testament and Old Testament, all of it.

Who have a story that they were raised in a tradition where they saw their person.

Lori Adams-Brown:

They saw a woman who led and did all the things and that there was no lid on how women could lead and and it was normal.

And I think that's so much easier to go into a field like yours when you've had those experiences.

But whether you have or you haven't, the opportunities are there.

ngs to me like, you know, but:

Right?

Lori Adams-Brown:

And that's a big debate right now.

In the Southern Baptist convention, right?

We've had stories where Saddleback Church has recently kicked out because Rick Warren had ordained to those 3 women before he left.

And now Stacy Wood is 1 of the pastors who used to be a friend of mine.

And then at the same time, the conversation often doesn't focus on the very true reality that we have evidence.

Lori Adams-Brown:

I mean, we have grade stones, for example, where you can find out this woman did this particular role in a church.

Like, those things have always been there, but the curiosity hasn't been there.

So in your work, as you have discovered things, was there ever a moment that was maybe shocking or surprising when you found out something a woman did in church history, or or were you just always aware women did all the things?

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

No.

No.

I think I I've been shocked.

Yes, I've been shocked at finding things.

And I think 1 of perhaps broadly speaking, 1 of the most shocking is the recognition that We often read back into history, our own presuppositions about what counts as leadership, and we so often today attach leadership with office titles.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

And, in the first century, Jewish world from which Christianity emerged, you know, the synagogue was quite I'm gonna say egalitarian and I don't mean that in the contemporary kind, I mean it like they didn't have a hierarchy.

Let me put it that way.

There really wasn't a strong hierarchy.

And there was a strong emphasis on patronage Now patronage isn't all good.

And maybe that would be a second surprise, I would say, is when I was writing my book on women in the world of the earliest Christians.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

And I was trying to wrestle with finding all this evidence of women doing all kinds of public events and having their word or their voice count in these community, gatherings, or just they're out there.

You know, there's statues of women everywhere in the market place and in the temples.

And trying to match that with some of the language from the ancient philosophers and whatnot, that women are always to be at home and they're to be silent.

And I couldn't put this together until I read more about ancient practice of patronage.

I mean, we also have patronage today.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

But in the ancient world, that patronage allowed for women to be like the mother of a city or the sponsor of a guild like clothes washing guild or, you know, other guilds like that.

We have a woman Neumakiya who who created -- was very much involved in the fullers, which did a lot, they're like dry cleaners, the ancient world, and clothes makers, and that kind of thing.

We still have her her statue remains.

And so I realized in certain contexts, and with certain, in certain parameters, women were very vocal, and they were known as themselves, not simply as the wife of or mother of or daughter of.

Mhmm.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

But in and of themselves.

I would say another surprise and it goes along with patronage is that women often control their own wealth.

So, it's not like the Victorian period when a woman married, and then all of her wealth was handed over to her husband.

In the ancient world when a woman married, most of the time, she actually remained connected with her husband's family, with her birth family, with her father's family.

She didn't join her husband's family, so to speak.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

So, although she brought a dowry, if they had any money, she brought a dowry, and her husband could use that dowry.

If he divorced her or she separated from him, she was due back all the principle of that dowry.

So, if he, you know, bet on the chariot races, and won a lot, he could keep his winnings.

But if he lost, and then the marriage was ended, she was owed back all the principal.

Even if he had lost some of it to the Pony's.

Lori Adams-Brown:

So,

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

that meant that women had, they had maybe leverages too strong of a word, but they had some independence.

Now, they couldn't execute documents on their own in court.

They had to have a guardian that would sign for them.

But we have court records that show it wasn't always their husband, often a family member, but not always, that's signed for them.

So, I mean, just finding these things, you think, there was actually independent actions taken by certain women, especially women who had wealth.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

And that kind of, that gave texture to the landscape in the ancient world, that women were doing a lot more.

They were also still sexism, patriarchy, absolutely.

But there was also initiative, an agency and that's exciting, because then we can see women like Mary Magdalen who sponsored Jesus.

And also, in a very different analogy with ananias and sapphira.

They both planned to lie about how much money they were given to, giving to the church, and they both paid the penalty for it, you know, and so, Yeah.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

It it

Lori Adams-Brown:

when you when you start to investigate closely, wow.

It's just an incredibly variegated landscape, which is fun.

It is fun.

Those are That is surprising about the dowry.

I didn't know that, so that's a fun fact.

