Archive for April, 2015

Walking Together In Golden Gate Park

8 comments Written on April 29th, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
20140823_143557 (2)Jon Lemmond is Pastor for Congregational Life at Montecito Covenant Church, Santa Barbara, CA and an adjunct professor at Westmont College. Jon received a M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in early modern European history from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focused on the issue of domestic abuse during the Protestant Reformation. He is married to Marianne Robins, a full-professor at Westmont College, and they parent four children: Jeremie, Emma, Jordan, and Lea.

My daughter wasn’t surprised when I told her that I would be one of the bloggers for the Commission on Biblical Gender Equality. But, I was surprised at her response as we wound our way through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco one brisk morning: “That’s great, Dad,” she said. “But don’t try to liberate me.” What followed was a delightfully humbling conversation as my daughter carefully reminded me of what it means to be man participating in a conversation about women and gender. So the following remarks are my brief, initial thoughts as a response to her questions and insights. Specifically, what role should men play in such a discussion about gender, equality and empowerment?

1. Our first priority should be to listen.
That listening should be a priority is not always easy, particularly for many of us who want change quickly. I suspect that many of my male counterparts (myself included) feel like we clearly understand the problem of female (dis)empowerment and simply need to address it. Armed with our critical exegesis and theology, our well intentioned desires to see our congregations change, we often forget that we might have something to learn from our sisters for whom this is more than simply an intellectual or even vocational struggle. Our well intentioned privilege, in other words, can mask our own assumptions about strategies for change or our female colleagues’ experience amidst the struggle. Or even worse, our well-intentioned critique and activism might become disempowering. Do my female colleagues really need me to liberate them? I don’t think so and my daughter’s words remind me that I should be uncomfortable enough to want to ask and listen more. Jesus has something to say about this, “Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.” (Luke 8:18). We must pay careful attention to our female colleagues and how we listen to them. When we do so we are more apt to come along side, or maybe even fade into a supportive role, as they seek to speak for themselves. In the end, isn’t that the point? Continue Reading »



Finding Identity in the Mestizo Immigrant Jesus

2 comments Written on April 21st, 2015     
Filed under: Resources, Testimonies and Stories
Evelmyn photoEvelmyn Ivens was born in Mexico and moved to the United States during her teenage years. Graduated from North Park Theological Seminary in 2013 with a MA in Theological Studies and works at the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) in Chicago. Evelmyn has lived in Los Angeles, CA, Washington, DC, and Chicago, IL, enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures. She’s passionate about issues of immigration, hunger, poverty, and human trafficking.

We all know that Jesus was a Jew, however, he and his disciples were referred to as Galileans. By knowing that he was from Galilee, people in general, Jerusalem Jews, and especially religious leaders assumed his social context. A context where Phoenicians, Syrians, Arabs, Greeks, Orientals, and Jews were neighbors, and It was also very commerce-oriented and as a result the Jewish sector was more open to diversity and allowed for this mix. However, there were others that became more militant exclusivists. Theologian Virgilio Elizondo states that there was a continuous biological mestizaje because of intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews, as well as a cultural mestizaje. This mix or mestizaje of Galilee and the Galileans made them impure to the eyes of the Jerusalem Jews and it was also a reason for rejection. According to the Pharisees, the Galileans were ignorant of the law. In addition to that, the Sadducees argued that those in Galilee were careless when it came to religious matters and rules of temple worship.

Elizondo suggets that this mix gave Galileans a nuance to their Judaism, and this influence gave them a different view on life than what the Jerusalem Jews had. Galilean Jews were also mocked by educated Greeks and other Jews because of their accent, they were not able to pronounce certain sounds. According to the rabbis, this defect of pronunciation impeded them from studying the law. Also, Galileans were sometimes forbidden to pray in public in the synagogue because of this. However, their Judaism was more personal, organic, and simpler, something that the Jewish intelligentsia saw as a contamination of foreign influence. Continue Reading »



Entering In

Post a Comment » Written on April 15th, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Catherine Gilliard is co-senior pastor of New Life Covenant Church in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her MDiv from North Park Theological Seminary and is a DMin candidate of the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS) with an expected graduation date of May 2015.

The forty day period between the Resurrection and the Ascension of Jesus is often
overlooked. On the church calendar it is called the season of Easter. Many of us
celebrate Easter on one day of the calendar, but it is a season of joyful testimony for
God’s people. For forty days we proclaim that we too are witnesses to the risen Lord.
We have discovered in each of our ministries the evil that happens between Hosanna
and Hallelujah and on during this season of Easter we share the testimony because we
are those witnesses that proclaim, “Jesus Is Alive!”

Life in the 21st century has become complex. Each day we awaken to the mourning unfolding in community after community when we learn that another woman loses a son, another wife a husband, another child a father, another sister a brother, we have a powerful testimony to share. We pastor churches that are often reluctant to speak about the tension present in the daily realities for many who sit in our pews. What can we share with those who are waiting to hear how the gospel really matters in their day to day existence? Continue Reading »



Silent Women

14 comments Written on April 7th, 2015     
Filed under: Resources, Testimonies and Stories
Nilwona Nowlin currently serves as the Administrative Specialist for Governance for the ECC and is an active member of the Christian Community Development Association. In her “spare time,” Nilwona teaches workshops about living successfully as an introvert. She also randomly blogs about random things at thedreamerspeaksNilwona is a member of the launch team for Kingdom Covenant Church (Chicago).

Nilwona Nowlin photo2The concept of intersectionality, popularized in the 90s by law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, is the theory of how different types of discrimination interact. For example, as a black woman, I’ve experienced discrimination based on my ethnicity or gender. Intersectionality addresses the discrimination I also face based on the unique combination of my ethnicity and gender. In a nutshell, it explores the variety of ways in which people/groups can be “othered.” When discussing privilege and power, we – in society and the church – often look at such categories as ethnicity, gender, class, physical abilities, religion, age, etc. These categories create an endless combination of subcategories that can be explored through the lens of intersectionality, but I want to share with you a bit of my experience with an often overlooked area.

Approximately  just over one half of the United States population is made up of introverts, those individuals who generally lean more toward: being energized through time alone, processing internally and preferring a few deep relationships to a lot of surface level relationships. Though the majority of our population consists of introverts, we function as an extraverted society – in business, education and even the church. How does this discussion fit into a forum for advocates of biblical gender equality? Intersection. Continue Reading »