Aaron: Welcome to Everyday Theology where we don’t tell you what to believe or why to believe it but rather explore our Christian beliefs and why they matter for us in relation to God to creation and to others. My name is Aaron Ross. Well today on Everyday Theology I have a pleasure to speak with Kim Alexander. She serves as the Associate Professor of History of Christianity in the School of Divinity at Regent University and Kim and I met I think at SBS probably quite a few years ago and have just been always in conversation kind of here and there as we get to see each other around. So thank you Kim so much for being with us today.
Kim: Well it’s really a privilege to do this and I appreciate this platform very much. I really appreciate the podcast, and so I’m thrilled to be able to talk about something that I’m passionate about.
Aaron: Yeah and so today we are going to talk about women in the church, like some history and some current. It’s going to be a bit of a broad conversation. Before we dive in if you wouldn’t mind letting our listeners know a little bit more about you, giving your story so maybe they can kind of get to know you a little bit.
Kim: Sure okay so I grew up in the Pentecostal Church. I’m third generation, which is not the biggest pedigree that scholars have. I do know Pentecostal scholars with fourth generation pedigree, but mine’s just third. I’ve never known anything but church, and so I went to seminary with the idea that I was just going to take Greek so I’d be better at teaching the Bible things like that, and I got kind of hooked. I decided that I really did want to do a degree in theological education. At the same time my husband, who he has a doctor of missiology degree from Fuller, but he didn’t at that time and we were pastoring, planting churches and having children. So we had three daughters actually and I did my PhD after the third one was born so there was a time between my master’s degree and my PhD and when I started my PhD. I thought about focusing actually on women in some way but there were some other kind of holes in Pentecostal theological studies that I thought needed to be addressed and I had some good advice by some folk, and so I did not do my dissertation or thesis in England on women in Christian tradition, though there is there are some implications in it for women, but this quickly became a major area of focus for me as well. After I graduated I began teaching at Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tennessee, Church of God Seminary, and I was there for 11 years before coming to Regent about nine years ago now. So I’ve been doing theological education for around 20 years. I love training ministers, but I also have enjoyed at Regent getting to work with some PhD students who are doing some really important work, one of those I probably will talk about actually and some of the research he’s done, but I don’t know is there any other anything else you want to know?
Aaron: No that’s great, I am only just getting married and having a dog. I could not imagine doing a PhD with three kids.
Kim: it was very interesting, but I being the Pentecostal that I am I sort of told the Lord “Okay if you really want me to do this I need for certain things to work out,” because I did not want it to be a terrible hardship on the family, either financially or just time spent, and the Lord really did open up a door for me to do work in England. So I would go every summer for about six weeks June and into July and I did that for six years and that’s how I wrote my dissertation or thesis and I did I would do a lot of research during the year and then go and just write for six weeks but that was great because the girls could go spend time with my parents, or go to youth camp, or go on church. So I did not have to do any kind of residency or anything during the their school years time or anything like that, and of course I also was doing during that time a lot a lot a lot of adjuncting in order to pay for the PhD program.
Aaron: And it takes a lot of adjuncting to pay for anything.
Kim: It really does, and I taught anything and everything. It was like they’d say can you do oh yeah I can do it, which gave me this really broad. It was good. I was teaching all kinds of things. There was one semester I taught four nights a week and one day and I was teaching everything from business ethics to Old Testament survey, to anything missions. I never took a missions course, but I taught a missions course.
Aaron: The problem of saying yes to everything because if you say no once in the academic world especially starting off right? Well today I would love to focus on even though you and I we’ve had lots of conversations about the academic world, to focus on this kind of idea or this thought about how do we kind of perceive and understand the way the trajectory that the church has dealt with women and why are we in the space that we are today and what can we do better in the future? And I know it’s very broad, but if you can start maybe from there for our listeners in the idea of how has the church what has been the trajectory of the Church and how has the church treated or understood women that leads us to where we are?
