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I was shocked. I remembered the old Bryan*, the Bryan that put on the brakes during a discussion of Large Group speakers at our Coordinating Team planning retreat. “Why is it suddenly illegal to bring in white men?” he asked, frustrated. As Multi-Ethnicity Team Leader on our exec, I was pushing hard for more female and ethnic minority speakers during our weekly InterVarsity chapter meetings. Some of the other C-Team members were fairly supportive; Bryan was making it an uphill battle. How did that same Bryan end up sitting next to me on a flight home to North Carolina, rattling on excitedly about speaker Brenda Salter-McNeill and other highlights of Urbana 06? I had noticed how carefully InterVarsity had crafted its triennial missions conference, putting wom... Read more
Have you ever heard a speaker who explains something that has perplexed you for years? Perhaps it may be something as simple as how to cook eggplant or how to understand new tax laws. Or perhaps it may be something as crucial as why violent crimes are perpetrated against women. This weekend, I was privileged to hear some of the most impressive lectures of my life—at the Gender and Justice conference sponsored by the Women’s Study Center at Vanguard University. I highly recommend to you, for example, the work of Jackson Katz, author of The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help. Co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, and a leader in preventing gender violence initiatives among professionals and in college athletics, Katz too... Read more
February 20 was the release date of Susan McLeod-Harrison's first book Saving Women from the Church: How Jesus Mends a Divide (Barclay Press, 2008). Upfront I have to say I'm not sure I can review this book objectively. Susan's story is very close to my own. Reading this book, I wished it had been published about eight years earlier. That is when I was going through my own struggle on whether or not to remain in the Church. And I do mean Church with a big C. I wasn't thinking of only leaving my denomination, I was thinking of leaving the Church period. I was in seminary and on the ordination track. I did not see a place for myself in Christian ministry. I was single; I was evangelical; and I was called to preach and pastor. I was also asked in various churches i... Read more
The following is from the second paragraph of the United States' Declaration of Independence. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. The mention made of 'men' above refers to both men and women; right? Wrong! When Thomas Jefferson and those who helped him draft the Declaration of Independence wrote of governments deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, they did not include women. In fact, in 1787 they gave white male property owners over the age of tw... Read more
"If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it" (1 Cor. 12:26, TNIV). If you were to pinpoint the most discouraging aspect related to the gender discussion in the churches today, what might that be? For many CBE members the real challenge is an inconsistent interpretation of Scripture that suppresses the gifts God gives women for evangelism and missions. For some, the notion that women are equal to men but under their authority is not only illogical, it begs the question—is there something wrong with women that they need male authority to oversee all of their decisions? Yet, for others, the real challenge comes from a lack of self worth and intimacy in relationships which results when women are told that their opinio... Read more
"Great is the Company of Women Who Proclaim the Glad Tidings!" (Psalm 68:11). Have you ever been so discouraged you wondered if God had abandoned you? Have your problems ever mounted so quickly that you questioned God’s faithfulness and power to save you? I imagine Christ’s disciples must have felt that way as they watched the Romans crucify Jesus. How confusing it must have been to watch Christ walk on water; turn water into wine, heal the ill, and also die a criminal’s death. Consider how difficult it must have been for Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother James to bring the spices to Christ’s tomb, resigned to say farewell to their beloved teacher—the man they thought was the Messiah. Can you visualize how unprepared these women must have been... Read more
As I write this, my sister is in labor, giving birth to a daughter. This child, whom none of her expectant family have yet laid eyes upon, has already showered us with an abundance of joy—not least because my sister had nearly given up hope of conceiving a child. When I see lived before me what the promise of a little girl can offer to a family, I shudder to remember the countless baby daughters who have been sacrificed because of their gender, left in the rubbish heaps of previous centuries to die of exposure in exchange for the “greater blessing” a brother would offer. I (unsuccessfully) try not to stand in judgment, because I cannot understand the grinding poverty and insurmountable social structures that drove past (and, dreadfully, still drives some present) par... Read more
“'Come now, let us reason together,' says the LORD" (Isa. 1:18 TNIV). How many of us long for critical thought and open discussion when exploring the gender issue in the church? Yet, how often do we hear radio shows, sermons, and lectures (even at a graduate level) where only one perspective is explored? Here is an example. A friend of mine attends a seminary that admits women, though the faculty aggressively promotes male authority in the church and home. As my friend said, “In nearly every class, regardless of the focus, the instructor manages to incorporate a theology of pink and blue—men are told they must be leaders in the church and the home (whether or not they’ve been gifted by God as leaders) and women are told they must submit to male au... Read more
In Australia today has been written in my diary as "Gender Awareness Day" but in many other countries it goes by the title above. We have permission to reprint this piece written by Ellen Alexander who serves the Lord in India and has been a speaker for CBE. It's not about flowers and chocolates Women are asking for respect and dignity - not just for a fortunate few, but ALL women. For equity and freedom to choose To be safe in the home and on the streets For their work and opinions to be valued For their needs at different stages to be considered For in their empowerment lies the empowerment of families, society and countries. We look forwward to a day when we don't need an International Women's Day When men and women will walk side by side, as Go... Read more
Have you ever been given an award for an important achievement and had an opportunity to thank people who had invested in your life? What if you were given that chance again, but this time you were asked to thank individuals whom you have never met personally, but who, nonetheless, served as significant mentors and role models? Are there people in your life who have contributed significantly to your vision and calling though you’ve never had the pleasure of meeting them personally? That is the purpose of history! Many women lack mentors who can model Christian leadership. That is why I celebrate mentors and role models from previous generations, trusting that their legacy will inspire audiences to new levels of courage and Christian service. Just last month I was lecturing to s... Read more