Coronavirus isn’t the only pandemic currently destroying human lives.
Although Covid-19 remains a deadly threat to human lives around the world and warrants a serious response from all of us, we cannot afford to allow this pandemic to turn our focus away from other sinister global forces that persist in actively destroying human lives on a staggering scale.
The brutal death of George Floyd again turned public attention to the pandemic of systemic racism—a history-old pandemic that hasn’t declined. Floyd’s desperate yet unheeded cry for mercy “I can’t breathe!” recharged the #BlackLivesMatter movement which large segments of the U.S. population still don’t understand, sparking nation-wide angry protests against police brutality.
The investigative reporting of NYTimes journalists into sexual abuse allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein triggered the #MeToo/#ChurchToo pandemic. The courage of a few prominent women who spoke out about the sexual abuse they’d suffered emboldened other women (men too) to speak up. The #MeToo hashtag created by Tarana Burke went viral, followed in short order by a tsunami of #ChurchToo tweets making visible a pandemic of sexual violence against women that continues to fester both outside and inside the church, even though for the moment other pandemics have eclipsed it.
After I gave a series of lectures in June on #MeToo/#ChurchToo for Professor Paul Metzger’s DMin cohort at Multnomah Seminary in Portland, Oregon, he pressed me for an additional interview to call the attention of a wider audience to the ongoing destructive #MeToo/#ChurchToo pandemic.
Dr. Paul Louis Metzger is the Founder and Director of The Institute for Cultural Engagement: New Wine, New Wineskins and Professor of Christian Theology and Theology of Culture at Multnomah University and Seminary. Paul is editor of New Wine’s journal Cultural Encounters: A Journal for the Theology of Culture.
He and I have collaborated on several projects—including co-teaching seminary classes at Missio Seminary in Philly and Multnomah Seminary in Portland, Oregon. I am blessed to call him my friend and to share our conversation with you.
Always so good to hear your reflections. I really like the notion of changing “authority” to “responsibility.” Regarding our church’s position on women in leadership, the elders made a point of saying “women can do anything except be an elder under the authority of the elders.” They had come a long way and I was a part of those meetings and reflections and was saddened that for them it needed to be announced in that way.
Cooky Avlakeotes Wall
Male “authority” is a big deal among church leaders, and when that gets combined with female submission, we’ve created an environment that is conducive to abuse. We’ve seen it happen too many times to deny it. Thank you for your comment Cooky!
I’m delighted to hear that Multnomah has a person on staff who is thinking through the women issues! When I graduated from there in 1976 we were required to take a homiletics class. Surprising the professors, classmates and myself, I found it to be exhilerating and a natural fit. My prof chuckled. Everyone knows women can’t be preachers. 🙂 Now, 44 years later — my life story …all I can say is, thank God for awareness and truth about women gifted in the Body of Christ! And I thank God that our daughters married men who support and encourage their gift use and development.
Paul Metzger is a true advocate. Thank God his tribe is growing. One of the biggest encouragements I’m seeing is a growing number of Christian men–outspoken pastors and leaders–who recognize their need for their sisters and who readily acknowledge they are better men because of their female colleagues and friends. Thank you for your comment!