Lori Adams-Brown:

I think so much of it is the lens you've been given and I'm sure this is something you you think about and teach about.

But I think doctor Barr often gets the question like why are you rewriting history and putting women She's like, no, I'm not.

They've always been there.

We're just noticing them and we're digging deeper into what all the nuances were surrounding them, you know, I mean, when I was in seminary, you know, we learned to exegesis.

And if a if a passage is confusing, then you stay curious and you wanna look at the whole of scripture, but also cultural exegesis is really important.

Lori Adams-Brown:

And so understanding the nuances of culture and with the, you know, information we have now, sometimes you revisit things, was as you're writing this second edition along with many I mean, doctor Mcknight and doctor Gupta, dictionary of Paul in his letters.

What are some sort of new insights that you started to include or or brought into.

I know there's several new things, but what are some of the ones you wanted to highlight?

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

Right, well I think perspective made a big difference, so we wanted to talk about interpretation like how did Augusta or Augustin, depending on how you state it, how he interpreted Paul.

This is very, very influential in the Western church.

How, what's the history of interpretation in the African American community?

And in the modern European community.

In other words, it wasn't just perspective as though these minority voices are going to stay that way, but a recognition that everyone, including reformation authors, and German authors of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, everybody comes from a perspective.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

There's no completely neutral reading, which then invites us to gather as a community and learn from each other.

You know?

And that, so I think the dictionary of Paul in his letters, second edition, pushes into that reality.

1 of key goals that we had, was that we would really open up the historical world of Paul, And because the historical world of Paul is very pluralistic, We think of, you know, Jews and gentiles as sort of binary opposites, but actually it's much more complex as you as you look into how people experienced paganism.

And there's also diversity within Judaism as well.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

And so trying to take that complexity and have that be recognized

Lori Adams-Brown:

in the dictionary entries was a key value that we had.

I love that that you brought that in.

It's so important and we can get so narrow sometimes in our Christianity.

There's a vast ocean to swim in and something they often say, and sometimes you're taught, you're a little part of the ocean and but it's no.

It's so deep and wide and scary at times, and it can be a little dark without some sunshine if you get too deep.

Lori Adams-Brown:

But It's vast and the Orthodox Christianity throughout 2000 years has had so much nuance.

And I I think the more we lean into that, the better we under stand, but some it it can be scary for some people.

I love that you brought in more women and more people of color into this edition.

How did that process go for you and what were some of the insights you gained from it?

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

Right, yeah.

Well, I think from the very beginning and I was looking back in preparation for our podcast We met, in September 20 18, we started talking about when we were going to be meeting in June of 20 18.

And at that first meeting in September was 2 days.

I remember we had, we probably cut down a whole forest and posted notes, they were everywhere, and our whiteboard, and just thinking, always, always, as we looked at names we had, are we gathering up all of names that we know of women and scholars in the majority world, scholars from underrepresented groups.

I mean, and so that became that, that was always in the forefront.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

We were always, always asking ourselves that that question.

And what's so wonderful to me now, and I've been in the academy, just a couple of decades, but long enough to be excited about the fact that we could find top notch scholars who are women, who are African American, who are, like, we're in your past living over in in Singapore, or in Latin America, or just around the globe.

So, I don't know if younger listeners today would experience this, but I know in the 80s when I was doing my classwork for my PhD and even into the 90s.

People would say, you know, I'd love to have a woman contribute, but there just aren't any good experts around.

Oh, that would be so infuriating to me, I think.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

Well, look harder or help them up so that they can get to that level.

Right?

Well, now here we are, in 20 23, and feel very fortunate, we were able to to have a rich array of top notch scholars who also represent the study of Christianity from around the globe and men and women.

Lori Adams-Brown:

It's so wonderful to hear.

And it's I mean, the sad reality is there are still some circles that would make that comment even in 20 23 that there's no women to contribute and it's mostly like, because they're not listening, they're not looking I mean, I did come from circles previously where white male, theologians were all that are being read regularly in certain seminaries, regular as men prepare for sermons in complimentary spaces, especially hyper complimentary spaces where women are not considered able to teach which means write the books that they might read and and all of it.

So that does still exist in certain circles.

How do you navigate through that type of thing.

I know you've been in a largely egalitarian seminary with some nuance thrown in there.

Lori Adams-Brown:

But how have you navigated those circles personally?

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

Right.

Yeah.

