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I recently had the dubious honor of being the only female passenger in the first class cabin of a crowded jet. As the plane landed and taxied toward the terminal I, like all the men around me, quickly gathered my belongings and stood in the aisle. Apparently the ground crew was having difficulty opening the door, and after about ten minutes of listening to mechanical parts grind back and forth, one man, standing inches behind me blurted out, “Oh, it’s probably some stupid woman who can’t figure out how to open the door!” The other men chuckled, and I smiled like one of the boys, feeling strangely invisible and deeply humiliated by the entire circumstance. Yet, I couldn’t help but wonder if individuals would be as inclined to vent racist rather than sexist attitudes? Would they be as inclined to admit they thought Asian or African-Ameicans inept, particularly if one were present? Read more
I almost didn’t hear her. She sat just outside the door, leaning against the weathered wood on a dirt stoop. Her sari was so old it had no color anymore. No one else acknowledged her. Maybe she hadn’t said anything after all. Read more
Chances are that being a male, over 35 years old, ministering in a conservative evangelical denomination, and the product of a “dad-works, mom-at-home” traditional family, I would not be an egalitarian. Chances are that I would be a “New Man,” probably of the Promise Keepers variety, whose maleness has recently been reclaimed and revitalized. I would, as chances go, probably be a man who on the one hand is sympathetic to the feminist cause, listening to and understanding the plight of women throughout the centuries, while on the other hand being a man who has decided to follow “God’s plan” and has taken on the leadership of my family in a gentle but firm way. Read more
Atlanta changed my life! There, I’ve said it, OK? To be a part of the world’s largest-ever collection of clergy ( 42,000) in one building at one time; to hear the thunderous, earsplitting applause, the four-part harmony, and that eerie, haunting, inspiring chant of “Je-e-e-s-u-s” as this handholding, mid-sized city of men affirmed their common faith—what can one say? It will never be forgotten. The highlight for me had to be somewhere around the time of Steve Green’s emotional presentation of “Let the Walls Come Down,” leaving thousands of male pastors of every race and denomination tearfully hugging while offering and receiving apologies for centuries of injustice and blindness to each other’s plight. Hats off to Coach Bill McCartney and the team for bringing vision to fruition as they launched the much-needed Promise Keepers’ theme for 1996, “Break Down the Walls.” Read more
“Why don’t you attend as a volunteer, and then we can observe the rally from different angles.” This was Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen’s suggestion. She was coming to Pittsburgh to report for Books and Culture on the 1996 Promise Keepers’ rally to be held at Three Rivers Stadium. I wasn’t sure about the plan. Mary would be there in an official capacity, and that seemed more up-front to me. I didn’t want to be a spy. But she proved persuasive, and at the last minute I offered my services for the second day of the rally. Read more
Hearing ambulance sirens was nothing out of the ordinary when I worked as a nurse in the emergency department in Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital. But, although I didn’t know it at the time, the sirens blaring one day were signaling a major change in my life. Through the emergency doors came a woman and her 12-year-old daughter. The mother—a single mom— had killed her son, wounded her daughter, and stabbed herself with a knife. Read more
It is interesting to compare Christianity Today’s cover article on John Stott with the cover article featuring “Ministering Women.” The “ministering women” are presented in mannequin-like poses, in full color, standing on thin air. Out of their mouths come comic-strip-style blurbs. Pastels are the chosen colors for sidebars and screens. It was hard to tell if the layout was a take-off on “Designing Women” or “Sister Act” In the Stott article, the “ministering man” is depicted black and white, face-only, with meaningful quotes set apart by boldface black type. The accent color is red. Despite the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, a comparison of even the layout of the two articles reveals clues that seem to suggest that some “priests” are taken more seriously than others. Read more
A few weeks ago at 5 p.m. I pushed my chair away from my desk. I had only three hundred words of prose to show for an eight-hour day. Not that I had stopped to shake popcorn or weed my garden. I had sat and stared. I’d written a sentence and crossed it out. I’d stared. I’d written half a sentence and crossed half of it out. Eventually fit words had filled a page, but the day was over; night had drawn nigh. Read more
My interest in this subject was sparked by the challenging comment of a black woman with whom I shared a class at Northern Baptist Seminary. In the course of our conversations I expressed my growing understanding that racism and sexism were two issues that needed to be dealt with together in the Christian community. More specifically, I asked her how a Caucasian like myself could help to facilitate a greater coming together of black and white women (along with interested men) to work for justice in these matters. Her only comment was, “You don’t even know what the issues are for black women.” Read more
Has anyone ever told you that you can’t do something? And then you just can’t wait to prove you can? I had that experience two years ago when the drain valve on my hot water heater was leaking. My father in Montana told me that I couldn’t repair it and that I’d be without hot water for a week if I didn’t hire a plumber. You’re right. I couldn’t wait to prove to him that I could do it. Read more

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