Kim: Okay I think this is so important because there is a tendency among especially people who are opposed to women in ministry, but possibly just kind of the general church public to think that this is some new issue that this is some radical feminist agenda to or whatever. But this has there have been there’s been a strong presence of women ministers and leaders since the beginning of the Christian church, and that really needs to be understood and unpacked in order to situate the current situation correctly I think. Now I’m not an early church or even a biblical studies scholar. And so I really rely on the work of a lot of other people for this. In seminary some of the work that I did was actually on those early women ascetics. When I would take a historical theology class then I would kind of focus, because I was mainly it was such a it was news to me even though the Pentecostal church where women preachers were maybe not prevalent, but but accepted. My aunt started preaching when she was 14 years old and she’s still preaching. She’s in her early 70s now, so it wasn’t uncommon to me but I had no understanding whatsoever that this was a long tradition and so I think it’s very very important that we situate it that way and when I’ve taught on this it’s what I always do is I always go back and say “Okay we need to look at this, first in in scripture, and then move through the history of the church. So one of the things that I think is helpful, I probably shouldn’t start with this but now that I’ve opened it up I will, I think if we have a hermeneutic that allows us not only to read scripture but also Christian history with a positive view of women and their participation, we see a lot of things that we wouldn’t see otherwise. So there are well history especially Christian history has been written by men and Christian history unfortunately is often ecclesiastical history and so it’s the church councils, the stuff that’s happening at the centers of of decision making and for a lot of reasons that we can talk about women have been not in those rooms right? But we know that from the beginning of the Christian church, women have been a majority of participants in the Christian movement. So if we read if we go back and you can talk about this as a history from below approach, but if you go back and just open your eyes and say “Okay I’m going to look for women in this trajectory,” it’s amazing you’re going to see a lot of stuff. I recently did a presentation with one of our New Testament professors and one of our a spiritual formation professor Regent lost story New Testament scholar and Diane Chandler, who teaches in the area of spiritual formation and he had us just come and he filmed this kind of panel discussion that we did the three of us talking about women in Luke-Acts and he put this in one of his courses and so Diane did Luke, and I did Acts, so I just in preparation for this just started reading through Acts and looking for women. And women are there from the beginning all the way through and they’re very prominent, but because we haven’t been trained to see that we don’t really notice that it’s women who Paul goes to almost in every situation, it’s women who are inviting him into house church settings, or it’s it’s women who are helping to fund his ministry, it’s women. So from the beginning you have this, but we haven’t. We’ve focused on Peter and Paul in the book so just just changing the lens a little bit feels a lot. Now Rodney Stark has argued that there is this preponderance of women and that women are really important for the rise of Christianity he’s a sociologist though, so he’s looking at it from this kind of sociological perspective, and I don’t disagree with his findings which are really interesting, but I would say I think beyond just looking at okay because there’s a lot of women and because the Christian church is against infanticide and abortion early on you have high birth rates and this means that Christianity grows. A legitimate argument, but I want to look at why there are women gravitating to the Christian movement. I think it is because there is a valuing of women in Christianity, but beyond that I don’t want to get too radical here, I think there is this feminization that the Christian movement brings to the ancient world and beyond that has a that attracts women in particular. I’ve argued I’ve talked about this with regard to Pentecostalism in particular, but I think you can see it on back as well and so women are finding I like to think about the way women have worked throughout Christian history as sort of navigating the terrain in a lot of senses the patriarchal culture that they find themselves in within and without the church, so they navigate and then they kind of negotiate space for themselves. Now women have been able to do this in really important ways, and it’s not just that they’ve found space, it’s that the space that they have found has actually formed Christianity in the way that we understand it. So for instance women; one of the things that people observed about Christians early on right was that the way they cared for the sick during a plague, which since we’re recording this during a time of pandemic is particularly… discussion. But the Christian church didn’t just throw plague victims out on the street and let them die. Christians cared for those among them who were sick and others. Amanda Porterfield talks about this a lot in her book Healing in History of Christianity. Well nurturing healing arts and care and all those are particularly feminine roles and so this thing that stands out to the rest of the ancient world is a particularly feminine thing about Christianity if you want to use those gender kinds of categories there and I think we see that throughout one of the things I’ve been really interested in lately is looking at the role especially in the 19th century and into the 20th of deaconesses. And while in Pentecostalism in early Pentecostal missions, we didn’t really have a category of the order of deaconesses like you did have in other traditions. We still had these women who are functioning in this way. And so women missionaries there are these women missionaries in Pentecostalism and in holiness traditions and and others who do preaching and teaching and church planting and all that, and I can talk about one of those in a moment, but so are really involved in things like schools and orphanages and nursing okay. Well on the one hand it might be that kind of male leaders relegate them to that, but turns out that’s kind of the really effective way to do missions. So someone like Lillian Trasher goes to Egypt to preach and teach, but immediately because she’s a woman people begin bringing these orphaned children to her and their sick children to her and she builds this incredible orphanage and that is still and she’s still revered in Egypt today for that work. So while women on the one hand seem to be sort of relegated to things, it’s almost like if I want to get real spiritual about it God turns that and makes that the thing that makes the movement grow and be successful.