Well, So, 1 advantage I have, I have to thank my parents for not putting an e at the end of my name Lynn.

It is also how men spell Lin.

And so I have been confused, from a -- confused with being a male writer when people just look at the name.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

And I was doing years ago, I was part of a panel discussion at a conference and the person who was convening it was organizing the various participants, and we got everything organized, or who was going to do what, present on this or that.

When we got to the conference and I introduced myself, the convener kind of did Well, he made some, he jolted a little bit, and then, but that was it, right?

So, after the panel discussion, he said to me, I didn't realize that you were female, as we were discussing amongst ourselves, for several months before the conference, you know, who's going to do what?

I never knew that you were a woman.

And I'm grateful that when he actually met me, he thought, oh, that's a woman.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

So, you know, that part was nice.

But He then went on to say, Did I say anything wrong?

Like, did I offend you at all?

And I thought, no, not at all.

I mean, it never occurred to me, that he didn't know I was female.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

We were 5 or 6 new testament scholars talking about new testament questions, getting ready to do a discussion about a new testament topic.

So you didn't need to think of me primarily as male or female.

I was your colleague.

Right.

And in this case, this person just had never worked with female colleagues.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

So that's kind of a funny story -- Mhmm.

-- that I like to share because it no harm, no foul.

But that there are others that, of course, are not, don't end quite as well with that.

Yeah.

So III think 1 of the ways that

Lori Adams-Brown:

I've

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

always been interested in women in the church.

I've also from the time my graduate work been interested in Jews and Christians in the early church, the first century in early church.

And I wrote on that area, I was advised not to write on women in the church until after I had tenure because it was too niche of a project focus.

It would put me in kind of a career cul de sac of being just an expert on women.

As though that was a secondary or boutique kind of interest.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

I love writing on the New Testament, so it wasn't a problem for me to do that necessarily.

What I think is that now in scholarship, There's a recognition that in fact studying particular questions around how women engaged the gospel is not actually a unique or idiosyncratic interest but can actually use the latest methodology and show best scholarship possible even with the subject being women.

So I'm encouraged by that by that change in the broader scholarship, but to your point earlier, Lori, there are still areas where depending on where a woman would want to work, I might caution to stick with a biblical text or something of more broad interest for your first book, and then and then go into women if you want, but establish yourself first.

So that you're not putting a career cul de sac.

Lori Adams-Brown:

Yeah.

I mean, It's just the reality that we still swim in patriarchy, don't we?

Yeah.

Just like people in the scriptures we're reading about did.

And so When it's the air we all breathe, we yeah.

Lori Adams-Brown:

It it it's not fair, but it's just it's how it is and we have to give each other that kind of advice.

And I would say, I Both in my when I was in full time paid ministry and now working in business, you know, women talking to each other and giving each other advice has really helpful for me.

I try to be the kind of woman who mentors the younger ones too in these ways.

We don't wanna have to do that forever.

We would love to get to a point our daughters and our granddaughters are not having to have these women talking conversations where it's just it's equitable for all.

Lori Adams-Brown:

But until we get there, the choices we make, we're perceived differently.

You know?

There's this narrative women have to work twice as hard as a man to just be at the same level and whether it's business or working in the church or in academia.

Sometimes that's hard but true, which is sad because sometimes women burn out in these executive level or high level positions and it's sort of a, it's a bit of a catch 22, right?

So, how have you navigated sort of that type of thing.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

Yeah, well, I think information is really helpful.

Another area where we see this a lot is with student evaluations.

In studies where students take an online class, and they never meet the professor to know they never meet them face to face to know whether they're a man or a woman.

If the students think they have a man professor.

They will rate the teaching, the grading, all of it, as a better experience than if it's a woman.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

And it could be a man that is teaching, but if they think it's a woman doing it, they will they will also grade the man's class as less.

So, they did some studies where you had a man and a woman teaching 4 classes total.

A man taught 2 classes, 1 as himself a man, but the second 1, he also taught as himself, but the students thought he was a woman, and the same thing happened with the woman.

And you could just see if the students thought they were hearing from a woman, they didn't like it as well.

And there's a Our culture in general gives less authority to a woman's voice whether she's an airline pilot or a CFO or CEO or a preacher or a teacher, especially a teacher in areas that are predominantly understood to be male, having that male authority, which would be biblical studies for sure, in theology.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

So I think, first of all, kind of recognizing that is important, so you don't blame yourself for things that's not your fault.

