When I was an undergraduate, I didn’t understand how much representation mattered. I’d heard people argue about it, but I thought the discussion was superfluous. I heard it discussed in church, but assumed it was just bickering.
Sure, it would be nice if there were more women in positions of influence, but that shouldn’t affect my path, should it? If I chose to do something in life, what did it matter who else had done it first?
And then it happened to me. Representation altered the course of my life.
It began with a trip to Generation of Youth for Christ with my cousins. I heard there many sermons that I didn’t resonate with, but there was one by a Bible worker about my age. She preached with a conviction that moved me to think that maybe I, a member of the Speech & Debate Club, should be using my speaking talents for the church. I came forward in an altar call, and started to consider classes in theology.
In college I watched Pastor Chris Oberg, the pastor at La Sierra University Church, through every sermon, noting her tone, her mannerisms, and her confidence before that large congregation. She had an impact on me: I wanted to be like her. I was pleased when she identified my potential and asked me to help her plan the Church at Noon student service.
Finally, there were theology professors such as Dr. Ginger Harwood and Dr. Kendra Haloviak-Valentine, who taught with proficiency, humor, and kindness, all while showing that the Holy Spirit was working in their own lives.
I had been surrounded by pastors and professors my whole life, most of whom were men; they’d brought me tremendous blessings. But watching these women move through the world showed me a path forward—a way that I, as a woman, could also move through that world.
Now I realize that none of us is an island. By “beholding, we become changed,” as Ellen White (echoing 2 Corinthians 3:18) wrote. I’m thankful for the privilege of being a witness to the lives of such intelligent and thoughtful women, as I am grateful to be part of the Adventist Today community of supportive and affirming people.
Thank you for your support of what we do as diverse members of the body of Christ—regardless of gender.
News Editor, Adventist Today
October 14, 2023
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