Aaron: Well I think I think that’s for so many people because like what you said history is written primarily by men, and scripture itself is written primarily by men, that we we often are given a viewpoint that does not show this work of women and we often miss how important women have been throughout the history of the church, even when women were told that they couldn’t preach in certain times in certain places. Without women the church itself would not have been as vibrant or as impactful because half of the population right? In the church today of course there’s actually more women than there are men in the church, and yet we still kind of push this idea that and not all of us right but there is still an idea large that women should just be Sunday school teachers or should just be a spouse. Like they they can’t be a pastor unless they’re also married and that other person is like the co-pastoring thing and yet I love what you’re saying in terms of like bringing this to our attention that throughout lots of church history if it weren’t for women vital things would not have been done that actually caused the church to grow.
Kim: Yeah and actually possibly saved the church from his demise.
Aaron: I need to hear that.
Kim: Yeah I don’t want to say I don’t want to go anybody to go away saying well she’s just saying that women did these nursing kind of roles because we have very good evidence early on and again this is me relying on the early church scholars it’s not my area but there’s very good evidence that there were women in the New Testament but also in the early church who were serving in priestly functions. That shouldn’t be overlooked but and there are women so we know that in the early church there are women who are we have these frescoes right that that depict women in priestly manner and poses and offering the eucharist and things like that so we know that they were off they were operating in that way we know they are speaking prophetically and we know that there are women at least Junia who is recognized as an Apostle, and that’s another thing that we should probably come back to is what happens with Junia, but and we know that there are women deaconesses in the early church so women were doing the traditionally gendered male things in church world as which like serving the eucharist for instance, baptizing and other things but that isn’t the prominent role that women hold for a variety of reasons, and that is because Christianity tends to, for better and worse, take on the culture that it’s in. Now it should be a counter-cultural movement, and it is in most settings but it can easily take on the culture and if patriarchy is the dominant culture it’s a pretty hard wall to tear down. So you don’t see women as priests, for instance in this long-term kind of way, but you do see it. So women have served in those ways here’s a fun story in this in Virginia Beach where I live there’s a large church that you may have heard of called Rock Church and it was founded by a couple John and Ann Geminis and Ann Gemines is now in her 80s, and so she was she started preaching in a Texas Pentecostal Church when she was in her teens. She met John number of years later, he was a teen challenge graduate so it’s that whole kind of Jesus people charismatic movement golden age kind of thing. They get married start this church here and then they start other churches that are known as rock church and john is the bishop over those churches and they have churches around the world well he died a few years back and they didn’t necessarily want to allow and to be the bishop of those churches, but she brought in Vincent Simon who was the then the dean of the school of divinity at Regent to talk to the elders etc about women bishops in the church and the long history of that so that she could become bishop even if for years she had been preaching to them every week she she was this dynamic preacher. She’d been preaching they founded all these churches and done all of this still they weren’t quite willing to allow her to take on this this office, and even though she’s probably functionally serving in that office until they can justify it so again because they had not read the history or the biblical text in a way that allowed for that. And I’m not. I’m not calling for some sort of I hate this term but some sort of culturally relative way of reading text in a negative view of that. I’m just saying if you if you twist not twist that’s a terrible word if you just change the lens a little bit then you might read the book of acts and church history as seeing God actually challenging patriarchy yeah by calling these women and equipping them and making them say the book of Judges the best of the Judges the the godliest of the Judges, that are there but we just Judges Deborah is read as some exception to the rule rather than maybe the model.
