It was amazing.
A couple of reflections on the experience:
First, it’s indeed a vast topic. Right off the bat, I warned the students that this was the stuff of seminary courses and that I’d be moving fast during the talk. I hit everything from Genesis to Psalms to the Gospels to about 8 texts from Paul. I was flying. Even so, the 40ish minutes that I was given morphed into–wait for it–65 minutes. I think it was the longest talk I’ve ever given!
Next, they were with me the entire time. Good eye contact, nodding heads, laughing at the right times, etc. What this tells me is that there is a thirst for teaching on this topic. Is it possible that our churches are shirking responsibility by not teaching on these things? I think so.
Third, my burden for teaching and training on these topics continues to grow. After the talk, I told one of my staff that I’d teach it again tomorrow night. To be clear, I’ll be glad for a night off tonight; still, I’m growing into a new phase of call to teach, train and lead on these things. Of course the graduate program is a part of that, as is this blog. It is a joy to sense God’s profound work in my soul.
Fourth, my convictions about the Bible’s message of gender equality continue to solidify, clarify and find a greater purchase in my understanding. I always try to preach and teach from a place of conviction, but sometimes conviction is more available than others. Last night conviction was a potent presence in my teaching. I am convinced that the Bible’s message is one of freedom for women, and that God’s desire is for men and women to together carry the good news into mission with a posture marked by equality, mutuality, interdependence and dynamic partnership.
Many have asked for my notes from last night. I think I’m going to clean them up a bit and then send them. And/or I might chop the talk up and feature it as a series of posts here on Challenging Tertullian.
For now, I’ll leave you with Paul’s words to the Galatian church in 3:26-29:
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.
There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.
Praise God for the cross, which burns through the divisions of race, class and gender.
Happy Easter everyone!