I’m A Christian Feminist – Ie: Jesus Feminist

business-woman-shaking-handsWait. Wait. Wait. What?!

First, you’re a dude, dude.  Besides that, you’re a Christian (at least I thought you were).  Add to that…you’re a pastor!  Have you lost your feakin’ way!?

The most prevalent misconception is that a person cannot be a feminist and a Christian at the same time. Among [some] Christians, the logic is something like this: Feminists are liberal heathens, so if you identify as a feminist your salvation is in question since all “real” Christians are/should be conservative.

For a long time, I combined the following characteristics to those who wore the feminist name tag:

  1. Lesbian (at least lesbian tendencies)
  2. Often angry, bitter, and aggressive personalities
  3. Pro-Abortion
  4. Ant-marriage and motherhood
  5. Male Bashers
  6. Likely atheist

Generally speaking, I – at least passively – joined the camp that most, if not all, of our social ills could be blamed on “the feminists” and their aggressive godless policies.

Genuine Vintage Femanism

What I’ve come to realize is that the principles of “genuine vintage feminism” has been hijacked.  The heart of original feminism is very Christ-like.  Godly at it’s core.

Many women of history knew that the mistreatment and dehumanization of women was not–and never would be–part of God’s plan and purpose for womankind.  They were moved to act for justice in both big and small ways all throughout history.

Unfortunately, as too often happens with the true spirit of something, it begins in spiritual enlightenment and is then pursued with human agenda.  (Sounds like Paul speaking to the Galatians does it?  – Galatians 3:3)

Regrettably, the loudest voices and action advocates that brought feminism of age were secular humanists in ideals and beliefs.  The result was the religion of Secular Feminism.  I use the term “religion of” because secular faminism has a religious-like fervency and force that is on – in my opinion – a spirit level.  In other words, true principles of honor, dignity, and empowerment of women is disconnected from God as it’s One true source and attached to the anti-god flesh machine.

I didn’t question error

As secular feminism came of age – by default – the conservative church began it’s defensive anti-feminist posture.  Teachings and straw man arguments began to flourish.  Scripture examples were stated as Biblical proofs that ultimately took “Eve” from “Adam’s” side, silenced her, and put her under his foot.  Given enough decades of parroted teachings and attitudes, the result is more similar to something that could be labeled Christian Stepford Wives, than Christian women.  And, for a very long time….I didn’t question it.

Just one example:  I Corinthians 14:33-35.  Women keep silent in the church.  Instead of this being used as anti-feminist proof texting, Paul’s purpose (via inspiration of the Holy Spirit) needs to be discovered within the light of that culture and the specific situations he was correcting.  To apply this as a broad brush stroke of doctrinal dogma for all times and cultures regarding the value of women in the church is, to me, absurd.  I, now, believe that idea to be a gross abuse of authentic, intelligent understanding of the Holy Spirit’s counsel.

Guess What?

If you believe that women are to be highly honored with a unique God gifted role to play in society and the church… and, if you believe a respect for that must be rediscovered, then – technically – you are a feminist.

Some in the conservative church would say they have no problem with equality for women in the workplace.  Maybe they don’t [some, I’m sure, don’t].  The problem is the female role in the church.

I have these responses:

  1. Men (especially those considered leaders) need to seriously question and examine everything they’ve been told the scriptures say about the subject.
  2. We need to re-examine the ideas of functionality based on gender rather than gifting. I believe that one of the most seemingly benign ways some in the church rob individuals of their humanity is by reducing them to roles based on sex.
  3. Without a front and center honored presence of women in the church, we have an inferior product. We lose half of the personality of God in our experience and understanding of abundant life.
  4. The full flavor of both male and female qualities are needed or the end product is half baked.  I know I mixed the metaphors there…but you know what I mean.

“The Church must reclaim our historic place in the feminist movement, to become fierce champions for the dignity, rights, responsibilities, and glories of women again.” – Sarah Bessey

As a man, why do I call myself a feminist?

In 1848, a group of some 300 men and women met in Seneca Falls, NY to demand freedom and rights for women…This is where the official feminist movement began – with a small group of people trying to apply the same ideas about human freedom that pushed them to fight for the end of slavery to women. Nothing evil or scary, just a plea for basic dignity, freedom, and respect.

In closing for this particular post, let me state what Christian Feminism is NOT:

  1.  Christian feminism is not secular feminism, but it is derived from faith in Jesus who treated the marginalized with dignity, respect, and love.
  2. Christian feminism is not about hating men, but it is about upholding the dignity and worth of every human being — male and female — precisely because they are made in the image of God.
  3. Christian feminism does not think men and women are the same, but it does think that there are not the same differences between all men and all women.
  4. Christian feminism does not think women are superior to men, but it about empowering and amplifying the voices of those rendered voiceless, many of whom are women.
  5. Christian feminism is not just for women, but it is for women and men, all of whom are oppressed by patriarchy — a system of male domination and female subordination.

I suppose I could have made my headline say, “I’m A Supporter of Christian Feminism.”  But, for me, that would have been diluting my point and my personal reality.

I also believe that women need to have men championing the issue with them.  It’s not a woman’s issue.  It’s an issue of the Body of Christ re-discovering her God-given design, community significance, and influence.

As the church “gets it right,” (and we are beginning to do so), Feminism will have a Godly impact on our communities and world.

I’d love to have your input yay or nay.  Please do so in the comments.

Gary

  • Carlos N Beth Lizano

    Great article! I have turned my nose up at the feminist movement….but singled it out in an ignorant way! Love the comparison of secular vs. Christian femanism. Thanks for sharing!

  • Lawrence Fors

    Loved the article. Well worth reading and acting upon. A big part of the problem is that we create “ism” and “ist” labels, paint them all with a broad brush (caricaturize them), and then proceed to demonize them where they differ from us. Sad, very sad– couldn’t be any more UNLIKE Jesus.

  • Kay A Lessard James

    Neither male nor female, Greek nor Jew….. and I would go as far to say 100%female and %100 male….sort of like Jesus being 100% God and %100 man, can’t separate the two in Spirit nor the flesh…..love this Pastor Gary!…we’ve come a looooooooooong way baby!

  • PAB

    I appreciate what you said “Christian feminism is not secular feminism, but it is derived from faith
    in Jesus who treated the marginalized with dignity, respect, and love”. We need to all do that.

  • Patti Gentry Helzer

    Thank you for this article! As we study the ancient philosophers, their teachings, Jerome and many others we will begin to see how biblical texts were skewed, misinterpreted, and yes some had no regard or respect for women ~ it is not a gender issue it is a kingdom issue! Who ultimately does not want women to come into the fullness of who they are and their divine purpose ~ Satan! Thank you to all the men who stand up and give their voice for women to be treated with dignity, respect, honor and value!

  • Dan Haifley

    Great thoughts. I have been thinking about the fact that Billy Sunday was one of the champions of the women’s suffrage movement. Well presented article.