Secondly, educating the people around you, so I've done that quite a bit in my role as administrator.

To let others know, both other faculty members,

Lori Adams-Brown:

to

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

even highlight it with students.

To say, by the way, this is, you're gonna assume I will grade you more easily.

You're expecting that.

You'll come to me first and say, can I have an extension?

On an assignment before you go to a male professor.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

Just all of these things, just knowing them, shining a light on them, I think -- Yeah.

-- helps.

Because then, students don't want to be like that, right?

They do want to have an openness to whoever is teaching them.

So, that's 1 thing that I like to do.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

I think, then also, in terms of with women, trying to release us and including myself from this idea of being perfect and what I think goes along with the impostor syndrome where if we're not perfect, then we really shouldn't be here.

And giving ourselves, being willing to take risks, even if we know that at times, sometimes these risks won't work out, and we'll quote, unquote, fail.

That, those sorts of things I feel are very much a part of men's lives, but are not as much a part of how women are talking about their experience as they grow into adulthood, and, and then, you know, into their careers or their volunteer careers, whatever they plan to do in the church.

And as they impact their own communities.

I I would love to see more of risk taking, if you will.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

I see that as very much a part of the experiences of women in the biblical tech that God encourages, right, that God affirms, that we can step out.

You know, we have Peter stepping out of the boat onto the waves, as Jesus calls him.

But there are women who also metaphorically step out on waves.

A Debra in the old testament or an Esther.

And that we can do that now, right?

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

So I would love to have churches focus on the possibility of women maybe risk taking is not the best word, but you kind of get what I'm driving at, I think.

Lori Adams-Brown:

Yeah, no, as Absolutely.

Res taking is huge.

I saw some research recently in the business world around some of the women at executive level leadership's that they researched compared to men.

The stereotypes we have are that men are the more risk taking, but when it came to executive levels in business, women were taking more risks.

And I think that's why they were getting there.

Lori Adams-Brown:

And it is maybe that aspect of working twice as hard.

They're risking twice as much to And when it pans out, you know, because we have all this information too about when a woman applies for a job, men are considered for their potential automatically and women have to prove themselves and be super overqualified.

You know, we still have never had a woman president.

Like, there's a lot of issues in our culture around our stereotypes and our unconscious bias right, around men and women and listening to men's voices versus women's voice, even in podcasting in the United States.

85 percent of podcast hosts are male, and only 50 teen percent female.

Lori Adams-Brown:

I

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

have no idea about that.

Wow.

Lori Adams-Brown:

Isn't that fascinating?

Yeah.

I know I'm always like, wait, they they always say 1 thing we can do is talk.

Why can't we?

You know what I mean?

Lori Adams-Brown:

Yeah.

And actually, even that research turns out to not be true when they research how often men and women talk in mixed spaces, it's equal.

The 1 area where if you have a predominantly male group in a like whether it's a church staff meeting or business, If there's only, like, I think, less than 30 percent women or something like that, women talk less, but not more.

And the stereotype is just absolutely incorrect.

And they can trace it back to where it sorta came from, which I won't mention here because we won't throw that person under the bus.

Lori Adams-Brown:

But But yeah, definitely, there's a lot to think through.

And I think as you said, just mentioning that, raising awareness about it helps us to I have those stereotypes too, just because I'm a woman doesn't mean I've not had those same thoughts.

Right?

So it helps all of us to get better.

And it is inspiring as we read about women.

Lori Adams-Brown:

In the scriptures that can be inspiring.

You know, Paul gets a bad reputation in some circles, you know, until I read Synthia Long West Falls book, Paul, and Ginger.

I think it it's trying to, you know, switch things for a lot of us.

But yeah.

And so as you have written about Paul in light of women and and different things.

Lori Adams-Brown:

How do you explain when people ask you how would you describe Paul's view of women?

Yeah, I'll

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

tell you a fun story here.

I'll often get asked, what do you think of First Timothy 2?

Like, right out of the gate.

Right?

So -- Mhmm.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

-- I was being interviewed for a job.

Actually, it was at Wheaton College.

I'll just say it, 19 99.

And I was interviewed by all men, because there were just only men in the department at that time, and 1 of the men we were going along, the conversation was, you know, going along as you'd imagine in an interview.

And then 1 of them said, So, what do you think of First Timothy 2, that women should be silent?

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

And I didn't say anything.

