taking the words of Jesus seriously

I love seeing my name in headlines. I suppose that makes me well, decidedly human. I love being loved. I relish being included, mentioned, cited, and most of all, seeing me everywhere! But, really, is that what this is all about—is this becoming more like Jesus? Yet, it happens over and over again. Maybe I’m just now getting the point. Here is what I mean.

I had to smile this week, when a Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) staff member appeared in my office like the angel Gabriel announcing the good news. “Oh thou, blessed among women, you have been named on the Rachel Held Evans’s “101 Christian Women Speakers’ list.” My first thought was, “Well, that’s better than a PhD from England’s best, right?”

My second thought belonged perhaps to “my better self, ” as I remembered walking the cold windy streets of Philadelphia last winter, back and forth from my hotel to the lecture halls of a conference focused on justice. As one of the speakers, I was thankful to have a platform for CBE’s mission—to dismantle patriarchy as a biblical ideal. Yet, as I navigated the frosty streets of Philly, I was struck by an unbearable contrast between the techie cool of accomplished justice speakers and the dull and pedestrian manner of those working Philly’s inner-city churches. Beaten down by the arduous challenge of running small, barely sustainable nonprofits, these faithful giants of Christ were anything but cool. Yet, day after day these nameless, fameless leaders ran homeless shelters, food banks, immigrant offices, and children’s services, completely oblivious to the marketing machinery driving a conference on justice down the street—a conference where they may never speak, and where I treasured my moment in the sun. “Had they even heard of it?” I wondered.

Yet, their sandals I am not worthy to touch!

But, I suspect that heaven’s banquet will be filled with such guests, served by Christ himself who said, “When you did this to the least of them (even as no one noticed) you did it as to me.” “Enter and receive your reward, ” he will say. “Though you were nameless on earth, and while few celebrated your work, yet you were fiercely faithful. Enter my glory, for it is such as you that my kingdom awaits.”

How thankful I am for Rachel’s advocacy that promotes women speakers who are, too often, systematically excluded from Christian events. I thoroughly endorse and respect her goal. Yet, I also recognize the eternal and invisible power of the marginalized, like those I met in Philly, and like the women leaders we meet in Scripture who are also systematically overlooked.

Ignored though they are, they can—and should—be our truest mentors!

From these women we learn perseverance; from them we observe fierce initiative and boundless faith; because of them we discover Christ’s impartial welcome, love, omnipotence and justice. Their example helps us become truer to goals that are eternal. Of them the writer of Hebrews (possibly Priscilla) said: “Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith, ” (Hebrews 13:7). And, as Paul also said,

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

About The Author


Dr. Mimi Haddad is president of Christians for Biblical Equality. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary (Summa Cum Laude). She holds a PhD in historical theology from the University of Durham, England. Palmer Theological Seminary of Eastern University awarded Mimi an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity in 2013. Haddad is part of the leadership of Evangelicals for Justice. She is a founding member of the Evangelicals and Gender Study Group at the Evangelical Theological Society, and she served as the convener of the Issue Group 24 for the 2004 Lausanne III Committee for World Evangelization. She has written more than one hundred articles and blogs and has contributed to ten books, most recently Godly Woman - An Agent of Transformation published by the Evangelical Fellowship of India 2014 and The Fragrance of Christ published by the Evangelical Fellowship of India and the Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief 2011. She is an editor and a contributing author of Global Voices on Biblical Equality: Women and Men Serving Together in the Church. Haddad has contributed to Coming Together in the 21st Century: The Bible's Message in an Age of Diversity, edited by Curtiss Paul DeYoung. Haddad is an adjunct assistant professor at Fuller Theological Seminary (Houston), an adjunct assistant professor at Bethel University (Saint Paul, MN), and an adjunct professor at North Park Theological Seminary (Chicago). She serves as a gender consultant for World Vision and Beyond Borders. She and her husband, Dale, live in the Twin Cities.

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