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.
In her book, Worthy: Finding Yourself in a World Expecting Someone Else, Melanie Springer Mock critiques the Christian culture which labels people and puts them into boxes. She then affirms God’s heart for every individual by emphasizing how much he loves them, regardless of what the world might think. She shares many experiences from her own life, both painful and positive, that helped challenge her thinking.
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.
Author, playwright, and philanthropist, Hannah More’s passion for education and social justice led her and her sister, Martha, who were encouraged by William Wilberforce, to help those in poor conditions in the Mendip Hills near Somerset, England.
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.
The integral inclusion of women in the life of the church continued after the death of the apostles. Preferring rejection, torture, and even death to renouncing their faith, women served Christ as missionaries, scholars, and pilgrims. Women were also noted among the martyrs of the early church, and their astounding courage and faith changed the world.
We can follow these examples of radical acts of loving by making small choices each day: recognizing someone else’s pain before yelling at them for being too needy; giving someone the benefit of the doubt before jumping to conclusions; forgiving someone who has disappointed us.
Forbes now is in secular academia, teaching rhetoric in writing, and she's turned her research attention to selected women who have unwittingly wielded a great deal of influence if not power, particularly in the twentieth century: devotional writers or compilers.