Exploring the underlying theme of the liberation of women in this year’s Great Commission Congress
By Cassie Gerhardstein
Senior Features Writer
“In a western sense, women’s oppression looks like them feeling insecure and unreleased internally,” said Danielle Strickland, one half of the dynamic speaking duo who spoke at this year’s Great Commission Congress. “In the other parts of the world, women are oppressed externally, their conditions are enslaving. They’re literally oppressed by the law and systems of governance and education.”
Though Salvation Army Majors Danielle Strickland and Stephen Court brought refreshing insight to this year’s Great Commission Congress by speaking on salvation and our roles in society, their underlying dialogue on the liberation of women in society was perhaps the most powerful point made throughout the week.
Society tends to define feminism by reacting to inequality; Strickland’s view of feminism is much more about responding to gender inequality as opposed to reacting to it. For example,
Strickland believes that the idea of women’s rights as it applies to abortion and prostitution is women’s way of reacting and counter-acting the long history of gender inequality throughout the world by “being in control” of their own bodies. However, they aren’t responding to the root of the problem; they are simply reacting to society’s stereotypes.
In order to make a difference in the lives of women through mutually exclusive freedom,
Strickland is doing several things. She wrote a book called “The Liberating Truth: How Jesus Empowers Women,” which is meant to empower women in the church and other leadership positions.
Also, she is an active member of an outreach that evangelizes to prostitutes and other girls in the sex industry though the invasion of brothels and outpouring of love expressed by providing food and blankets to girls on the street.
Strickland’s advice for men, women and Asbury University regarding gender inequality is to be intentional. For women, that means being intentional about not letting society rule your perception of your self-worth and inner beauty. For men, it means everything from not buying into the world’s highly sexualized culture to picking the right person to marry. As a university, good theology and being intentional about each action is crucial.
Strickland even emphasizes the importance of decisions that often go unnoticed. For example, by putting Asbury’s name on a t-shirt, that t-shirt automatically represents Christianity.
Therefore, if the t-shirts in Asbury’s bookstore are made my adolescent girls working in a sweatshop in a third world country, the t-shirt is destroying the empowerment of women, and as a result, destroying Christianity as well.
Strickland’s passion for women stems from the fact that over 60 percent of the world is female.
If we are serious about winning the whole world for Jesus, we have to reach and empower women in the U.S. and beyond.
“If we aren’t releasing the majority of our army [women from slavery], we aren’t a very effective force,” Strickland said.