As the country rages with racial tension, disease and death, how do Christian women respond in a godly way? How do women put theology into practice and lead others to do the same when worldwide brokenness is so deeply experienced?
These topics and many more were addressed at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s (SEBTS) women’s live stream event June 9, which was held in lieu of the annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting. Missie Branch, assistant dean of students to women at SEBTS, moderated the panel discussion with Karen Swallow Prior, Kristie Anyabwile and Julia Higgins.
Prior, who is joining The College at Southeastern faculty this fall as its first research professor of English and Christianity & Culture, believes God is using brokenness to awaken the world to the sin that already exists. The key to pressing on amid the pain is to ask the right questions about the current circumstances.
“God is revealing these horrible, painful truths to us, and He’s allowing us to see what has been there all along,” Prior said. “It’s difficult, but it’s also a great mercy. We are all left – myself included – with the decision every day: What do we do with what God is revealing to us now; do we see it, and how do we respond?”
Prior believes she has been called not only to teach, but also to create spaces for evangelicals to dialogue and discuss hard topics. Christians often become polarized on a variety of issues on social media. Whether in the classroom or on social media, Prior believes her calling is to help filter through misinformation and provide spaces for honest, helpful dialogue for both students and evangelicals collectively.
“What we actually see and live and experience can oftentimes get diluted by the projection that we see on the screens and on social media such that we can no longer distinguish fact from fiction and truth from distortion,” Prior said.
Even in the challenges 2020 has brought, Anyabwile discussed how she has seen triumph in the midst of adversity. Anyabwile, a speaker, pastor’s wife and editor of His Testimonies, My Heritage: Women of Color on the Word of God explained that the Lord has been helping her learn how to have redemptive conversations with those who hold different perspectives.
Likewise, Anyabwile discussed how she is continuing to minister to the women in her church during this time. The Lord is teaching her how to lead women to recognize God has given them a voice to unashamedly speak truth.
“Particularly women of color, and women in general have felt voiceless,” Anyabwile said, “so in the opportunities that the Lord gives me, part of what I’ve been trying to do as I lead and shepherd is model – inasmuch as the Lord gives me grace – truth, clarity and being unapologetic with the truth.”
Watch the discussion here.