It is good to bear in mind that traditions – whether Jewish or Christian – have not always stayed loyal to the biblical truth. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in the value and status of women throughout the centuries.
In Kenya, many churches bar women from church leadership and some teach very strongly against women as religious leaders, hence men dominate church leadership. This is also manifested in the political arena, where women lack representation. This parallel suggests that barring women from leadership is not a biblical premise but a cultural one. This session will bring into focus fundamental values inherent in both religion and politics that tend to inform our sense of judgment and the constitutionality of our engagements.
How does gender breed violence, and what can we do to cange this? The gender caste system and men's violence have kept us in captivity for too long. Jesus re-reveals God's original intention for male-female partnership and demonstrates what it means to be fully human and truly free in the kingdom of God.
We will examine some of the most crucial New Testament texts dealing with the condition of women in the first century society and church. Is the speaking in congregation permitted for women? How about the meaning of ”submit to your husbands” or ”the husband is the head of the wife”?
Some areas of sexual violence have been perpetuated by cultural practices like wife inheritance (a male relative inheriting his kinsman’s wife after he dies). While on the surface the church seemed to challenge cultural practices, this has not been the case with practices that have been sexual and which largely affect women. Wife inheritance and gender prejudice is a major contributing factor to the spread of HIV and AIDS.