Aaron: Right yeah yeah she’s she’s I remember being a kid and I grew up in a tradition that does not allow women and the highest ranks of leadership. And I remember growing up and hearing that story specifically as the only reason Deborah had to lead as a Judge was because men failed. So it’s as if women can only be leaders when men fail but I didn’t see that in the story right I didn’t read that in the story as if it’s like, there is this nation in crisis and there wasn’t a single man to lead and so Deborah right? Like but I think this question may take us into a space that I don’t know if we’re ready to go, but why is it again the timing of of us recording this podcast there’s a the particular thing happening where people are are using this claim of those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it for their own kind of political reasons, and yet we have this history of the church, often the history of women in the church, that is so unknown that it seems that we’re repeating the same history at times where women are still relegated in many churches, or are still kind of seen as sure okay maybe we have to make an exception this time, as opposed to yes this is exactly what should happen. Now if I can ask this question other than not knowing our history why is that? Why do you think it is that we’ve just we continually fail to recognize these things?
Kim: Well I think I hinted at it a little bit earlier but I think there is such a tendency for humans to just accommodate to culture. That’s probably a simplistic view and I know there’s a lot of other complicated things, but when I read these examples of say for instance and here’s one I just was doing some research on. The Pentecostal movement in Great Britain when it begins in 1907 it begins I’m sure this story, but in well it had there had already been some revivals but the main center was in the north of England and Sunderland in at an Anglican church with Anglican vicar named Alexander Body and his wife Mary already had a healing ministry, was writing and teaching and all of that and so immediately when you start reading the accounts of the conventions or conferences he was holding every year and then the publication which was a monthly periodical. You see scores of women participating in those meetings and writing and teaching, opening the meetings, So it seems to be like most early Pentecostalism a pretty egalitarian movement going on even in an Anglican church setting with a vicar, but then in 1914 there is this it’s like this suddenly out of nowhere, and I’m sure it’s not out of nowhere but you don’t get the backstory so I don’t really know where it comes from. Suddenly they have this conversation at his annual meeting and it’s these European leaders discussing the place quote the “place of women”. And what’s interesting is that in the whole conversation that is recorded only one woman and she is the wife of a dutch Pentecostal leader Mrs. Pullman she’s Garrett Pullman’s wife, and she basically takes the tag that you just talked about which is I’m the wife my husband is the leader and I never do this unless he’s not around and needs me to do it for him kind of thing right? And that’s one female voice that speaks in that entire conversation which went on apparently a couple of days now there may have been other women, but she’s the only one recorded which that’s a whole other thing that we could talk about so I think that there was this growing discomfort with the move. Margaret Paloma has talked about this with early Pentecostalism that you start getting these issues with regard to race and and gender, especially when they start talking about organizing and of course she’s using a kind of Max Weber handle on all of that and I think that’s really helpful, but I do think that there I’ve also looked at this with regard to Pentecostals in the South and Jim Crow laws, so there’s this moment of revival whatever at whatever time in history where where women are speaking and leading and one of my students talked about this as a he’s a Vietnamese student, and he talked about it is that the intuition of the Holy Spirit was to allow these women’s voices or indigenous voices or whatever. But then suddenly there’s this like putting the brakes on because this is uncomfortable in culture. We can’t keep being against the culture like this when maybe that’s exactly what they’re supposed to be maybe that’s exactly what the Pentecostal outpouring or or what whatever is about so I think that’s the the short answer which I talked too long about a short answer, but anyway what answer is that there is the the once the revival starts settling a little bit and there’s this need to organize and then you get heightened male leadership and actually discussions about the role of women and those at the beginning are kind of missing and then all of a sudden well we better think about this and what should we do here.
Aaron: It’s almost as if when things start to have prominence or power or significance all of a sudden people come by and say how do I get to control? How do I get to take over? How do I have that power? And then we start talking about where is the place of women? You know it’s it’s clear that some of these kind of movements really have been fostered by women, who have been empowered to do so and then people come by later whenever they go oh that actually has something to it I want it like or or or it should be it should be led by a man. It reminded me since we were talking about some early Pentecostals, it reminds me of kind of the story of William Seymour as an African-American male who really leads the Azusa Street revival, and as kind of the history goes after some time in it being very kind of vibrant and quote unquote successful maybe not in a business mindset but in a revival mindset that white men wanted to take it over. And it’s because it actually was something to it. It’s really saddening I think when we actually reflect on that reality how very often it really has little to do with what God wants in the moment, but more to do with power and control and how we get it?
