Like many Americans, I grew up with free and encouraged access to the Bible and spiritual teachings. I attended Christian schools and a Christian university. VeggieTales songs were the soundtrack to my childhood and I knew who King Josiah was by age 9. My Bible Belt was what held my persona together. But it was Christian Feminism that showed me my faith was missing something.
My Journey To The Present
As a bit of a nerd, I enjoyed studying God’s word all my life. Yet it wasn’t until I identified as a Feminist that my knowledge of scripture (and therefore my understanding of God) began to take form.
For years, certain passages from the Bible hit my heart like a ton of bricks. I overlooked them in favor of the traditional narratives. I knew that Josiah was a great king of Judah, but had never heard of this woman named Huldah. Jephthah’s daughter, Lot’s daughters, Mary Magdalene, all of their names and stories haunted my heart as looming and unanswered questions.
Where Was God?
Those chapters went unmentioned in church, and no one gave me a real answer. Didn’t God care about rape? What about about murder? Did God see daughters as property? A sacrifice in exchange for the lives of strangers?
I remember the dread I felt when a friend told me she couldn’t be a Christian, because the Bible said such horrible things about women. Woefully unprepared to answer that question, I could only assure her of God’s love, just as I assured myself. But the yearning for a deeper answer swirled beneath my surface.
As I learned more about Feminism and Christian Feminism specifically, I underwent a complete change in worldview, trust, and relationship with Christ. Many say that Christian Feminism means reading the Bible to support “worldly” ideals, putting culture over Christ-likeness. If you think that, or others accuse you of the same, then I write for you.
My Worldview Changed
There are two ways to read the Bible
- Looking for God’s truth
- Looking for your truth
If the goal was to ignore God’s truth and find justification, wouldn’t a Christian Feminist skip over the parts of the Bible that seem to deny women authority? At least they would denounce their importance. They would ignore Paul’s letter to Timothy. They would overlook the difficult stories of rape, incest, and submission. Those single verses that support their ideals would become the only right answer. There would be blindness and contradictions to God’s spirit running rampant. For me, it was the exact opposite.
After growing up with a male centered narrative and seeing the stories of women in the Bible actively reduced, discovering an inclusive approach was a breathe of fresh air. After hearing the “women should remain silent” verse used as a command, ignoring the women in the Bible who were anything but silent, I was at last free to know more.
Christian Feminism Matters
A Christian Feminist tackles the verses you won’t hear from most pulpits. They unpack the depth of long forgotten stories with the reverence of an archeologist discovering a fragile and forgotten relic. The patriarchal silencing of the original design for women was and remains dangerous. Once I realized all that I had missed, I freed myself from its grasp.
The mission of Christian Feminism is not to overthrow male leadership, but to grow the church, use God-given talents, and live in freedom. Click To Tweet
“It is Christ himself, and not the Bible, who is the true word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to Him. We must not use the Bible as a sort of encyclopedia out of out of which texts can be taken for use as weapons.”
– C. S. Lewis
Who I Trusted Changed
Welcoming female teachers was an adjustment after a lifetime of male leadership. I already knew many prominent Christian women, yet their work existed in the shadow of men. It took meeting a female pastor for the first time to jog me out of this stupor.
Slowly I realized I had missed out. By seeing the leadership and pastoral guidance of women as invalid, I was denying the insight of half the church! Changing this approach within myself was not easy. I still feel my eyebrows rise when I meet a female pastor (Update in 2017: eyebrows have calmed down). But instead of letting my surprise turn to indifference, I now have the wisdom to learn from the ones God uses to build his kingdom; regardless of gender.
My Personal Relationship With Christ Changed
After becoming a Christian Feminist, the doubts that had lingered in my mind were exposed and I dealt with them head on. God’s truth broke into my cloistered mind and began to renew. Instead of shrinking from the scary I sought answers. When we stop forcing God into our cultural blinders, we encounter him in authentic ways. Click To Tweet
Unfettered by half-truths, I discovered my role as a Christian woman looked different from the one I had been given in Sunday school. Of course, I had been aware of God’s love for me. Feminism showed me that I was valued in equal measure with male believers. I was no longer a delicate, white rose in danger of becoming soiled and plucked. I became an image bearer designed to do kingdom work. The stained glass windows around me cracked and I saw true color for the first time.
Why Christian + Feminism?
We can debate Complementarianism versus Egalitarianism until our keyboards wear thin, but ultimately Christians must look at the example of Christ and compare it with our lives. He teaches freedom, that we are called to spread his word, and that we are called to love others. He gave us freewill to choose to follow him because he values us as individuals.
The beliefs of Feminism coincide elegantly with Christianity. A Christ-follower already believes God created women in his image. The patriarchal and cultural deviation that shaped the modern church causes me to add the word Feminism to my Christianity. I will continue as a Christian Feminist until the belief that women and men are created equally is seen as a fundamental Christian belief.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then and do not let yourself be burdened again by the yolk of slavery.” Galatians 5:1