Personal Stories | CBE International

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Personal Stories

Jeannette Cook
[Editor's note: This is a post in a series on egalitarianism and autism. The first post, written by Jeannette's daughter, Katia, can be found here.] I grew up longing for fatherly acceptance and love. My dad was very creative in putting my sister Shari* and I down. Shari’s nickname was Big Pig, and mine was Little Pig. We soon learned that he didn’t think we were very smart. He often sang the following to the tune of a famous classical piece by Schubert: Nette is a gob of goo, And Shari is a gob of goo, too. If we made a childish mistake, he would say we were dumber than four hogs, among other things. We learned to stay out of his way because when he was home and spanked us, it was painful. Thankfully, his spankings were rare, but the verbal abuse was nonst... Read more
When I was growing up, I remember that my dad always tacked a three-by-five note card to a corkboard in his home office. Neatly, he had printed words with a black felt tip marker: "He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man." (Ps. 147:10 NASB) The card meant the world to him; it moved wherever our family moved, and we relocated a lot. Dad looked to it as a reminder that his identity wasn't in designing custom homes, skillful carpentry, or owning a successful construction company. God's words, transcending time, place, and personal circumstances, reassured him as a mysterious disease destroyed nerve fibers and interrupted impulses between his brain and spinal cord, slowly wrecking his muscles. I hated Mul... Read more
It is hard to understate the influence of childhood experience. In a very real sense, the past makes us who we are. Some of the most vivid recollections human beings have are from childhood. Psychologists, counselors, and other social researchers tell us that the first phases of a person’s life—whether from birth to toddler or birth to puberty—are the most formative. Few would disagree. While the brain remains somewhat elastic throughout life, the basic biological structures, neural and otherwise, are carved, shaped, and erected until a tipping point of around 18-25 years of age, where the brain begins to stop developing and the body physically begins processes of long-term decay, finally terminating at the last phase of life. Interestingly enough, I have not met a... Read more
I'm one of these people who is all brains and very little else. From a very early age, I was into analytical thinking. Math, and philosophy. Civic theory and political science. I stayed up in the night with a flashlight, reading huge books, bigger than my little child arms.  I wanted to know everything there was to know. I wanted to give my life to the task of learning the way that Hannah gives her child to God. I wanted to make my way into the inner sanctum, to the place where the most precious knowledge was kept. I wanted to see the inside of the vault.  Trouble was, I was a girl.  I know now, after wasting hours of my precious life on these things, that I cannot trace for you the thread by which I learned that my gender was an obstacle between me and my most... Read more
On Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, CBE's longtime friend and supporter, the Rev. Dr. Martha Giltinan passed away after a courageous eleven-month battle with Leukemia. CBE's global community has been praying for this great leader, whose spirit exemplified indomitable courage and unshakeable faith through the worst of her battle. Martha Giltinan was a priest in the Anglican Church of North America and a member of faculty at Trinity School for Ministry since 2005. Martha was Trinity's assistant professor of pastoral theology, teaching both liturgy and pastoral theology. Martha's research interests were theological reflections tools, theology and the arts, and the mentor training process and practical mentored ministry education. Her work as a public intelle... Read more
Who made me into the advocate for women that I am today, writing these blogposts for Christians for Biblical Equality? I’ve sometimes given credit to strangers who catcalled me, or middle school boys who bullied me for being too smart. These experiences made me empathize with the mistreatment of other girls and women. But the truth is, I wouldn’t have been upset by this if the vast majority of men and women in my life hadn’t convinced me that I was worthy of equal treatment. I wouldn’t be an intelligent and compassionate spokesperson but for so many great men in my life. Today, I want to thank them. They really deserve the credit for developing me as a leader. Some fathers leave their kids or love their work more. But some fathers, like my dad, say “I... Read more
I have been pastoring full-time for ten years now. A decade. It seems like yesterday that I received a phone call from a friend on a large church staff, asking me if I would consider coming to work there as a care pastor. I clearly remember the moment, because I thought he was asking me if I knew of someone who might be interested in the job. I was attending seminary at the time and had a lot of ministry friends. It never once occurred to me that he was asking me if I wanted the job. I was so stunned I had to sit down on the floor while he clarified. "No, I am asking you. I would love for you to come on staff and work with us." In all the churches I'd been in up till that point, every single pastoral position was filled by men. Sure, I knew women's ministry director... Read more
“Look, I love what you do and how you do it – just don’t call yourself an elder!”  This statement was in the context of a home group bible study when the topic of eldership came up. The person who spoke was a deacon and very supportive of us in ministry but he just couldn’t get his head around the thought of women being elders. At another time, one of the elders said “If Liz becomes an elder, then I will resign” and at that time we assured him it wasn’t our intention to push the issue. Interestingly, I was already the associate pastor and we had a split income because we shared the ministry, but the concept of a woman elder was just too much to tolerate. Just this week I was talking with a friend of over 40 years and she was saying... Read more
"Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task" (1 Timothy 3:1 NIV). When I think back to my first sense of God calling me to vocational ministry, I am continually amazed at how awesome it was. I had first chosen to follow Christ while in middle school, but it wasn't until I was finishing up my junior year of high school that I truly felt I was being called to ministry. I was set on majoring in graphic design when I got to college, but as I was talking with a friend who was about to graduate, he told me about his own call from God to be a pastor. Suddenly, I felt the Holy Spirit burst onto the scene, pulling me in that same direction. I literally could not get that conversation out of my head for the next several days! Over and over,... Read more
This month marks the 31st anniversary of my ordination. I have spent about 28 of those years serving congregations as a pastor. As October rolls around, officially "Pastor Appreciation Month," I'd like to share my perspective on how you might appreciate your own pastor. Recently, a younger pastor, also a woman, wrote to me:   "I find being a pastor an incredibly awesome and wonderful calling. In what other job can I study God's word, proclaim the gospel, pray, reach out to the hurting--and get paid for it? I feel blessed and privileged to be able to serve in such a position."  I feel encouraged just by reading those words--that being female has not been an impediment to the vocation this woman has received. When I was ordained in 1983, I wa... Read more