I Am A Christian, I Am A Feminist

Feminist.

That sounds like a dirty word, doesn't it?

The way it rolls off the tongue with such vitriol, you would think it to be the worst insult.

And to mix it with Christianity, to some, is well nigh unthinkable. So I will explain.

The definition of feminism is basically that women are socially, politically, and economically equal to men. Naturally, I wouldn't walk the 1960's free love and and abortion-as-a-right party line, but as far as equality, I am for it. And why not?

When did Jesus ever say that women should not have a voice? A vote? Or that they should work, but just not be paid as much as men for it? And when did the job of the patriarchy become that women should be treated as grown children? It's silly. It's not biblical.

Under patriarchy a woman would not be paid a livable wage. You just cannot argue that paying women a fraction of what men make is benevolent patriarchy. Or that denying her the vote is either. And if you scoff at my mentioning of suffrage, I can tell you that is a fight we won not that long ago and that we won it by only one vote.

Just one.

And the wage wars, unfortunately, continue.

How is giving less to one side a Christian thing to do?

And to add to the nonsense, we impose things unto the roles of women which were never written in scripture. Girls are supposed to wear pink. Girls are supposed to be soft-spoken. And sweet. And bake. And disdain science. And math. And climbing trees. And be agreeable and nonthreatening to the boys.

I, for one, was raised in a throwback culture where there were many things it was assumed a woman could not do. I was told I could not be a musician because I was a girl. Or that if I was, it would be within the home and never in public. Today my songs have been played on the radio and I regularly perform in front of people. That was God's plan for my life. Not man's.

Traditionally there have been imposed onto the role of womanhood a silly and scary array of traits and contrived conditions which are artificial, at best, and strangling, at worst.This ridiculous notion that a woman has a preset, predetermined future as either this or either that is stifling. To all of us.

Why are we so threatened when a girl or a woman shows inherent potential?

When a woman is a Christian, she is a saved, blood-bought child of the King. That means that her destiny is prescribed by the Father. Being a mom or a Pastor's wife are not the only options for her. She may not marry and have children. But she might. She might need to take on work to help with the bills. She might not. She might head up a company. She might love to sew and bake. She might help with the children's ministry at church. She may not feel comfortable in the presence of children. She might decide to have 20 children and be a stay at home wife. Only God knows His plans for her.

She will be equipped with gifts, talents and a purpose, just as well as any man will be. She will required to use her talents for the King. Just like any man.

And in the church sometimes things get particularly silly.

We understand that the Bible says a woman is not to occupy the pulpit or to be a deacon. But why do we so often wring our hands when a woman would serve in any other capacity? Do we not see that women serve faithfully in the workforce in all kinds of assignments? Why then should it be nerve-wracking that they should serve in Kingdom work?

I've seen all kinds of contrivances against this kind of ministry and that kind, which all happen to be specifically recommended in Titus chapter 2. And I suggest we all read Proverbs 31 again. The woman was a businesswoman. And shrewd. Proverbs 31 makes it clear that decision-making and business operations are not to be feared when done at the hands of women. The Bible says that her husband trusts her and that he doesn't lack anything good. She does good to him all the days of her life. So where is the problem?

You see, there is this notion, in some circles, that if you are a Christian married man, that you will have it made. You will have a woman to serve you, clean up after you, do whatever you say and give you whatever you want. But we have neglected to read the full import of the text. The Bible says that men are to give themselves for their wives as Christ did for the church.

Ouch!

Jesus died for His church. And before He died, He girded Himself with a towel and washed the disciples feet. So much for lording it over another person. And in scripture, the one who is in charge is always the servant of the other.

Always. 

The king was the servant of the people. The mother is always serving her children. Losing sleep. Gaining weight. Giving up time, sacrificing careers and goals and dreams. For the benefit of another.  

Leadership doesn't mean sacrifice and service everywhere but in the husband-wife relationship. If you think it does, you're reading it wrong. Jesus even said that if you wanted to be great, you had to learn to be a servant.

See a pattern here?

I can tell you that we wouldn't argue over the topic of submission so much if we had a proper idea of servant-leadership.

Instead we come up with vague and insulting reasons why women ought to submit.

We're too emotional.

We can't handle decision-making.

Rubbish.

The Bible talks about the wife needing to submit, but also explicitly describes the kind of leadership she is submitting to. Godly leadership. Loving, caring, washing-her-with-the-water-of-the-word, kind of leadership.

As a Christian feminist, I believe that women ought to be cherished by men, just as Christ cherishes the church. That we would not be exploited in men's magazines or in pornography. That we be treated as people of value. That abortion and free sex would be seen as harmful to both sexes. And that we ought to respect what Jesus meant, when He said, 'thou shalt not kill'. 

And I think that if men are threatened by the equality of the sexes, that they would do well to reread the golden rule. I believe that most men would want for their daughters to follow the Spirit's leading in their lives and to become all that God would have them to become.

Beautiful things happen when a woman follows her calling. We needn't be afraid. We need just sit back and watch. 

 

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Comments

I think there's a lot of negativity surrounding the term "feminist" because of the extremist stance and platform associated with the feminist movement. But you've pointed out an important truth that God considers men and women of equal worth (though not the same). Many of Jesus' most significant encounters in the gospels were with women, and that's telling, especially considering the historical context. Thank you for sharing this with us at Grace & Truth!
I agree with your thought-provoking evaluation of Christian women in the culture today, but would resist attaching the label of feminist to it since in the world today, the word "feminist" has heavy baggage surrounding it. While I agree with the fact that women are equal before God in value, and worth (ie Christ died for both men and women and equally desires them to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth), the feminist movement doesn't celebrate all that it means to be feminine. It rather seeks to devalue men and erase the lines of gender and seek 'sameness', (as Elizabeth aptly commented) or even elevating women above men. It is more of an overt embracing of the curse on Eve in Gen. 3:16 rather than embracing the very valuable role women have been given by God. So yes, we should 'follow our calling' and not be afraid, but maybe not so quickly tack on the label of feminist. Thanks for your post!
The interaction of Jesus with women, who were considered equal with dogs more than with men in that culture, tells us so much about how God feels about women. The women in the early church were strong leaders. While I hate the negative and often man hating connotations associated with the word feminist, I agree with what you've written. What I don't like is when equal is associated with sameness, there is a wonderful uniqueness in being female as well as male. I love being a woman and don't want to be the same as a man. However, I agree with equality that means equally loved, valued and given the same opportunities.
 

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