I read an interesting book a few weeks ago that a coworker loaned to me. What Paul Really Said about Women, an Apostle's liberating views on equality in marriage, leadership, and love, by John Temple Bristow. This was an amazing book. While not based on the book, the link to the following article sums it up very well: The Stained Glass Ceiling.
What amazed me was that basically it took all the passages of the Bible that have made me feel awkward or doubtful of my role as a female in the Christian world order, so to speak, and explained them in a way that I always wanted to be true. I always wanted to think that God was saying, you are a whole and worthy human being, I want you to participate in kingdom completely, no holds barred. I wanted that to be true, but felt guilty from my background and with my cultural reading of these "difficult" "cultural" passages that this was not the Truth.
Perhaps I have just found a liberal theologian who is saying things I want to hear, at least I can imagine someone making that criticism. However, the book is very specific and backs up the points thoroughly. Plus the coworker that loaned this to me is very conservative and intellectual both, so I feel fairly confident it's not a kook idea being thrown out there.
I'd encourage anyone to read the book. It is somewhat academic, but a short book so not a rough read. But it explains first how the Hellenistic and Greco-Roman perspective on women colored the interpretation of the Greek writings until it became accepted as the norm. Mind boggling to me that we could lose something as culturally significant as letting women learn and participate in the Gospel as full partners. Not as big an issue in our denomination, but some of those applications to Paul's awkward scriptures I've heard in my lifetime, in our churches. Fascinating.