Last month in the Dominican Republic, my wife Aίda’s birth country, we were surprised to learn that Helados Bon (literally, “Good Ice Cream”), the nation’s most popular ice cream shops, had been purchased by Colombian investors. Colombian presence is felt everywhere in the Dominican Republic, because they are an adventuresome people from a country which is itself very diverse in culture. Colombia lies directly across the Caribbean Sea from the Dominican Republic, and since ancient times the countries have been connected. Colombia itself is the fourth largest nation in South America. Its Pacific coastal region soon climbs into the Andes mountains, which comprises two-fifths of the country, and this is where nearly all of its population lives. Beyond these mountains are the other three-fifths of the country: its eastern lowlands of the Orinoco Plains and the Amazon River Basin, where few people can live. Nestled into the Nechi River valley of the majestic Andes range is Medellίn, Colombia’s second largest city. Founded in 1675, the city is a hub of industry and education, famous, among other reasons, for its gold and silver mines, its textile, leather, and coffee production, its several large universities and, of course, the well-known protestant seminary, within this almost universally Roman Catholic country, where we will be holding our CBE conference.
At the conference, I will be giving two presentations. The first, a plenary talk, will be a Spanish adaptation of the workshop on equality in the Trinity that I gave at CBE’s Pittsburgh conference. Both the Pittsburgh workshop and now this Medellίn presentation have grown out of the creed that we call “An Evangelical Statement on the Trinity” that I drafted in 2010–11 in consultation with a number of CBE-related scholars. Today, “An Evangelical Statement on the Trinity” has its own website, www.trinitystatement.com, where it can be reviewed and signed by interested supporters. I invite all of you to visit it and add your name, affirming it as well. It appears in several languages, including Spanish, thanks to Aίda’s expertise.
My second presentation will be a workshop entitled “How Men Can Support Their Wives in Ministry and at Home.” Over many years (in fact for four decades now) I have been asked to make presentations on how men can support women. Each time I make one, the discussion grows with new insights as my own understanding and experience grows. I try each time to make a new presentation, while at the same time preserving as well the best insights of the past. For this present version, I wrote a new opening section, then drew the next section from the afterword my wife had graciously asked me to contribute to her important book, Beyond the Curse: Women Called to Ministry, which has become a standard text on the topic of God’s calling of women to ministry, has just been translated into Spanish as Más Allá de la Maldición, and which we are introducing to South America at this conference. Finally, I updated and adapted some pertinent practical suggestions I first introduced in a Daughters of Sarah article “From Locker Room to Meeting Room” back in 1987 on how men can support women’s speaking in groups. Because so much that we do in the church is tied to the way we make decisions in meetings, these become key places to begin to listen to and to support women’s contributions. If any time is left in this hour and a half session, I will do an exercise with attenders on addressing improvements in the way we do church, though it is hard to imagine we will be able to cram anything more in!
I hope to see you there!