Photos by Ken Fong
Two weeks ago, I was at the CBE Annual Conference in Los Angeles. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was excited to be volunteering with the CBE staff and hearing from the many wonderful speakers. I really had no idea just how stellar this conference would be. It was amazing! Each day was filled to the brim with amazing workshops and inspiring plenary talks. I met some of the authors and scholars whose work has strengthened my commitment to mutuality in marriage and ministry. I met other likeminded men and women from around the world who are passionate about making an equal place at the table for both women and men. I’m not even sure how to summarize the conference, so I thought I’d share some of the notes and quotes I wrote down while I was there. Since these were notes scribbled down as I listened intently, it’s possible the quotes aren’t exactly word-for-word. But the main ideas are there, and I hope they inspire you like they inspired me!
“If our paradigms don’t work, we change them.” – John Stackhouse
“We can’t convert anyone. Only the Holy Spirit can do that.” – John Stackhouse
“When I’m engaged in something important, I’m not interested in arguing. I’m interested in persuading.” – John Stackhouse
John Stackhouse’s suggestions for arguing about biblical equality in (only) these three situations:
- When someone is dismissive: give them grounds to consider an alternative.
- When someone is in process: give them grounds to arrive.
- When someone is convinced, but lacks adequate grounds: give them grounds and resources.
“We are called to make shalom… the purpose of being a Christian is to be a properly-functioning human being. And the end goal is shalom.” – John Stackhouse
“Good theology is not just good sermons or lectures from the ivory tower… but it engages the streets.” – Eugene Cho
“I believe Galatians 3:28 is the most scandalous verse in the Bible.” – Eugene Cho
“Everyone loves the idea of justice, compassion, and reconciliation. But, as St. Francis of Assisi put it, ‘It’s no use to walk anywhere to preach if your preaching is not in your walking.’’’ – Eugene Cho
“In this new reality, we learn to both honor each other and rule together.” – Adelita Garza
We need to ask ourselves: “How is your commitment to this ministry of reconciliation?” – Adelita Garza
“Every day was a step of faith. Every day was a search—God, are you calling me?” – Anne Zaki on her pursuit of ordination in her Egyptian denomination.
“I don’t know that the timing was ever right for any right decision.” – Anne Zaki
In Susan Howell’s workshop on empowering women to be leaders in the church, she proposed these practical steps:
- Be intentional in communication (tailor comments to situation, not gender).
- Teach males that female success does not diminish them.
- Encourage generously.
- Call her on the tendency to “tone it down”—acknowledging one’s own success is not the same as bragging.
- Promote androgyny (meaning, it’s positive for men to have stereotypical female personality traits and vice versa).
Mariam Youssef’s workshop on creating safe spaces for women of color in churches:
“I’m interested in doing the work, so the next generation can carry it on after I’m dead.” – Mariam Youssef
“Any act of self-care is an act of resistance, because I was not meant to survive.” – Mariam Youssef
“Be invested in community, so people know you have their best interests in mind when advocating for gender equality.” – Mariam Youssef
“If we aren’t the ones to say women of color matter… we’ll never get around to it.” – Mariam Youssef
“Let’s stop making ‘women of color’ a special interest. As long as women’s work is unseen… it will be considered a special interest group.” – Mariam Youssef
Wow, I could keep going, but I won’t. I urge you to consider going to a future CBE conference. It was so meaningful and encouraging. I left pumped up and empowered to continue this important work.