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Global Perspectives

Last year when I offered to coach my class of Indian Christian women in preaching, they protested. They said, "Our mothers and pastors taught us Eve brought sin into the world and women aren't much good anyway. Should we learn to preach?" They went on, "Mothers tell us, 'Don't laugh! You're a girl. Don't talk or laugh when you get married and go to your mother-in-law's house. You would shame our family'." My heart stood still. What a stifling inheritance these mothers gave their daughters! In their advice to their daughters, these mothers were indirectly saying, "Your opinions and feelings are without value. You are nobody, and make sure you keep it that way." Many families in India where I teach also believe economic inherita... Read more
In 2004, I was the fortieth Korean-American clergywoman to be ordained in the Presbyterian Church USA denomination. Forty seems like such a small number when you consider that, in 2011, Korean-American clergywomen will be celebrating their 20th anniversary. Many Korean-American women are still wandering the desert of the ordination process without a well, pitcher, or even a drop of water in sight to quench their thirst to serve as God has called them. There have been times when we wished there was a Moses to break the rock so that freedom and ability to serve as minister of the Word and sacrament would gush abundantly, but the reality is that many Korean-American women can not find the support they need to find a call. This year, at the 219th General Assembly, the gathering was quite a... Read more
As of late, I find myself trying to reach across severe language barriers. Although Massachusetts is not a large state, it stands seventh highest in number of legal immigrants who live within its border. So many have such deep needs and so limited an ability to even communicate them. I try so very hard to reach out and sometimes feel helpless in doing so. How am I to bridge the gulf? How can I engage in a ministry of caring? I am beginning to see that part of our ministry as Christ followers is to minister to those whose language we do not speak. We do this by simply living out our convictions. As we are instructed in the Word, we can obey, share, and love, and the Holy Spirit can empower. I think of God's ability to communicate; of how Jesus came to bridge the gulf and how he wa... Read more
In this Australian conference there has been a strong emphasis on justice issues, both locally and on the world scene. The organizers of this weekend were determined that the subject matter would be far broader than just the ordination of women. The perception is often expressed that because there are now many ordained women in some denominations, the whole gender equality issue is "done and dusted." Through the variety of group discussions, this aim to broaden the subject matter was certainly achieved. Topics ranged from what it means to be a young woman in Australian church culture to how we can help women feed their families in Afghanistan; from how churches can welcome people with disabilities to helping women who are suffering abuse in Christian homes. Overload was an oft... Read more
We arrived at the Jasper Hotel in downtown Melbourne at midday on Friday, and found that already the organizing committee was hard at work preparing to receive those who would come early to register for the first CBE conference in Australia. This was the culmination of a year’s hard work by a dedicated group who had prayed for at least 200 people to participate. By the time the first people came through the doors, there were already over 220 names registered, and the steady stream of eager people was so heartening to see as the time for the first meeting approached. A perceptible feeling of anticipation could be felt as folks chatted over cups of tea and coffee, meeting new and old friends, and asking the common question of “Well, what brings you to this conference?” A... Read more
"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:11-13, TNIV). When we think of mega churches, very often we imagine large evangelical congregations—numbering in the thousands, located in the United States. But, do you realize that five of the ten largest mega churches are located in South Korea?! According to last year’s research by the Economist, the Yoido Full Gospel Church claims 830,000 members, and continues to grow by 3,000 members each month! Astonishing, isn... Read more

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