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Opinion | Discipleship

Why White-Centered Discipleship Hurts Us All

A vision for bringing racial equity to the spiritual training of women.
Why White-Centered Discipleship Hurts Us All
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In the last five weeks, our #AmplifyWomen series has addressed ecclesial accountability, mentorship, platform, hospitable orthodoxy, and male support for women’s discipleship. This week, Helen Lee explores the deep need for diversity in discipleship.

For my 14-year-old son, the word needle used to evoke feelings of pain. But last Saturday, he woke up with a strained neck that no amount of massaging or ibuprofen could improve. His grandparents convinced him to see an acupuncturist, and only out of sheer desperation—because he had a piano performance later that evening—did he agree. Two hours after the appointment, he walked out of Dr. Qi’s office praising the power of acupuncture, his image of needles forever transformed from instruments of pain to those of healing. Just as acupuncture is all about unblocking and rebalancing energy flow in our bodies, my Korean in-laws’ perspective removed the mental barriers of my third-generation, American-born son.

Similarly, we in the church don’t always pursue that which could truly be healing and transformational because we don’t know what is standing in our way. When it comes to women’s discipleship, we tend to default to the old ways of training and teaching women in the church. But a growing number of women—particularly those of color—see barriers and imbalances in our discipleship, especially regarding issues of race, culture, and reconciliation.

“We cannot wholeheartedly ...

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