And I know, I just hit a home run or go home was kind of what I was perhaps thinking at the time.

Finally, another guy started chuckling around the table and they realized, yeah, well, you just told me I shouldn't talk.

Anyway, then I proceeded to give my analysis.

But I thought, you know, it just sort of Even a couple of, in the last 2 years or so, someone has also a man has also said so, I'm sure you have to wrestle with 1 Tim too.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

And I thought, you know, where I start, I actually don't start there.

I start with Phoebe, and Junia, and Yodia, and syntyche, and NIMFA, and Priscilla.

That's where I start.

And I assume that Paul is a consistent man, that he doesn't say 1 thing and do another.

And so if he is working closely with these women, as his coworkers.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

If he praises Junia, as an apostle,

Lori Adams-Brown:

as

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

someone who, he admires, who was in the Lord, and is currently in prison, which was a horrific experience for men, and then was way worse for women, given their vulnerability.

You know, and he praises her testimony, her actions.

I think then he can't possibly assume that she just did everything by sign language that she didn't speak, right?

Or that Priscilla didn't actually teach Apaulos.

I mean Luke tells us that she did.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

She did so with her husband, but there's no there's no sense in the text that she just stood by, you know, as to look up stuff for her husband as he was teaching Apollo.

She was right there.

You know, it's Phoebe, most scholars believe she took the letter of Romans to the Romans.

And if she acted as though most letter carriers did as those who as those who were responsible to read the letter and answer questions, than Phoebe's the first exegete of Romans.

Yeah.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

I mean, that's just remarkable.

So if Paul was doing all that, then it's incumbent upon me to look at a passage like 1, Tim, 2, and say, what is going on here?

We know that Paul writes letters to address specific circumstances.

And often those circumstances are perennial problems, like in ephesus with Timothy, There were heretical teachers, and also teachings floating around, and Paul from right out of the gate in the first opening verses, is cautioning Timothy against this kind of bad teaching, not just by women, but by men and women, all the way through.

Well, that means, you know, we can take Paul's teaching even today and be on look out for problematic teachings in our church, teachings that come from a man's mouth and come from a woman's mouth.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

But in the ancient world, there were different ways that education was done.

And you know that's true, and you're living around the world, not everyone does the American experience of kids from up till 18 years old being in the same men and women being in the same classroom.

Education of women is a very diplomatic idea in a number of cultures even today around the world when we lived in Kenya, that was certainly true, certain tribes were more reluctant to have women in their 14, 15, 16 in school, because of concerns of morality, sexual morality for the young girls.

So, I think Paul's 1 Tim 2 passage where Paul insists that women must learn, is is inviting Timothy to be creative about how he's going to teach women because it's not going to be as easy as him just showing up at a house with a couple of guys and revealing scripture with them, right?

He's going to have to really think hard about how he's going to manage that.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

And certainly enough assist where they look out onto 1 of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, the temple of artemis, and how important artemis, and her teachings, or the beliefs about artemis, I should say, were in that world.

So, you know, we that I I come to 1, Tim, 2, from an historical standpoint, from a standpoint that looks at all the other engagement Paul has with women in leadership and teaching roles.

And I say, okay, now, how do I make sense of this passage?

And and I think it can make sense.

I think it it is an important caution that the church not allow either men or women to teach falsehoods.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

But that's what I think's going on

Lori Adams-Brown:

there.

Yeah.

I mean, there's been so many ways to interpret that passage and Certainly, cherry picking it out of the context of the scripture has not been a helpful 1, not 1 we would advise.

A little bit tongue in cheek sometimes when people ask me that I just say, well, at what age does a woman have to be silent?

And what does silent mean?

Lori Adams-Brown:

Because she not seeing?

Are we not allowed to sing hymns?

And, like, is a baby girl allowed to cry in the nursery?

I mean, are we allowed to shush our children in the row?

Like, you know, when you just stay really curious about all the parts, sometimes it just sorta blows the whole thing into like, oh, let's really be curious about all of it.

Lori Adams-Brown:

Right?

What do these words actually mean digging into the to the word itself, what was going on?

Was it 1 woman?

Was it a particular woman?

Was it was she over what kind of a like, you know, authentane is the word that's not really well understood.

Lori Adams-Brown:

Like so much of it, like once you start digging, you realize people say scripture is clear around this verse and yet less is clear, the more you dig and that's not bad, it just that curiosity shows us the beauty of the layers of scripture that can keep us learning and growing and trying to understand what this ancient text has for us today.