Kim: Absolutely and I think that is that’s a real key to understanding what’s going on there and and here’s the other thing and you know now might start preaching here but, it’s borrowing a model of power from the world as you mentioned and negating the kind of Holy power that comes in the move of the Spirit. So you and and the case with race is really clear because when these white men come in, they actually start talking about Seymour as if he’s ignorant. So we actually are denigrating him and subordinating him based on he doesn’t have these qualifications that real leaders have. Well so who’s to say who’s setting that agenda for what leadership looks like what power looks like and so it’s borrowing of these worldly models, and I like to liken it to the Saul’s armor right it’s like it just didn’t fit David right? So it we’re borrowing these models of armor that don’t fit the Christian or Pentecostal movement and and I think if we we’d look through a different lens we see that God is saying something different about what leadership looks like, about what power looks like, about what participation in the Body of Christ looks like. There have been people who’ve analyzed it as shame it’s a shame-based thing well we’ve got to be like somebody else. There’s just a lot going on there, but what we’re constantly up against is this patriarchal culture and a kind of classic example of this is a recent discussion which a few years back that happened among conservative Evangelicals, and so you have people like John Piper talking about Christianity if you look at it throughout the Bible throughout history it has this masculine feel to it because God makes kings. Men are kings, men are the disciples, Jesus is male and so there’s this masculine feel and then he says women flourish more when men lead because that’s that the whole kingdom of God is masculine. So obviously that raises all kinds besides just the the practical issues with regard to leadership, it raises a lot of theological issues but what are you saying there about God? And then you get his buddy Wayne Grudem who then starts reinterpreting what the Trinity is like. He has this eternal subordination of the Son that he began he and some other Evangelicals begin to really tout and write about and defend, but it seems to come out of their concern with women being insubordinate.
Aaron: And there’s a reason as we talked about earlier that my my unfortunate collection of Gruden books from a degree from forever ago are sitting in the corner of the room marked for destruction and I don’t know what to do with them yet. But I think that’s interesting and I think there’s a word that you used earlier on the podcast that I actually want to bring back up now because it kind of has to do with that. It’s this feminism word right which is so easily demonized by people in the church especially by men leaders in the church largely for failure of understanding the term, or for seeing what what people do which a lot unfortunately even in our traditions we’ll just watch a certain news outlet and that word will be emboldened during some interesting protests and they go well “that’s what they are right?” So when we and I think this is kind of like what you’re talking about in terms of grudem’s pushing back like wanting to change a doctrine of the Trinity in order to deal with women in some sense is happening around the same time as kind of feminism is really taking a stand or really kind of starting to become maybe like filtering it’s kind of way into the church. And so maybe if you can kind of like talk about that word a little bit to help our listeners who may not have ever understood really I know there’s different waves of feminism and we could go into that. That’s its own podcast right there, but what is a helpful way to think about when we talk about this word feminism and why is it not contra to the idea of God or the church?
Kim: Well yeah a kind of basic definition that feminists give for what a feminist is is someone who believes that women are people too.
Aaron: That’s a radical idea right there right? Very radical.
