Gender Justice Concerns | CBE International

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Gender Justice Concerns

Today, advocates and activists from around the US will gather at the For Such A Time As This Rally in Dallas, Texas. The rally—led by abuse advocates and faith leaders such as Ashley Easter, Gricel Medina, and Mary DeMuth—will lament and challenge the Southern Baptist Convention’s inadequate response to sexual abuse and poor treatment of women. Leaders are urging SBC leadership to: Honor and respect women in the church. Create an SBC clergy sex offender database. Train all pastors and seminaries on abuse and sexual assault. The gathering was certainly spurred by recent events surrounding SBC giant Paige Patterson. But for many Christian women and especially Southern Baptist women, it’s so much bigger than that. It’s a biblical response t... Read more
Gricel Medina
Christian conferences exist to serve and edify the church. They provide an opportunity for believers to have community with each other and to learn from each other’s faith and experiences. They also provide platforms to leaders and visionaries who then shape how Christians think about and practice their faith. Christian conferences are a powerful tool. They can be used to engage, include, and challenge all Christians. They can also hurt and exclude believers who are already marginalized in US society and in the Christian family. And, they can confirm the conscious or unconscious biases and attitudes of the more powerful group. As a Latina, I have been hurt by how the church excludes those who look like me from the leadership and theology of Christian conferences. And as a woman, I... Read more
For the last five years, it seems that sex trafficking has become the social justice issue—the cause that everyone can get behind. Diverse groups of people who agree on nothing else are united in their conviction that sexual slavery is evil. Still, many groups diverge over which method best eradicates it. Many focus on cutting off the “supply” (i.e. how to help women and children be less vulnerable), but few focus on the “demand” (i.e. male buyers, prevention, rape culture, normalization of sexual violence). This is where things get a little too personal and a little too political for most. Between one in five to one in six men in the US self-report purchasing a human being for sex.[1] The numbers are most likely even higher because many more will not admit... Read more
When I critique oppressive systems and ideologies, I generally ask two simple questions: Does the system or ideology give one group unearned power over other groups, and especially over others who already have less social power? If the answer is “yes,” then I ask a question I already know the answer to: Is the system safe for the less powerful? Naturally, social hierarchies are safe for those at the top. They’re designed to preserve the existing social structure, which already prioritizes the needs and perspectives of the group with power. Social hierarchies don’t make less powerful people and groups safer. Rather, they exacerbate any vulnerabilities and pose danger and harm to marginalized people. If a system relies on the powerful group behaving rightly and n... Read more
We all have a “thing”—a certain issue, cause, or topic that taps into our passion and causes us to climb up on our soapboxes. One of my “things” is building supportive communities for women in the church. So much so that, when my husband and I were at brunch with a group of friends recently and the conversation at my end of the table turned to women in leadership and ministry, it was only a matter of seconds before I was on my soapbox.  I argued that if a male leader in the church believes that women should be in positions of leadership, but doesn’t use his power to actively work toward that goal, he is sinning.  These words were born out of frustration with a system of complacent privilege in our churches. If we don’t see or... Read more
“Sure, men and women are equal, but men are supposed to lead.” “Of course, men and women are equal, but women are supposed to be submissive.” “All people are equal, but when couples reach an impasse, husbands should make the final decision.” I have heard these “equal, but” statements for years. I’ve heard them in the church. I have heard them among friends, and I have heard them from my students. And, yes, I will admit it. In years past, I have even uttered these “equal, but” phrases myself. Yet, if used to explain differences and roles among other demographic groups, they would almost immediately identified as the contradictory statements that they truly are. Here are a few examples, “Sure, all people a... Read more
This article is a part of the July blog series “Becoming New,” in light of CBE’s 2015 LA Conference, “Becoming New: Man and Woman Together In Christ.” Articles for this month will either introduce conference topics or feature stories of hope, faith, and personal transformation. We invite you to join us this month as we seek to become new together as a community. The first time I realized that I was an egalitarian was before I even knew what the actual word meant. It was my sophomore year of college and I was suddenly starting to feel the pressure from my conservative church. All of my mentors thought it was thrilling to have a student who knew she wanted to pursue ministry as a theology major. However, they were clearly put off at the suggestion o... Read more
As I noted in my previous post, the resurrection of Jesus Christ marked the inauguration of the New Covenant. Depending on which theologian you read, one might say this “inauguration” period reached its peak with Pentecost, the day when the promised Spirit was poured out on the church (Acts 2). Whatever the case, Christians today—generally since the time of Christ—are living in the age of the “New Covenant.” Being “new,” the New Covenant is different from the “Old Covenant,” which (again, depending on theology or context) may refer to the Mosaic covenant, or all of the covenantal administrations prior to Christ (e.g., Abrahamic, Davidic, etc.). For simplicity and convenience, most Christians typically refer to the “Old Co... Read more
As I sat down to write my first blog post for Women's History Month, I heard the devastating news that a wild, uncontainable fire was ripping through our beloved city of Cape Town. From the veranda of our house, we could see the flames burning like molten lava some seventy kilometers away. My heart just broke. For five consecutive days, evacuations took place, animals were hurt, and people lost their lives and homes. All the while, firefighters, men and women, never gave up. They worked shifts that stretched over thirty hours. They refused to go home; they refused to give up even while five thousand hectares (12,355 acres) of land lay burning. They saved lives and homes, rescued animals, and gave the people of Cape Town hope.  The outpouring of heroic love left tears in the eye... Read more
In commemorating International Women’s Day, we remain sober about the future safety of girls and women. According to the United Nations 35% of the world’s females, over 1/3 have encountered physical abuse in their life. What is more, in most of these communities women are rarely included in the strategies and implementations that address systems that perpetuate their own violence. Too often communities lack a “gender-lens” in dealing with power-imbalances that women and girls are best acquainted with and therefore are best able to address. When developing solutions to gender-based violence, their voice and experience is essential but frequently ignored. What is more, perpetrators depend on the silence of their prey, not only through systems that marginalize their ex... Read more

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