Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came to her for judgment. (Judges 4:4–5, NASB)
There came a chilling statement from the trustees of the Southern Baptist Chaplain’s Commission. That endorsing agent had voted to freeze the opportunity for Southern Baptist women to serve as military chaplains. “We will refrain from endorsing ordained women to the office of chaplain.” Since ordination is mandatory for military chaplaincy, this will prohibit women from entering military chaplaincy through the SBC.
Impairment is any loss or abnormality of structure or function, be it psychological, physiological, or anatomical. A disability is any restriction or inability to perform an activity in the manner or range considered normal for a human being. The restriction or inability results from impairment. A handicap is a disadvantage for a given individual that limits or prevents the fulfillment of a role that is normal. As traditionally used, impairment refers to a problem with a structure or organ of the body; disability is a functional limitation with regard to a particular activity; and handicap refers to a disadvantage in filling a role in life relative to a peer group.
At the intersection of socioeconomics, ethnicity, and gender lurks one of the most insidious forms of violence against girls and women: sex trafficking. What theological insights should inform Christian ministry to victims and survivors of sex trafficking? Female theologians who are well-acquainted with histories of multiple forms of oppression should inform Christian practice. Therefore, mujerista (Spanish for “womanist”) and womanist scholars ought to be at the top of the list. Unfortunately, many evangelicals and other Christians whose praxis has primarily been informed by white, Western, male theological perspectives, are hesitant to consider theologies by and for women of color. This is a mistake. Whether or not a person fully embraces all the theological points of womanist and mujerista theologies, these contextualized liberation theologies contain powerful and poignant biblical truths that are particularly relevant to today’s victims and survivors of sex trafficking. This paper will first highlight relevant definitions and themes in mujerista and womanist theologies, then examine the implications for ministry among today’s sex trafficking victims and survivors
Over my lifetime, throughout the many formative experiences, educational meanderings and ministry adventures, I have been led, I believe, and of course have chosen, to adopt a personal and ministry stance that affirms the equality of women and men, girls and boys, both in God’s eyes and in ours.
I shall take you on my journey from Jewish home to ripe Christian womanhood in stages—role by role, not defining myself by those roles, so much as exploring how I had to find my God-appointed place, in, and sometimes despite, each of them.