are looked upon as second-class citizens
around the world, then I need to use my
privilege on behalf of others. That can’t be
doing it in a dominant way, but in a way
that engages society and shows the value
of women when they are included in the
Church and in society at large.
If you look at nations in terms of where
there is the most difficulty and injustices,
the people who bear the brunt of that
injustice are women and children. That
speaks to the fact that sometimes in settings where women aren’t in leadership,
there is also an injustice in those communities in how women are viewed from
a cultural standpoint and how they are
treated. The Church does pick up on a
cultural environment other than the
I do think that men and women offer
different skills and leadership styles, but
it doesn’t predicate the fact that the
leadership style a woman can offer needs
to be expressed. I do appreciate the different views in the Church where leadership
of a woman in a congregation or a pulpit
is seen not to be appropriate. That is not
But it doesn’t negate the fact that
women need to be treated with respect in
that society and setting. There is a long
way to go in terms of the need for respect.
And not to utilize women as a commodity
and a convenience.
FT: A lot of your work centres on trying to stop
human trafficking. What do Canadians need
CM: I think Canada needs to be exploring
its own contribution to human trafficking. It’s not just sex, it’s labour and all
kinds of ways in which people can be
commercialized for the sake of profit.
It’s not about victims thousands of
miles away. If victims were not in any way
brought into a market where their personhood could be sold, we wouldn’t have
human trafficking. Without a market and
money to buy them, it just wouldn’t exist.
Sometimes we think of a poor person
or a child, or even a man being engaged
in labour trafficking, and we image them
as people far away, coming out of poor
settings. But we cannot imagine them in
our own nation, being utilized for labour
at cheap costs. But they are.
And of course, we also must consider the
whole world of social media and the Internet. We have these things at our fingertips.
No one has to move a mile away from home
to be utilized in an abhorrent way. We have
to acknowledge we are contributing to the
issue of trafficking. It’s a global industry
that works across boundaries.
MP Joy Smith ensured Canada was not
only protected, but that there are laws on
our books that allow human trafficking to
be viewed as a crime. These rings of trafficking are being challenged. We are seeing charges laid.
We need to not just deal with victims,
but to ask ourselves what do we purchase? How do we buy goods and services? Are we taking advantage of the human rights of others when we are meeting
our own needs?
FT: Christine, you have been on a journey with
cancer in the last year. Can you tell us what
that has been like for you?
CM: I have prided myself in some ways on
being healthy, energetic and able to keep
going. A number of months ago, I was
called into the doctor’s office. She had a
worrisome look on her face saying I needed to get more tests. Off we went and I
was diagnosed with cancer.
It comes as a shock to you as a person.
You are midstream in this life of serving
God and being involved in the WEA.
The thing that affected me as much was
how it affected other people. I felt badly.
I felt that in some ways I was becoming
an interruption in their lives.
I started all this treatment and realized
that in my own life there were so many
questions. When you are physically ill and
not even able to walk across the room,
one begins to ask what is really important
in life? Do I give myself the permission to
be sick? To step back into the quietness
and reflection of my own illness, and to
understand God in a whole new way?
That led me to why Jesus had to suffer,
and to understand suffering in a whole
new way for myself, and to understand
His suffering more.
I decided to call this “the cross of the
unexpected.” It’s been a new understanding of salvation, to understand God in the
very dark times of life when we think God
is not there. To understand that the human
community of friends just sits with you
and they become part of understanding
and knowing what you are going through.
That’s not every friend you’ve ever had.
It’s people who choose to walk alongside.
You don’t need many, but you need a few.
Included in that few were the hospital
community and other cancer patients. As
I sat in waiting rooms, they taught me in
their own humanity to be human.
Often we see Jesus as truly and properly God, but we also need to acknowledge
Him as truly and properly human. The
combination of my own deep plunge into
my own humanity saw an equally deeper
plunge into who God is, and that He
understands my humanity like I never
It’s been a time of not just exploring
cancer, but exploring Christine MacMillan in a wonderful way. I find reflection
refreshing. I have a deeper need for it and
to be involved with friendships in a way
that is real.
And to bring the Church to an understanding of His humanity. There is an
evangelical need to be self-determined
and out there in the world with this great
answer, rather than give the question of
our own life to others as the beginning of
a conversation about what it means to live
for the gospel.
F T: Thank you, Christine. /FT
THE FT INTERVIEW
I decided to call this ‘the cross of the unexpected.’
It’s been a new understanding of salvation, to
understand God in the very dark times of life
when we think God is not there.”