Monday, May 25, 2015

Jesus Feminist

I've read about 4 books in the past 2 weeks, one of them was called Jesus Feminist.

In college, I took a history of women and gender studies class and I hated it. Nearly every person in that class were those who would truly embrace the word feminist and I didn't want to be that. I'm not sure how long the reclaiming of the word has been (I really hated that class) but over these past few years I've been noticing a shift in a lot of words and reclaiming of them. And I've since realized that actually, I am a feminist.

Not in the way that my classmates were in college, but in the way of believing that women are people and women are worthy. Just as worthy as men. And to be honest, I'm not even sure if I've totally believed that my whole life and just didn't put a name to it. I have had a lot of questions regarding the Church and women, I just didn't know what my questions were. And I didn't know how to ask or who to ask.

A lot of this "blog" is me processing through my questions. Because I have so many and so much of my life was to not ask questions. If you have questions, you're stupid. I don't know where I got that from, because my parents are awesome and I had pretty solid schooling, but somehow that statement was ingrained into me. And as such, I didn't ask a lot of questions, K-12. I sat in class, or sat in church, took notes, and tried to figure things out on my own.

Anyways, back to questions regarding womanhood, feminism, and Christ. And I saw this book in two bookstores and decided to buy it.  (That links to Amazon.) I didn't know how to correlate my passions for education and career and work with the Church and ministry. I didn't know how to be a woman wholly in love with Jesus. I didn't think I was allowed to be a warrior, in any sense of the word. I didn't know how to say,

I'm a woman and that's beautiful and my Jesus loves me and I can be part of His mission. 

Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist, makes the statement,"patriarchy is not God's dream for humanity" (p. 14) and that resonated with me a lot. Because, doesn't it feel like that's what the Church says sometimes? 

After years of reading the Gospels and the full canon of Scriptures, here is, very simply, what I learned about Jesus and the ladies: he loves us. He loves us. On our own terms. He treats us equals to the  men around him; he listens; he does not belittle; he honors us; he challenges us; he teaches us; he includes--calls us beloved...Jesus loves us...In a time when women were almost silent or invisible in literature, Scripture affirms and celebrates women. (p.16-17)

There is so much more, each chapter is strong and pieces of it resonated with me. And I may continue to process here. There were discussion questions at the end too. Overall, I loved that it was a book that said, hey there are different points of view and that's awesome. It wasn't a book that said this is how it is, but rather a book that said, hey, here's what I'm getting. What do you think? Let's wrestle together. 

Another part I loved was this (I hope I'm not breaking copyright laws!):

Stay there in the questions, in the doubts, in the wonderings and loneliness, the tension of living in the Now and the Not Yet of the Kingdom of God, your wounds and hurts and aches, until you are satisfied that Abba is there too. You will not find your answers by ignoring the cry of your heart or by living a life of intellectual or spiritual dishonesty. Your fear will try to hold you back, your tension will increase, the pain will become intense, and it will be tempting to keep clinging tight to the old life; the cycle is true. So be gentle with yourself. Be gentle when you first release. Talk to people you trust. Pray. Lean into the pain. Stay there. And the release will come. 

I know you have questions, and they're much bigger than the whole church-women-feminism-equality issues. I know. Me, too. Still. So I'll carry you in my heart. Stay as long as you'd like; I'm in no rush. Hurry wounds a questioning soul.

--pg 52. 

I have more to write, more to process, more to share. I was able to gain some good insight from the book, not because it gave specific answers, but because of what was on page 52. Particularly the parts bolded and underlined. Bessey reminds us to ask the questions and wrestle with them. And overall, what I started realizing as I was reading is what's up above in pink. 

To be a woman isn't to be lesser than. I can work alongside my brothers and I am just as loved and just as valued. 

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