Though this introduction will arrive in mailboxes in November, I am writing it in July. More specifically, I write as I wait in the Los Angeles airport, having spent the last few days attending the annual CBE conference. The conference was enjoyable and encouraging from beginning to end, and beyond the end as well, for I continued interacting with co-attendees and making new acquaintances even on the airport shuttle bus.
As has been true, to varying degrees, of all eight CBE conferences I have attended, these last few days have been full of ups and downs. The “downs” are vivid reminders of various forms of oppression around the globe. Happily, each of these painful reminders gives way to an “up”—a powerful proclamation that God is indeed righting wrongs through exemplary Christian servants. Examples of such workers include those ministries that had a presence of some kind at the conference, ministries such as ChabDai.org, DaysForGirls.org, EFOGEInternational.org, EmpowerInternational.org, MarcellaProject.com, OneDaysWages.org, SalvationArmyUSA.org, Vanguard.edu/gcwj, WomenOfWonder.us, WorldHope.org, and Rhema.co.za/gema, which will host the next CBE conference in Johannesburg on September 16-17, 2016.
This issue of Priscilla Papers carries the theme, “Oppression.” Oppression comes in innumerable forms—far too many to fit into the twenty-eight pages of this journal. Our cover photo of a ten-year-old girl, for example, was taken in the displaced persons camp in Atmeh, Syria. In our opening article, Chuck Pitts draws connections between the terrible tale of Judges 19 and the modern scourge of human trafficking, thus offering us a lens through which precious few scholars have looked. Chuck is a member of the Priscilla Papers Peer Review Team and is active with the organization, “United Against Human Trafficking” (see HoustonRR.org). Second is an especially timely article by Patricia Conroy, co-winner of this year’s CBE student paper competition. Her article details the history behind the July 8, 2015, vote of the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference regarding ordination of women. (That her article appears in an issue titled “Oppression” should suggest to you which way that vote went.) Jennifer McKinney, author of our third article, likely did not set out to write on a form of oppression. Nevertheless, her outstanding article is foundational for understanding how some forms of systemic oppression come to be. We close with three book reviews, The Cross and Gendercide, Dignity and Destiny, and Malestrom: Manhood Swept Into the Currents of a Changing World, capably reviewed by Shaun Brown, Christa McKirland, and Vicki Scheib, respectively.
In closing, you might be interested to know that this introduction has been written in spurts at three airports and on two planes; thus it, like the conference itself, has had its ups and downs—literally.