Several people have asked for the text of my report to the Executive Board of the BWA held this week in Falls Church, VA. So it is best to place it here (and make you familiar with this place. 🙂 – Just to put some minds at ease: there is a more traditional report given in writing which is part of the Report Book.
Report to the Executive of the BWA
Patsy Davis Retires
From among the many possible issues I could be reporting on behalf of the Women’s Department, let me revisit two: the retirement of our Executive Director, Patsy Davis
at the end of 2015 and the WD Emergency Meeting held in London last month. Let me use this opportunity to express my own and the WD’s appreciation for the 17 years of ministry that Patsy has given Baptist women of the world. I believe that she will be remembered for many great projects and leadership actions, not just for the women.
Why a Women’s Department in the BWA?
With regards to the London meeting, the Executive Board used the current situation to thoroughly revisit the purpose (the Why) of the WD. The “Why” is the question we often face and particularly when we want to bring people on board for the necessary change.
So this is the Board’s answer:
The WD exists because when Baptist Women come together in Christ, God creates Shalom for everyone.
This means that we affirm that the WD is a platform, a place of sorts, where this coming together of Baptist women is encouraged and enabled globally. In the world’s individualising culture that tears relationships, the coming together must be sought intentionally.
Biblically, the story behind our Why it is that of Romans 8. The passage claims that the whole creation yearns for the comprehensive and glorious revelation of God’s children, but that this resurrection power is already in the making through the gradual resurrection of our mortal bodies (Rom 8:11) in the midst of the “sufferings of the present time” (Rom 8:18).
Romans 8 is an affirmation that when Christians come together, good things happen for the world. We experience the amazing power of the Holy Spirit which by far exceeds the pure total sum of our individual potential. Even the current partial revelation of the children of God in their justice, servant heart, love, submission, long-suffering and the like changes many circumstances. But our hope and effort is for the full revelation of the children of God and God’s new creation.
In the WD we encourage women to come together – not to seek equality or fight for rights. Baptist women need to come together in Christ because, as is now clear even from the secular realm, every big global problem affecting all humankind starts with the marginalisation (and one can add, self-marginalisation) of women. Big problems, the UN presupposes, are solved where women are encouraged to gain back their power!
Theology of Salvation and Women
In the WD, we much rather work from a theology of salvation. Sin has robbed humans of their humanity through wanting to be “like god”. This means war among all those possible “gods”. Due to being the “weaker sex” because of even the potential of childbearing, women cannot compete in this game. Mostly they give in to male “gods.” Occasionally, they want to be like men, but more often they play the role of “goddesses” as they are held up and sexualized. At other times they like the role of the omnipotent divine “mother”. These roles are easily inverted to “bitches, whores and witches” but always downplayed to commodity that is sold and bought: human trafficking emerges right there in Genesis 3!
But when women come together in Christ, they show allegiance to the One true God, Creator and Saviour. He took upon himself the curse of our bodies – even of the feeble female bodies – so that women can live as free unto his glory! (With Christ we are not under the curse of Genesis 3!)
Having Christ as their Head helps women set necessary boundaries to themselves and also towards these self-imposed “gods.” Women who believe, know that their protection and strength is in God – even in the midst of all the pain and suffering they go through. In these circumstances and that faith they change from the powerless and scared victims to bringers of God’s Shalom, the exciting, vibrant and abundant life for the world.
So the best thing in this Why for the WD – when Baptist women come together in Christ, Shalom comes to everyone: the Baptists, the Christians, the world, to men and to the women.