Kim: So from a Christian perspective, what Christian feminists say, and remember first wave feminism was essentially a Christian movement, these were Quaker Methodist Holiness women, not all of them were, but many of them were the suffragettes, the abolitionists. and all of that. But what we’re saying from a Christian perspective is that we believe women are created in the image of God. We have full humanity, full personhood. Now again that shouldn’t be a radical notion, but when you read people like Grudem he goes and what’s the guy’s name Wear? Bruce Ware his sounds right he actually yeah Bruce Ware, he actually goes into great exegetical calisthenics in order to get to the point that because women are created from the rib of the man and not from the dust of the earth that their the image of God in them is mediated. And that’s the language that he uses. Then what this means is that you can of course subordinate women in and they’ll always take great pains to say we’re not saying they’re not valued or any of these things, it’s just they have their place and they can do these things, and they’re more they’re happier if they do. Being dictated by this kind of male reading of the text. And I think it actually and I’m getting off of my main point. I think it goes back to understanding and defining humanity from Genesis 3 rather than Genesis 1 and 2. And so the situation in Genesis 3 after the fall becomes the standard. I’ve often said to Pentecostals well you know you pray. Pentecostalism is marked by prayers against all of those other things that are products of the fall: sickness, pain, even death. All of that we pray against that claim it anoint the whole thing, but women are still supposed to be subject to their husbands and that is given, so we just ignore that that actually where that situation is is in fallen humanity and of course we could get into whole well there are theologies Christian theologies considered orthodox theologies or whatever that that do say yes that this total depravity idea or whatever but if you if you believe that salvation is about recovering the image of God, then a Christian feminist perspective is that in full salvation means full participation of women. One of the problems is when we put the women’s issue or the race issue, make them issues and not a part of soteriology, then it’s easy to push it to the back burner, it’s easy to put it further down on the agenda so that you never get to that. Because just it’s an issue, and the main thing is the Gospel. Well the gospel is full salvation, and so it’s kind of like the old question that used to emerge about missions. Is it just about saving souls, or is it about other things like feeding the hungry and benevolent activities? Well now thankfully in Pentecostal circles we’ve in the last I don’t know 15 20 years finally come to realize oh that’s a part of the Gospel too, feeding the hungry, not just going out and holding crusades. It’s the same thing we’re talking about half of the population in the church, and in in the church probably the greater part of the population as you said not being able to fully participate in the body of Christ and in some ways in God because of bad theology that Iis not not interested in recovering that image. So it has everything to do with your soteriology I think.
Aaron: I love that that idea of just kind of speaking it out full salvation is full participation, because I don’t think a lot of we very often don’t think about salvation in participation language anyways. You know we think of salvation I think as the Evangelical church that whole more about the saving of the soul and that’s the most important part but that’s part of the issue right is that we’ve failed to see that salvation is more than just about some metaphor of going to heaven and not going to hell, but actually what happens here. Hey now if I can ask maybe one last kind of question, where do we go from here? What can the church learn from the history of whether it’s more recent kind of history of women in the church, but where where do we go from here that that might help us keep moving the way forward as it needs to it needs to be quicker but unfortunately we we know how that works pending a massive revival where do we go from here to help kind of better position the church to where it should be?
Kim: Okay well I can talk about that from two different ways right off the top of my head. I could probably talk about it in about 15 different ways in another hour. First of all kind of from an academic perspective I think that and I see this a lot in an academic perspective from academics and scholars but I think doing that whole thing of using that different hermeneutic and this was sort of a first wave and second wave feminist idea anyway, but to recover these stories to recover that reading of scripture to recover all of that is really really important. I was talking to someone else the other day about the need, we need to write a people’s history of the Pentecostal movement for instance, because if we do that we’re going to see people we’re going to see things very different. I mentioned earlier this student of mine from Egypt who just wrote his dissertation on history of Pentecostalism in Egypt, which is over a hundred years now of history and he was Egyptians oh it was great he was able to read Arabic sources that other people haven’t, and all of that and he just found amazing things. One of the things he did well, he uncovered stuff about Lucy Leatherman as probably the first person to take the Gospel the Pentecostal message to Egypt and that had been overlooked but he wrote about a woman in Assemblies of God history Maybel Dean. Mabel Dean went to egypt in 1924 as a missionary when she was 40 years old. She died in 1961 never having gone back to America ever. When in 1951, and I went back and looked at this this week so I could make sure I got all these facts right, she was preaching to crowds of four and five thousand people. When she died in ‘61, there were 45 congregations that she had started.
Aaron: That’s incredible.
