The most glaring difference between the theological quest of white women and black women is the fact that black women are dealing with three levels of oppression (racism, sexism, and classism) while the white women’s struggle with oppression can be one dimensional: fighting the Victorian model of the weak (even pampered) woman who can’t do anything for herself.
It is interesting to see how many times the word “all” occurs in the opening verses of the book of Acts. After identifying those who were included in the early followers of Jesus in the first chapter of Acts, we read in verse 14, “They all joined together constantly in prayer.” Worship was no longer something only for the older men; now it is for all.
Christian tradition is sometimes remarkable for the liberties it takes with the reputations of its saints, and in this regard no example springs so readily to mind as that of Mary Magdalene. Tradition has had its ﬁeld day with the reputation of this once deeply troubled woman.
Look what God is doing in the lives of women and men partnering together to bring the whole gospel to the whole world! These portraits of Chinese, Nigerian and Indian women in ministry are excerpts from papers given at the Lausanne Conference for World Evangelism.
Our daughter Christy was born in Congo and spent her childhood there while my wife Joy and I were missionary professors with the Evangelical Free Church Mission seminary serving French- speaking Africa. Our son Mark heard about our ministry in Africa all his life, but had never seen it for himself. Although Joy could not join us for this trip, the three of us were heading back.
The world places conditions on who may be welcomed, and even citizens of the most “civilized” nations welcome some and struggle to tolerate others. But the church is called to welcome all, not because of any system of classification or merit, but “because God has welcomed them” (Rom. 14:1ff; 15:7).
In addition to the ethnic, gender, and economic inequalities that have afflicted black South African women past the end of Apartheid in 1994, the plague of HIV/AIDS has added a new dimension to their struggle.
Greater awareness of Mary Magdalene’s exceptional role in the events surrounding Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and her leadership in the early church should not only help us do justice to her memory but also inspire us in our struggle for gender equality.
The resilience of children is truly amazing. This strength in spite of suffering was again demonstrated to me in a workshop at the Side by Side symposium in Bangalore, India. The story of the struggles of Devadasi children unfolded in a drama entitled “Seeds of Hope.”