A great leader practices holistic, radical, other-oriented love and service. In asking the church to empower women as pastors and spiritual leaders, we are asking it to activate women to fully and freely love, lead, and serve.
What the example of Deborah reveals about gender authority: As women have gained increased influence in society, and as Bible scholars offer a consistent egalitarian interpretation of Scripture, gender traditionalists have had to work harder and more creatively to justify the subordination of women within the church and family—even to themselves.
Recently, someone asked my thoughts on racial segregation in the US church on Sunday mornings: “How will we ever move forward together, as a unified church, if people of color don’t forgive us for the past?”
Often, those outside of the social justice activist community can feel overwhelmed by the concepts and terminology of justice work. Many Christians want to understand these terms and concepts so they can do justice well in their communities and in the world.
What happens when the hall of theology becomes an echo chamber? What happens when half the sky meets God but the church doesn’t want to hear their story? What happens when the theological insights of women are pressed to the margins of Christianity?
Rev. Dr. Prathia Hall Wynn was a womanist theologian, pastor, mentor, and civil rights activist who developed the concept of a “freedom-faith.” She is an important figure in Black history, women’s history, church history, and American history for her work towards a church and an America where all people are considered equal, regardless of their race, ethnicity, class, or gender.
Stereotypes say women are too emotional to lead, while men are clear and logical leaders. But when we look at the Bible, we find that these stereotypes are not only incorrect, they are also unbiblical.
To be white and middle class in America is to be a participant in a privileged power structure. Often unknowingly, we lay poverty and discrimination at the door of communities of color. The challenge to white middle-class people who follow Jesus is to begin to notice the cries of pain from these communities.