In the same way that slavery was a moral challenge for the 19th c. & totalitarianism was a challenge for the 20th c., the challenge that women & girls face around the world is the moral challenge of our time.

~ Sheryl WuDunn & Nicholas Kristof

Monday, April 8, 2013

Anger Management... by Gustavo Karakey

Gustavo is a professor of New Testament at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia, in Medellin, Colombia.  He has taught Bible courses in a Bible Institute in Asuncion, Paraguay and masters level Bible Courses for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in the Dominican Republic and Peru.  He has a Masters of Divinity (MDiv) and a Masters in Theology (ThM) with a focus in New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is currently working on his doctorate in New Testament from the London School of Theology.  He is a Hispanic-American born in Mexico, raised in San Diego, lived in Boston for many years, Paraguay and now Colombia where he lives with his wife and three children.

I am an angry man!

I wasn’t always like this.  When I first came to faith through a Charismatic church, I didn’t even know that the evangelical world had a gender problem. How could I? Our church had pastors, teachers and prophets of both genders. 

My seminary days brought me face to face with theological diversity on the gender issue.  In actuality, I discovered during this time that there wasn’t much Christians could agree upon, but I accepted this diversity on gender as a normal part of Christianity.  We should major on the majors, right? 

And then a few years back, it all changed for me during a short CBE conference in Minnesota.  The cumulative impact of hearing the damaging historical, theological and sociological effects of this issue for women was just too much to bear.  That it was being facilitated and perpetuated by the church I dearly loved, well, I quickly reached a boiling point!  The concept of agreeing to disagree, well it just didn't cut it anymore.

To be honest, I began to look for ways to confront people (mostly men) on this gender issue.  And to my great dismay, I even found myself having a difficult time respecting or loving people who held to a view of gender in the church that was anything but fully egalitarian. 

Part of my frustration also stemmed with how non-egalitarian views were actually practiced in the real world.  Forget about the ideals!  How could we do this to our dear sisters?  

Even if we conceded that every controversial passage should be interpreted in a complementarian way, the impact on women of this view (separate but equal roles) was simply too devastating to ignore.  No matter how carefully one tried to practice it, there were far too many casual, abusive and erring listeners to make this doctrine anything but a woman’s worst nightmare.

I teach in a major seminary here in Medellín, Colombia.  Our students come from different denominational backgrounds, some of which are egalitarian, some of which are not.  In addition, it hurts me to say because I want to be sensitive to my host country, but the fact remains that a hierarchical and authoritarian style of leadership predominates in many churches in Latin America.  

These models appeal more to the examples of Old Testament single-rule leaders such as priests, military leaders, kings and prophets than they do with Jesus' models of the servant, the ancient shepherd and being the least.  Thus, it is difficult to get the gender issue right at the personal level when it is so upside down at the ecclesiastical level.

Still there is much hope.  I have made it my goal to deal with this issue constructively, respectfully and in a theologically persuasive way with the students I have the privilege to teach.  In my leadership classes we are looking at well known but lesser practiced models of church and leadership such as the body, the servant and the shepherd and working out the implications of mutual submission and service under these contexts. 

It is what keeps me sane these days regarding gender and what keeps my temper in check on this most critical of issues facing the church in the 21st century.

1 comment:

  1. Everyone gets wrapped up in anger from time to time, but if anger is controlling your life, it may be time to reach out to a professional.
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