Speak Up!

This was originally posted on the Commission on Biblical Gender Equality, a blog of the Evangelical Covenant Church. You can read it here.

Advent has seemed darker than usual this year. There have been a series of horrific events, instilling fear and robbing us of peace. Simultaneously, the political climate is increasingly hostile, and disciples of Jesus are divided and suspicious of one another. This is a time when God’s children need to come together, bringing good news into a dark and desperate world. Instead, we are bickering with one another across the aisle.

It is important to remember at such a critical moment that God is at work. God is doing something right where we are. The land we are standing on is fertile. A promise has been planted, and new life is springing up right where we are. God’s plan is not for desecration and destruction, but for restoration and resurrection.

For far too long the narrative of our faith has been told by white men of power. Patriarchy has controlled the message and it’s delivery, leaving only a select few eligible to teach and lead and proclaim. We have this beautiful, transformative message about God putting on flesh to live among us, to bring good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners, sight for the blind, and freedom for the oppressed. God is working to put all things right, to make all things new, and God invites us to be instruments of redemption in the world.

This good news is for the least, the marginalized, the voices that have been silenced throughout human history. And yet, too often there have been restrictions on who is allowed to communicate this message. I was recently denied the privilege of proclaiming the good news at an ecumenical gathering because of my gender. Members of my congregation have been told that our church is “loose on theology” because they have a female pastor. We don’t have time for this behavior, we have work to do and we’ve got to learn to work together. Now more than ever, people need to hear and see and experience the good news that we have to share. 

The world needs to hear a unified vision of hope from the people who know the restorative nature of God. In Advent we are reminded that we are not waiting for something that we’ve wished for to come true. Wishes are nothing more than desires disconnected from a promise. The characters surrounding the birth narrative of Jesus are filled with hope. They were given a promise that they were waiting for. We too have been given a promise that we are waiting for God to fulfill. 

This is absolutely the moment that the world needs to hear about God’s promise. People are afraid, people are grieving, people are living in utter darkness, and we have a story about hope and life and light. The voices that are controlling the narrative are telling us to be afraid, that darkness is triumphant and evil powerful. We need to hear vibrant and unified voice proclaiming the good news. We cannot continue to relegate the voices of women to the background. We need every single voice we have telling an alternative narrative. Every single voice is important in sharing this story with our troubled world. The world is desperate for a better story, and we’ve got just the one to share!