And I appreciate that you've done this work for so long.

It's great work.

We've learned so much from you, and this Can I have the -- Can I just -- -- throw myself?

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

Can I just joke with you also?

Tim:

Okay.

And it's the verb that we usually translate in the context, it has a semantic range for Paul usually of salvation, like what we think is salvation.

So I just tell my students, you know, that's why I had 2 kids.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

Now I'm safe, like I'm double saved.

And of course, they laugh and roll their eyes and they know that that's not what Paul means.

But in a way, I mean, Artus was the midwife -- Yep.

-- God, and So, maybe Paul is saying, Look, trust Jesus, even in this most scary time, because lots and lots of women died in childbirth and complications after childbirth.

But anyway, I just say, yeah, to your point it's like, oh, good.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

You know, I have 2 kids, I'm saved.

Like, I I'm good.

I'm walking straight into those burly gates.

Yeah.

Lori Adams-Brown:

It's so funny.

Yeah.

I mean, the more I started to understand artemis of the Ephesians and the way women were trusting her and childbirth, that verse began to make complete sense all of a sudden.

It was always kinda this weird, I don't know what's going on there, but I wasn't hearing alter Like, do you wanna get saved by childbearing?

Nobody does that.

Lori Adams-Brown:

Right?

So I had to admit something else, but it really until I understood people were looking to her to be saved as they were being bearing children.

Of course, God's the 1 that has the power to You know what?

Like, it all made more sense.

But I do just wanna say, everyone, get this book.

Lori Adams-Brown:

Obviously, I've not read cover to cover because it's a dictionary, but I'm so glad to have it as a resource.

And I hope that people will pick it up and use it for whether you're a person who prepares sermons or rites or just is curious to know more.

This is a great resource that you've provided for us.

I know there's a lot of probably Northern Seminary students that are gonna end up listening to this, and there's just a lot been swirling around the campus with students and the board.

And people leaving you leaving.

Lori Adams-Brown:

There's just a lot of feelings going on, and I know that you really love that place.

So yeah.

As you finish out, is there anything you would like to say to the students or the faculty at Northern about your time there?

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

Well, it is a gift.

They've given me a gift of incredible camaraderie, joy,

Lori Adams-Brown:

an

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

intellectual stimulation, that I will greatly miss, but also greatly treasure.

Lori Adams-Brown:

That's very special.

They were so blessed to have you.

I remember when I saw that you were gonna be going there, and I just thought, wow, what a win for Northern, and you're You're an asset wherever you go.

So thanks for being on the show today.

We're gonna have you stick around and talk to our Patreon supporters.

Lori Adams-Brown:

This is 1 little extra question here, but how can people find you in your writing as you go forward?

Yeah.

Well,

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

I do have a webpage.

I think it's Lynn H CoIC.

I mean, my husband does that.

You are realizing right now that I am a total luddite, I don't do.

I'm not on Twitter, I don't really do Facebook at all, yeah, I'm just really bad on that.

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

But people can email me at lynn dot coic at gmail.

So, that's an easy way to get get a hold of me.

And, yeah, I'd love to hear from anybody.

Yeah.

Of course.

Lori Adams-Brown:

Yeah.

We'll link your website in the show notes so people can follow your writing there.

Well, thanks so much for being on the show today.

And best of everything is you move to Texas and spread some more joy down there, maybe you'll enjoy that weather, and maybe you'll still get up to the north to get a snow Christmas at some point, hopefully you don't have to give that up

Dr. Lynn Cohick:

completely.

Thank you so much, Lori.

I loved our conversation.

Me too.

Lori Adams-Brown:

Violet.

Well, doctor Cohick is such a scholar.

She brings so much insight into her writing and her teaching.

It was such an honor to her on the show today.

It's very sad.

Lori Adams-Brown:

Some of the things that have been, you know, happening there at Northern Seminary, but we're so excited for her.

As she's going to Texas and will bring her knowledge and wisdom and many, many years of experience to the classroom there and we look forward to more of her writing that we always learn from.

And if you've ever had a chance to hear her speak in a seminar or in a classroom or anything, she's also just very knowledgeable and brings a deep love for the scriptures and all of her scholarship into the way that she speaks.

So I hope you do get a chance to hear her outside of just this podcast.

So look her out.

