I’ve never heard a pastor talk positively about the feminist movement.
But when I read my Bible and see verses where Jesus tells Martha to get out of the kitchen and sit at his feet like a disciple, and when I see verses where Paul tells men in an oppressively patriarchal society to love, serve, and sacrifice for the “property” known as their wives, I can’t deny it…
Jesus is all for setting women free.
Jesus is all about overthrowing society’s power structures.
I don’t believe I should even have to join the feminist movement.
I should just be able to go to church and feel empowered and freed by Christ.
But, actually the opposite is true.
I go to church and feel weak and small. Feel limited and “less than.”
I hear that I’m “equal but different.” And I am reminded of a quote from the book Animal Farm.
“All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.”
The church I grew up in glorified the stereotypical 1950s family model. Father knows best. Mother vacuums in pearls and has dinner ready when Father gets home (I actually sat through a Sunday school lesson in 7th grade in which the teacher told me that if I didn’t do this when I grew up and got married that my husband would cheat on me and it would be my fault. Awful).
But even the more progressive churches I’ve been to seem hesitant to grant women “full human” status. They let women work outside of the home, but they still don’t want to let go of the false gender roles that have limited women for centuries.
Society has a long way to go when it comes to treating women as equals, but I feel like it’s decades ahead of the average church. I don’t feel like property in society. I don’t feel like a lesser being in society. I may have to work harder than a man in order to be taken seriously, but at least I feel like I have a chance at succeeding.
Society has evolved (and is still evolving) when it comes to equality among the sexes. But churches remain a few steps behind.
Well, we don’t want to look too much like “the world.” We’re supposed to be different. We’re supposed to come out from among them and be separate. We’re supposed to be a peculiar people.
But we’re getting it backwards!
If we look at the New Testament in its historical context, the Church was never a few decades behind culture.
It was a few steps ahead.
Paul didn’t write his letters to a bunch of women in a feminist society, putting them in their place.
Paul wrote his letters to a bunch of men in a patriarchal society.
Paul didn’t make a command when he told these men to be the heads of their households. Paul made an observation. They already were the heads of their households.
But he told them to be heads of households like Christ was the head of the church, specifically referring to Christ’s sacrificial submissiveness and humility.
This was unique and crazy and radical back then. Not because it was old-fashioned and out-dated.
Because it was ahead of the times.
The church shouldn’t be waiting on the sidelines while society moves toward equality. The church should be the starting players.
The church should be leading the way.
Needs to be.
Because I’m tired of having to rely on feminism to make me feel like I am one with Christ Jesus.
And because as hard as society tries, sometimes it misses the mark. The feminist movement needs redemption as much as anything else in this crazy world.
I’m going to talk more about that tomorrow. Until then, leave your comments and let me know what you think about the idea of the church leading society instead of slowly trailing behind it. Even if you disagree, I’d love to hear your thoughts!