More Women for ETS in Milwaukee

Sadly I won’t be at ETS/IBR/SBL this year due to medical advice to take a year off international travel.

But over at Cheese-Wearing Theology, Amanda MacInnis is encouraging women to attend ETS much as I did last year. She relates her own experiences of ETS attendance. She writes:

It was awesome!

So many scholars!

So many ideas!

So many books!

Joining in on the fray as well is Leslie Keeney at the Ruthless Monk, and she says that she is committed to ETS because:

The FIRST reason I am still committed to ETS is that I want to be in an organization that holds me accountable for what I believe. I also know myself well-enough to know that I need an organization that keeps me grounded in the Bible. Yes, I’m an egalitarian, but I’m a follower of Jesus first. The complementarian sitting across the table may not agree with me, but he shares my respect for Scripture and love for Jesus. And he keeps me on my toes.

The SECOND reason I think it’s critical for women to remain committed to ETS is the oft-repeated accusation that egalitarians don’t take the Bible seriously, allow society’s values to inform their interpretation, and just plain pick and choose what they want to believe. I’ve heard this same accusation about issues like predestination as well. And frankly, it’s insulting. Most egalitarians have spent long hours in study and prayer working througheverything the Bible has to say about the issue. (As, I’m sure, have most complementarians)

If and when the topic comes up in an environment like ETS (and believe me, I don’t go around the conference looking to engage in these types of conversations), the goal is not to change a person’s mind about the issue, but to demonstrate that egalitarianism is a viable, orthodox interpretation of Scripture. If egalitarians walk away from ETS, no one will be left to defend it as a respectable theological option.

The FINAL reason why it’s essential that women remain engaged with the ETS is that what happens within the ETS influences not only evangelical academics, but churches as well. The consequence of not maintaining a female presence in one of the most influential Christian organizations in the country may be having to watch as complementarianism becomes the default position for evangelicals everywhere. And while this is happening to some extent already, getting up and leaving the table altogether will make it inevitable.

I know things are tight for colleges and folks financially, but hey, that is why God gave us credit cards right. What is more, the Milwaukee economy is pretty depressed due to decreased beer sales, so all you female biblical studies professors and postgrad students have an economic and moral obligation to go to ETS this year in Milwaukee, to buy at least three beers (if you won’t drink them Dr. Preston Sprinkle will drink them for you), and save the Milwaukee economy, oh, and present a few good papers while you’re at it.

Note: Several years ago, in a cab in Philadelphia, the cab driver heard my accent, looked at me and asked if I was from Milwaukee. I asked, “What makes you think I’m from Milwaukee?” She said, “Well, you sound kinda funny and you look square and goofy!”

Square and goofy indeed!

  • http://www.theruthlessmonk.com/ Leslie Keeney

    Thanks for the shout out. I’m only sorry we won’t get to actually meet this year.

    You know, I would never have thought to tell people they have an economic obligation to go and buy beer, but that’s why you’re a PhD and published author and I’m just a lowly grad student.

  • http://twitter.com/inchristus Paul D. Adams

    Quite frankly Mike Bird…YOU CRACK ME UP! ‘-)
    Seriously, when at ETS in 2010, I was sadly surprised at so few females present. It looked like a man’s game at every turn. May the discussions continue in the spirit of this fine comment:
    “the goal is not to change a person’s mind about the issue, but to demonstrate that egalitarianism is a viable, orthodox interpretation of Scripture. If egalitarians walk away from ETS, no one will be left to defend it as a respectable theological option.”

    P.S. I’m a biblical egalitarian.

  • http://twitter.com/CWtheology Amanda Mac

    “I know things are tight for colleges and folks financially, but hey, that is why God gave us credit cards right.” Absolutely!

    Thanks Mike! It’s a shame we won’t have the chance to meet this year at conference.

  • http://twitter.com/JeremiahBailey Jeremiah Bailey

    Too bad membership is dependent on holding to inerrancy.

  • http://www.prestonsprinkle.com/ Preston

    Mike, two beers are my limit. And it depends on what kind of beer…


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