Is there a way forward beyond the dominant complementarian discourse at this nexus where a predominantly white North American evangelical Christianity has met racial and ethnic others, especially East Asians in the contemporary milieu?
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.
The patriarchal hierarchy imbedded in Confucianism breaks the original design of harmony through filial piety and results in male dominance. This oppressive tendency is in dire need of the healing power of the gospel seen in women’s role in New Testament household codes.
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.
When I am invited to speak at a Christian college, I make an effort to learn something about the school, particularly about the founders and graduates. Over time, I’ve discovered an impressive history of women graduates who were trained by these early evangelical Bible institutes, today's Christian colleges and universities, in the 1800s.
When culture values women and men equally, these very attitudes stem the abuse of women. What is more, when dollars are invested in women’s health, education, and businesses, we not only raise women’s standard of living, but that of their families and communities.