Gender Justice Concerns | CBE International

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Gender Justice Concerns

Anne Lamott suggests that hope is stubborn. It shows up and impels us to do the right thing, believing that as we “wait and watch and work,” dawn will come! This image captures the struggle of working for biblical equality. Each day, each conversation, we stubbornly work and wait for God’s dawn to rise. At the CBE office, we work on old and unreliable equipment; we sit on chairs and desks pulled out of the trash; and we pray our copier will last another month. The stories we hear from the CBE community remind me that this struggle takes place daily in classrooms, jobs, homes, and human hearts. Yet, we remain tenacious. We are stubborn in our dependence upon God. We risk, being certain of things we cannot see. And God answers our prayers in diverse and exciting ways. So... Read more
How many of us believe that our lives are stirring enough to ignite a movement? How many of us dream in these terms? Or, do we often find ourselves discouraged by the injustice that surrounds us? Recently, I asked a prominent evangelical leader why we tolerated the unjust treatment of egalitarians within an institution where we both serve. He replied with some resignation, “Mimi, you’ll never change things. I suggest you put your efforts where they count.” I responded, “These are precisely the challenges I am most drawn to!” If a situation is unjust, that is a sufficient call from God to work for change! To suggest that efforts aimed at redressing injustice will fail is to underestimate the power of God. Thankfully, history is full of examples of people... Read more
How often should we speak up and share our opinions and beliefs with others? This question confronts us a great deal personally and professionally. It is also a question that requires great prayer and thought. Recently a friend shared with me that she has become the “token egalitarian” among her group of friends. She often feels like her friends discount her opinion because of her stance on gender equality. At the same time, her friends will often tell her stories of events at their churches that reflect gender inequality, saying “you would have been so angry.” Her advocacy, while in some respects has made her feel like an outcast, has also caused her community to be come more aware of gender prejudice and injustice. These situations involve a great deal of di... Read more
While addressing economic and structural injustices has always been a part of the Christian tradition, this movement today is gaining prominence in the hearts and minds of believers. As our perspective as Christians is becoming more global the ability of people of faith to work against injustice has exploded. It is encouraging and humbling to read the stories of God’s people at work around the world. Egalitarians today share a love for Scripture, evangelism, and social action—three qualities that characterized the early evangelical movement. Josephine Butler, who worked beside Katharine Bushnell in confronting the abuse of women in India, encouraged Bushnell to use her vast understanding of Scripture to show Christians that the God of Scripture compels each us to free the ca... Read more
I have always loved the above quote by G.K. Chesterton because it bears upon our work as evangelicals. Too often, as fallen human beings, we simply do not perceive truth and justice as we should. Theologians call this the "noetic effects of the fall," (or what C.S. Lewis called "wanting more than our fair share of strawberries") meaning, simply, that our perceptions and judgments are prone to serve self-interest and must continually be evaluated. And, as the abolitionists discovered, arguments used to support slavery, when analyzed carefully, were not only shallow but were also rooted in self-interest. Because slavery went unchallenged for centuries, the abolitionists had to help people see that the the moral teachings of the Bible differed from Bible culture—whic... Read more
One of my first objectives in teaching a Gender Studies course is to help my students realize that neither gender has all the advantages while the other is completely without perks. While most people have at least a vague awareness that males have it easier in many ways, women and men alike sometimes don’t consider the benefits women enjoy and the hardships that men often endure. I want for the young men, who often mentally “tip toe” in that first day preparing to be scolded for being male, to know that I realize society holds plenty of unreasonable expectations for them. And I want for the young women to realize they aren’t the only ones who pay a price for gender and to appreciate the advantages they hold. So to start this mental reconstruction, I divide t... Read more
My friends and I are rebelling this February 14th by watching the movie Brave, where a red-headed archer princess asserts that girls can rule without marrying. Of course, we are celebrating Anna Howard Shaw Day. Born February 14th 1847, this Methodist minister joined Susan B. Anthony and others to lead the women’s suffragist movement in the United States. Maybe my friends’ reaction to Valentines’ Day is extreme, but it illustrates a larger point. Advertising’s attempts to capitalize on people’s desire for love reach new heights of commercialization at this time of year. Unable to buy romance, we remain unsatisfied, unaware that romance is not the only type of love humans are made for. Imagine with me how this must make Love feel. If I were Love, I... Read more
A summer issue of Time magazine caught my eye with the title: “The Childfree Life: When Having it All Means Not Having Children” by Lauren Sandler. The link will not provide you with the full article, so I encourage you to either purchase the issue online or run by your favorite local bookstore/library for some coffee and a relaxing read. The article is interesting because it has a specific focus: couples (or just women) who have made the conscious decision to not have children (a status recently designated as “child-free”), the various reasons that have led them to this decision, and the still-very-present societal stigma attached to those without kids, regardless of how they ended up in their current situation. As I read through the article a few times,... Read more
Our pastor is beginning a new ministry series for the new year. He feels constrained by the Spirit to speak on the love of God and how our being loved by God should impact upon our ability to genuinely love others. In the introductory message he touched on some texts that really got me thinking about how it is that the Biblical injunction to love should not be determined by our gender.One of the passages that he referred to was Ephesians 4:1-3, which, in the TNIV reads:  “As a prisoner of the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”   As these verses were bei... Read more
Job has always been one of my favorite books of the Bible. When I was a teenager my family went through a very difficult time. While going through the heartache of losing my grandfather to cancer, my father was diagnosed with it. I was attending a Christian school at the time and my Bible class was going through the wisdom literature texts. During this time of loss and struggle, the book of Job spoke to me in ways that it never had before. On a very small scale, I identified with the loss that Job had gone through. I struggled through questions similar to his, and I tried to build my faith on the wisdom from that book. By the grace of God my father lived, but we still mourned the loss of my grandfather. Job 1:21 was my struggle and has been my life verse ever since: “The Lord gave, a... Read more