When Will We Be “Real”? When Will We Be Free? -- By: Kari Torjesen Malcolm

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 31:4 (Autumn 2017)
Article: When Will We Be “Real”? When Will We Be Free?
Author: Kari Torjesen Malcolm


When Will We Be “Real”? When Will We Be Free?

Kari Torjesen Malcolm

Winter 1987

Kari Torjesen was born in China in 1925, the daughter of Norwegian missionaries, Peter and Valborg Torjesen. Having earned a BA from Wheaton College and an MA in English literature from the University of Minnesota, she taught at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and at the National Taiwan University in Taipei. Kari married Bob Malcolm in 1954. From 1959-1974, they were missionaries in the Philippines. She published three books, including Women at the Crossroads (InterVarsity, 1982). She was a founding member of CBE International. Kari passed to the presence of the Lord on October 2, 2014.

For years I’ve loved the story about the Velveteen Rabbit who was preoccupied with her identity—whether she was real or not! Sitting among the toys in a child’s room, she asks the skin horse about it, and gets the profound reply, “You are real when you are loved. When I was cuddled so much that I began to lose my skin, then I knew that I was real.”

As women, many of us have found out how wonderful it is to be loved by our families. We agree with the skin horse that we are real when we are loved. But then we venture out beyond the shelter of our home and loved ones, and go to the edge of the woods—into the male world—and we discover that we are not taken seriously.

“But she’s not real. She’s not like us,” the rabbits in the woods shout. In the world of the Velveteen Rabbit, the Fairy Godmother comes on the scene and makes everything right, so that she gets the same hind legs as all the other rabbits in the woods. But in our male-dominated evangelical world, how can we grow the “hind legs” that will give us status as real disciples of Jesus Christ, ready to lay down our lives for the Kingdom?

Instead of a Fairy Godmother to right the wrong, we have the Gospel: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is the saving power of God . . . because here is revealed God’s way of righting wrong . . .” (Rom 1:16 NEB). Because we are created in God’s image, redeemed by Christ on the Cross, and empowered by the Holy Spirit with all the gifts given to the church, we are real disciples, in partnership with our brothers.

There is no limited atonement for women, even though one popular radio pastor preaches one Gospel for men and another for women. We will always bear the sin of Eve, according to his teaching. Paul was prepared for such heresy when he wrote: “I am astonished to find you turning so quickly away from him who called you by grace, and following a different gospel. . . . there are persons who unsettle your minds by trying to distort the gospel of Christ. But if anyone, if we ourselves or an...

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