Houston Chapter (CBE Houston) hosted a Collaborative People / Collaborative Marriages Conference presented by Gerald Ford. In partnership with Houston Graduate School of Theology.
These are our stories, your stories. The journeys that have led people just like you to CBE told by the people who lived them. Take some time and read through these stories and contemplate what they mean to you.
In 1974, my wife and I started our marriage as equals in every sense, in spite of what our very conservative church taught. When our three daughters grew old enough to understand, I started drilling into them the idea that they should never let any male tell them what they can and cannot do because they are females. It wasn’t until 1992 at a teen retreat that both I and my oldest daughter tangled with a rather narrow minded minister who told her that she should not be organizing Christian activities for her high school friends because “that’s a boy’s job” and he told me that I needed to correct my daughter for doing what she was doing.
That was when I started studying biblically based gender issues. My initial study was directed at scripturally supporting my daughter. As I re-studied verses I had read and studied many times, I saw a whole new understanding of how God looks at us as individuals. Verses I had always been told meant one thing took on new meaning, which would cause even more study.
When my oldest daughter graduated from high school in 1994, she entered Abilene Christian University and I started attending the ACU Lectureships. It was during a Lectureship that ACU publically asked for forgiveness from our brothers and sisters in Christ who had been associated with ACU in past years and had felt the sting of racial discrimination. The racial discrimination that was made public at Lectureship that year helped shape my views regarding gender discrimination in the church.
While ACU has made progress over the last fifteen years, it still has not realized that they owe women that same apology!
When my daughter was accepted into the ACU Graduate School of Theology to study for a post graduate degree in ministry, I continued my study of gender issues in the church. I studied what women did, could do, and were doing. I looked at every verse on gender I could find. I re- thought all my previous beliefs about how we should understand scripture and how we use of our almost “sacred” hermeneutic principles.
For my years in the Churches of Christ, I had always been taught the hermeneutic principles of inerrancy, silence of scripture, and CENI (command, example, necessary inference), which were used to re-enforce female submission and silence from a very legalistic approach. I became much more aware of the problems of translation and interpretation from ancient Greek to modern English that are all too common in our modern bibles, and how much the baggage of human traditions affects translation and interpretation. My approach to understanding scripture became strongly historical, based on how the letter was understood in the culture of 2000 years ago and then looking at the modern application of that scripture. I also started hearing from other Christian men and women who felt the same way I was now feeling about biblical equality. It took me about ten years of study to become a biblical egalitarian.
My journey to Biblical Equality began four years ago when I started attending Houston Graduate School of Theology for an M.A. in Counseling.
The first semester, I chose the research topic “Women in Ministry in the Light of Paul.” Dr. Barbara Worden introduced me to the egalitarian model and CBE. My husband, a Hispanic Baptist Minister, was also taken with the topic, and we both worked the issue theologically and now experience tremendous freedom having embraced the truth through egalitarianism.
I chose domestic violence counseling as my focus for a year-long counseling practicum at the Fort Bend County Women’s Center. I was shocked to find that 85% of my domestic violence clients were victims of religious abuse directly related to the hierarchal model. I developed a presentation for Spanish churches answering the question, “Why is Domestic Violence Such a Problem in Our Churches?”
My husband and I now work together at our church, El Buen Pastor Baptist Church, to offer spiritual freedom to a hurting community. This past Easter Sunday, for the first time in my life, I took communion served by a woman. My emotional response surprised me. I was translating the service and could not continue, I was so overcome.
Being raised in a Christian home and church where only men were allowed to serve in roles of spiritual leadership and decision making obviously has taken its toll. I am so grateful to have found this freedom and am excited how God will use its sharing to further healing in His Body.
Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) is a nonprofit organization of Christian men and women who believe that the Bible, properly interpreted, teaches the fundamental equality of men and women of all ethnic groups, all economic classes, and all age groups, based on the teachings of Scriptures such as Galatians 3:28:
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”(NIV 2011).
– Believers are called to mutual submission, love and service.
– God distributes spiritual gifts without regard to gender, ethnicity or class.
– Believers must develop and exercise their God-given gifts in church, home and world.
– Believers have equal authority and equal responsibility to exercise their gifts without regard to gender, ethnicity or class and without the limits of culturally-defined roles.
– Restricting believers from exercising their gifts—on the basis of their gender, ethnicity or class—resists the work of the Spirit of God and is unjust.
– Believers must promote righteousness and oppose injustice.
CBE International will hold their 2019 Conference in Houston, Texas. The Conference will be August 2-4, 2019. More details will be available at a later date. Make plans now to attend. Lend your voice and actions to full equality for Christian women in the church and in their own homes.