Unless you have been hiding under a rock, by know you must have heard about the controversy surrounding the infamous John MacArthur and his “Go Home” comment when asked about Beth Moore at a conference a few months ago. Everyone understood his “go home” comment as a “lady shut up and close the door behind you, we don’t want to hear from you again.”
Social media was all the buzz from women clergy and the men who support them responding in marvelous ways and emphatically stating to all who would read their words, “not going home.” While I do not want to waste any more words on a man that obviously is living in what Richard Rohr would say is, “his false self,” I do want to say thank you. Especially as we head into Thanksgiving week when we take a little more time to reflect. Thank you John MacArthur for accidentally giving called women of God more boldness to dig their heels in and say, we are not going anywhere and you haven’t heard the last from us yet. But more importantly, thank you for reminding me to be grateful for the women who came before me who did not go home but instead built a hall of faith similar to Hebrews 11:31-34 for the generations of women who would also accept their call to teach and preach the Word of God and learn from their example.
Women have always been making incredible sacrifices to spread the gospel and I would like to highlight a few of them here. I am thankful Jarena Lee did not go home. Jarena Lee was a 19th century African American woman who was the first woman authorized to preach by Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1819. Eight years after Lee heard God calling her to preach, she was finally able to convince her pastor to let her behind the pulpit. She beseeched him, "If the man may preach, because the Savior died for him, why not the woman, seeing he died for her also? Is he not a whole Savior, instead of half of one?"
I am thankful that Phoebe Palmer did not go home. Palmer became one of the most influential women in the fastest-growing religious group in America at the time. She began to organize and preach at camp meetings, where approximately 25,000 people converted to Christianity. She was instrumental with the founding of the Church of the Nazerene.
I am thankful that Susie Villa Valdez did not go home. After her conversion in 1906 at the Azuza Street revival she left her job to become a singing evangelist. Rev. Susie was an early Assembly of God Pentecostal preacher who reached out to prostitutes and others who lived on skid row in Los Angeles with the love of God.
I am thankful that Rosa De Lopez did not go home. She ministered with her preacher husband, Abundio at the Azusa Street revival but also in open-air areas preaching the good news to all who would hear.
I am thankful that Emma Osterberg did not go home. Emma was a Swedish immigrant who was at the Azuza Street revival. She preached the Word of God to migrant farm laborers in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in California.
I am thankful that the Ana Villafane and Leoncia Rosado aka “Mama Leo” (pictured below) did not go home. Both of these women started programs to help those who were addicted to alcohol or drugs find a way out of that life and find a path to Jesus.
I am thankful Austin Channing Brown did not go home. She’s a writer and speaker and wrote a book about her experience as a black woman in white evangelical spaces. Her voice is one of the most influential ones in this generation. Her book is titled, I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made For Whiteness.
I am thankful that Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil did not go home. As an Author, Pastor and social justice advocate, her writing and her preachings have stirred thousands to embrace the full gospel and work toward racial reconciliation.
I am thankful that Lisa Sharon Harper did not go home. As an author and speaker, her words have peeled the paint off walls and called people to repentance. Her call to shalom restoration and helping people understand that the gospel has to be good for everyone or it’s not good for anyone is challenging many to take a look at some of their messed up embedded theology.
I am thankful that many of my preaching, teaching, serving and giving sisters have not gone home. Their voice is needed now more than ever to help usher in not only a grand revival to the land in the true way of Jesus but also to give women of all ages the courage to stand up and use their voice for the common good.
As we get closer to saying goodbye to 2019, start planning to support the work of women in ministry by purchasing their books, sharing their posts, exposing others to their work. We are living in a time many of us expected many isms would be behind us. Since we are not, what you do every day to support women and in this case, women of color, helps them keep doing what they do when so many others are telling them to go home and be quiet.
Today, as an act of kindness, encourage a women of color who has been using her gift and has impacted you in some way. They need to know that many people they do not even know never want them to listen to the voices that tell them to "go home" or "be quiet".