Lori Adams-Brown:

There's some videos of her out there of her different academic talks that she's given and classes that she's offered.

Also, yeah, we just wish everyone at Northern Seminary the best.

We know this is a difficult time.

And we know that some of the decisions going forward to make things more healthy for students and staff at Northern Seminary is super important.

And we know that there's an interim situation happening.

Lori Adams-Brown:

We just hope that the board and the decisions that are made going forward are structured in such a way as to prevent any kind of bullying and that type of situation going forward, it's really so sad to see a a seminary that is known to be a safe place and a haven for so many who've experienced difficult things and maybe their and other places that are faith based and also known as egalitarian to have so many women coming out in experiencing bullying.

And so we just hope that going forward, the decisions that are made are ones that are gonna set Northern up for a healthy environment and that whatever third party or whatever structures can be rethought through and revamped in order to make that happen, that's our prayer and our hope.

And we know that many of the students are actively asking for that.

And so for all of those who've had to leave the board and leave their teaching positions there.

As a result of this, we are just heartbroken with you, but we wish all of you the best.

Lori Adams-Brown:

And our hopes are for things to be structured in a healthier way for everybody at Northern and, of course, we wish doctors Cohic the very best as she moves to Texas to a little bit of warmer weather, and we know that we'll be hearing great things from her as she's there.

So We just continue to have this podcast out here for each of you to bring in your voices to make a difference together.

Sometimes things are difficult, something sometimes things can be pretty straightforward, but whether it's complex as an issue or something that really needs deep thought and a lot of voices around the conversation.

We're here for all of it.

And so thank you for showing up and listening today.

Lori Adams-Brown:

I got to ask Dr.

Cohek, another question and our time together after this where I have an exclusive interview for any of you who are patrons of the podcast, and thank you to each of you who give monthly support to this podcast as a way of saying thank you whether you're at the lowest level which is 5 dollars a month or any of the higher levels everybody gets access to our exclusive interviews that have ever been posted there.

So not just this 1, but all the previous ones that we've done.

And in this 1, I get a chance to ask doctor Cohick just to sort of process a little bit about how some of that suffering and pain has been in her process.

Very recently, which was going on during the period of lent.

Lori Adams-Brown:

So she talks about how she spent the period of lent this past year and Ash Wednesday all the way to Good Friday and the resurrection Sunday.

And what was going on in her life personally and how some of her practices of just her own spiritual walk.

And her own spiritual disciplines kind of kept her grounded in a season that was very unexpected and and hard And so she gets some great wisdom there and I was really blessed by that conversation.

It really touched me deeply and I was just so glad that she was able to just sort of vulnerability share about what the experience was like for her.

So, I would love to have you show up there and hear about what she has to say because she not only is a scholar, but she somebody who's deeply spiritual and her spiritual wisdom.

Lori Adams-Brown:

As somebody who's walked further down this road than I have really blessed me both in our interview here that we shared today, and also as we dug a little deeper in the Patreon exclusive interview.

So to all of you difference makers out there, thank you for listening, thank you for showing up today.

And if this is a podcast that you think might bless someone else, please share it with them.

And whatever your faith background is or if you don't have a faith background at all, All of you are welcome to just contribute to this conversation.

So show up on social media, let us know what you think, and you can always reach out to me on Twitter and say, hey, I had this question after I heard that or this is something that that podcast brought to mind for me.

Lori Adams-Brown:

I really enjoy hearing each of your perspectives.

It's kind of the whole point of this podcast.

So please share them with me.

Always welcome that.

And again, thanks for making a difference wherever you are, and I hope that you have a great week.

Lori Adams-Brown:

We'll talk again next week.

Bye, everyone.

About the Podcast

Show artwork for A World of Difference
A World of Difference
A podcast for those who are different and want to make a difference

About your host

Profile picture for Lori Adams-Brown

Lori Adams-Brown

Lori Adams-Brown is a combination of business executive, international speaker, and podcast host of a top 5% global podcast, whose over 20 years of leading global teams have made her a strong and inclusive leader of teams who exceed expectations. As a former international relief & development leader, she has led diverse global teams in multiple cultures where she learned to speak six languages. Lori improves systems, motivates teams with relationship building, and achieves global results. She is a culture connoisseur and a people-first global manager. Her happy place is sipping a flat white coffee while having a deep conversation and enjoying either a beach or mountain vacation with the love of her life, Jason, and their 3 teenagers.