At some point in my life I became a feminist. This word is has so many connotations and meanings, some good and some bad. I would like to respond to some of the topics that have come up since planting myself in this camp in the context of the Church. So here are my answers to the frequently asked questions:
If you’re a feminist, what about abortion?
Well, this is an easy one. God creates life, and only God should take life. But let’s not stop there; as a follower of Jesus I am pro-life not just anti-abortion. I do not believe in the death penalty (our legal system is too corrupt for that), I think we need more restrictions on how to buy guns, and I think that my pro-life stance means I must give my time and money to to kids and teens in high risk communities. So, yeah, I think abortion is wrong, but I also believe that to be pro-life you need a comprehensive view of life as a whole.
And to be honest with you, when I talk with pro-choice men and women about this topic—it comes up once they learn I love Jesus—they really respect the consistency of this approach. It has broken down walls before they’ve gotten very high.
So, you think men are less?
What is this, 1962? Feminism does not mean men are inferior, it means we are equal. I do not need to emasculate a man in order to be at the same level, nor does a man need to belittle a woman in order to show strength. We, followers of Jesus, need to treat each other with the respect and dignity the Image of God brings to all people. Gender should never be a reason to treat someone as less.
Is this why you are single?
No. And no joke, someone asked me this. I know many feminists who are married, and when I marry, he will be a feminist also. I like who I am and who God is growing me to be.
Does this mean you don’t need men?
It is questions like this that slay me! This does not mean I do not need a man—I need my dad all the time! I need other men in my life with unique skill sets to help me out. Just last week I called my friend Andy because there was a sketchy car parked outside my house for the second Tuesday in row, same car, same man. Andy check on it for me (all was good, it was an unmarked cop car). But I did not think it was smart for me to walk up to the odd car and see what was up.
In the same vein, men need women. Not to bake, clean, or bear children, but to be friends with and build God-honoring relationships with, so there are examples of platonic friendships within the church. We need each other, period.
What about the Bible?
This is one of my favorites, because for real? I cannot read the Bible without encountering Jesus, the ultimate feminist. He stood up the rights of women, He affirmed dignity, He made room for them, and He loved them so much He redeemed them.
I look at Old Testament women like Jael, Deborah, Rahab, Hagar (a single mom), Huldah and Hannah: they were women of strength, obedience and submission to God not always man (ok, sometimes submission to man and God, lol). I think God did not create women as subpar humans; he made us as Ezer, and that is so much more than a “helpmate.” “‘Ezer is not a term of subordination or inferiority; most of the time in the Old Testament it refers to God who is Israel’s helper. The forming of the woman from the man’s side indicates the unity and equality God intended for all human beings, male and female.”
If I wanted to really make a point about gender and the Bible, I would point out all the times men failed verses the times that women came through in the clutch. If we are going to use the entirety of the Bible as our barometer for feminism, then let’s really look at it, with openness and fresh eyes, let’s see how Jesus approaches women, let’s look at the cultural context of the writing and let’s look at our own cultural biases.
I am a feminist
My identity is not in being a feminist, it is in Jesus. And in the end, Jesus is my favorite feminist.