Kim: Yes right but she’s not in our history. I think that makes her one of the most prolific church planters in the history of Pentecostalism. He said she’s holding the first mega meetings of 5,000 people in 1951. But if you just read that history and go and do the hard work of uncovering the the sources that are there and really thinking about what all that means, then you’re going to see Christianity and Pentecostalism in particular since that’s my research area I can talk about it, but you’re going to see it differently and I think that’s very important. And here’s a practical implication of that. First of all for the health of the church we have to do that. One way is one of the ways to think about the fact that women aren’t able to be fully participants in the work of the church is that it makes the church unhealthy. If half of your, and half is a generous estimation, half of your body is not flourishing then you’re very sick. And so one of the ways to think about this is for the health of the church and for these women created in the Image of God all of these stories have to be recovered through these ways of reading text, because here’s what happens to an individual woman. She doesn’t see herself anywhere in the church. She feels a call of God. She doesn’t hear another feminine voice preaching, teaching, and it’s like a child growing up that you have to have these mirror images to be able to really flourish. And when we are depriving women of that, much less what it’s doing to men and so it’s warping their understanding of humanity, but we’re actually making ourselves sick. So that gets then into sort of practical things that have to be done. We have to have more women’s voices, we have to have just I look at this all the time on Facebook. People put up these posters flyers on Facebook about church events and conferences and church planting meetings and revivals and I look and all of the pictures are men all the speakers are men, mostly white men, and and then there might be the token woman that’s going to sing or something or they’ll have a session for women to go to and so women can’t find themselves in their own church space. We have to start doing visible, physical things to bring this about. I think that we have to repent. I think we have to repent of the way we’ve treated persons of color in these white dominated churches obviously, but we also have to repent for the way women have been negated. Once that repentance and that realization that reckoning is done, then we can begin to really build. Unfortunately people don’t want to admit there’s been a problem. Obviously scholars there’s a lot of work scholars can do, but most of us in scholarship are also very involved in church ministry, and so we have to I have to do my work in a way that will translate it that can be translated to the church as well if I really want to see renewal of the churches. I really want to see what full salvation is, so I’ve done research on this empirical study that I did with James Bowers a number of years ago. It’s really his study but I helped to analyze it and one of the things that we found was that women who had a call to ministry for instance, often their pastor wouldn’t even pray with them about it. That’s how bad it is, much less do all of the other things that are so important and necessary so women find mentors and they end up being the best church planters because they don’t get appointed to churches, and so they just go you don’t have to. Yeah but church planting seminars almost never have women as the speakers yet they’re the ones who are doing most of the church planting. So they’re just these very practical things that can be done that really at the grassroots level and so that it’s not just something we ascribe to yes we believe in women in ministry, but we but show me that because our daughters are languishing or going elsewhere. If you’re not valued ,you go to a place where you’re valued. So we’ve been talking time.
Aaron: I love it. I think those are really helpful, especially kind of the visibility thing that we’ve really got to be more intentional on to help make change, because these things like we talked about, especially in church history, they have happened women have led and women have been foundational to the building of the church but it hasn’t been visible. I think until we make that like you were saying that kind of visible nature or like the visible reality of that we’re just gonna keep putting people quote unquote men are just going to keep putting women in their rightful place right? Of course I’m saying that very not true right like they’re they’re going to think that they’re putting women in the right place but they’re not in fact they’ve only hurt the church larger or more in a grander way. Kim it’s been so wonderful, even before this podcast we were chatting for a long time so it’s been great to catch up and to have you with the podcast. Thank you so much for being with us.
Kim: Oh I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it again this is something I love talking about, but I just want to say how much I appreciate you for opening up this space for this conversation because your listeners, men and women, need to be talking about this. They need to be thinking about this, and I can’t believe it but I’m an older scholar now and an older teacher. almost 61. I need to know that younger scholars are gonna and younger ministers are going to have a different road than I’ve had. I think that the work that you’re doing here can really bring about that kind of change, and that’s really what we need we need, a change, we need new imagination.
Aaron: I appreciate that and again, I appreciate you being here. Is there any way that any one of our listeners who may want to connect with you or your work, what would be the best way that they could actually do that?
Kim: Okay,let me just give you my gmail account which is kind of long, but it’s my full name firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to have any conversations and we could set up a phone call or zoom the pandemic’s favorite media do any of that. And I would love to be able to continue the conversation with anyone that’s that I could encourage or answer questions for or maybe you have stuff that that I don’t know about that I people some of these stories we need to uncover, I’m happy to hear about any of those and maybe some of you have even done work on that that would be great for me to hear.
Aaron: That’d be amazing yeah well again thanks so much for being with us and we hope to have another conversation with you soon.
Kim: Absolutely thanks so much Aaron.