During the eighteenth century, the United States was not a particularly welcoming place for women looking to speak their minds—especially not African American women looking to speak their minds. But that did not stop God from blessing strong women to speak his words to people who needed to hear. Zilpha Elaw was one such woman.
Crack the book that Re-rewrites history
And grow new eyes to
As a girl I watched
The lines between human and not
Like the whip he used on your back
Your blood flowed and your screams
Choked my sense
Like a millstone
Around my neck
With each black face
Pushed to the dirt
They said you weren’t
Allowed to know
What letters meant
On a page
It matters that Mary and Jesus are often inaccurately imaged with light skin in the West. It matters that pastors preach on Jacob, David, and Peter but not Rahab, Tamar, and Priscilla. And it matters that, Sunday after Sunday, women don’t see preachers who look like us in the pulpit.
May we all be inspired by Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a woman who not only makes history, but does so with boldness and courage, unapologetically and matter-of-factly confronting sexism and racism on the national stage, to powerful leaders, and in some of the world’s most traditional, white and male-dominated halls of power.
Despite the opposition of medieval theologians who insisted that women were unsuited for leadership because of Eve’s sin, women leaders, mystics, and missionaries offered strong moral, spiritual, and intellectual rescue to the church in the Middle Ages.
Macrina the Younger was a member of a celibate community of fourth century Christians who devoted much of her life to the theological education of other Christians. She was named a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church after her death, celebrated as a compelling testimony of Christian humility and discipline.