Imagine a four-day road trip and a diverse group of thirty-four evangelical leaders from eighteen states. Imagine a collection of prophetic women who have the ear of ten million social media followers traveling from Seneca Falls to Washington DC. Picture a bus of female authors, activists, and pastors immersing themselves in the historical struggle for women's rights. This was the #RubyWooPiligrimage.
If you long for a better world, then you’re in good historic company. In the 1800s, abolitionists promoted a world that had never existed—one without slavery. They faced unparalleled challenges: building industries without slave labor; uniting families, churches, and a country divided; and exposing flawed scholarship that supported slavery. Some of their greatest opponents were Christians who believed that the Bible condoned slavery. Many were convinced that abolitionists were driven not by the gospel but by secular Enlightenment ideals. Egalitarians face similar accusations.
Last week, we told the inspiring story of Shannon Lucid, a woman who persevered against the prevailing biases of her day in order to become part of the first class of NASA astronauts that included women. This week, we will focus on the life and achievements of Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, the first female general superintendent of the Wesleyan Church.
The great church reformer, Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582), wrote of Christians:
"Christ has now no hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes with which
Christ looks compassion on the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world."
Mutuality joins author, missionary, and longtime CBE member Lorry Lutz and her granddaughter, sociologist Hollie Baker-Lutz, for a conversation about culture, equality, and building an egalitarian legacy.
I am reminded that many things, large and small, have contributed to CBE’s history without my knowing it. In fact, it’s easy for those of us who have not lived through CBE’s history to be completely unaware of it.
How do we explain persistent and stubborn structural inequality, a generation or more after laws supposedly guaranteeing equality were put in place? I discovered a great many theological arguments and answers given by various people, some of whom I agree with and some of whom I don’t.
At its yearly convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America passed a statement opposing abortion, pornography, homosexuality — and female pastors. For Southern Baptist leaders, these issues hang together. They assume that on their side of the culture war, Christians must oppose these practices as a piece. It is only the liberal, secular, or religiously compromised people on the other side who think differently.