I just wanted to offer some clarification as to why I wrote yesterday’s post on the women’s march and feminism, in general.
I was motivated by two factors, primarily.
First, as I sat in church Sunday morning I was distracted by some things I’d seen on social media and began writing some notes, which expanded and became that post.
I was thinking of the absurdity of women, expecting to be taken seriously, wearing ridiculous, or offensive, hats, costumes, clothing and demanding their rights. It seems so ridiculous for protesters (you name the cause and it happens) who claim to want to make positive change, to hurt their own cause by doing things that are lewd, violent, harmful and offensive – to make themselves a sideshow act.
I was sad that the organizers excluded pro-life women, furthering the already present divide (I wasn’t surprised, FYI, just sad at the state of things). I was angry that the message our culture is screaming is that sexual promiscuity is fine, even good and right, and that there are no consequences. There are always consequences and abortion doesn’t eliminate them, but rather, adds to it. I was angry that this is the ungodly, destructive, message my girls are being bombarded with day in and day out.
I was angry that women participate in their own exploitation – that we do it to each other, that we get caught up in comparison, competition and shaming. That we’ve allowed industry and advertising and pornography to dictate the standards. We buy all their products, we pay for surgery, we bust our butts (some of us, not me :), not to be healthy, but to be sexy.
I’ve birthed and nursed four babies. I brought life into the world and sustained it with my body, and I bear the marks. Why is that shameful? I’ve lived almost 42 years – I have laugh lines, scars and my skin is a little looser in places it used to be tight. I earned all of this, y’all. (I’m here reminded of one of my favorite episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond where Debra exclaims, “These weren’t for show, these were working breasts!“)
I’d love to be healthier and more physically fit, and I fight against wanting to do so to get my sexy back. I do. I’ve considered surgery. And then unconsidered and reconsidered again. I’m only human and I’d love to maintain my youthful appearance.
But there’s something more beautiful about a confident woman. One who knows her value because she belongs to a good God, who loves her, empowers her, died for her and lives for her. That’s the makeover I need most. That’s the makeover we all need.
Now to my second motivation: I was tired of seeing all the sarcastic and rude memes and comments from people, especially those who love and follow Jesus. And the way any woman who attended the marches was framed as pro-choice because the whole thing was about slaughtering babies.
For the organizers, it was very much about abortion, but for many women – the individuals who just showed up to march – it was a cry for decency, respect and a need to feel safe. They chose to use their Constitutional rights to make their voice heard, that an American President needs to represent all the people, in a respectful, honorable way, and we won’t tolerate the sort of lewd speech we’ve heard from him in the past. It wasn’t like he just made an occasional slip; it’s been a way of life.
I feel that we need to give people a little grace and beware of painting entire groups with a wide brush. We cannot simply dismiss people that way. If you follow Jesus and have read Scripture you know this. Those “evil” women at the march are exactly the kind of people Jesus would want to encounter to offer an invitation into Life. Degrading, calling them all fat and ugly, isn’t the way to do that.
Finally, I wanted to recognize that there is still progress to be made and give my view of Gospel feminism, or simply, a Biblical view of women, as I interpret it. I don’t like the word, “feminism,” at all because of what it represents, but to keep in context I used it.
Most of my post spoke in context of our “rights,” as Americans. However, I am not an American first – I am a follower of Jesus, and that changes my relationship to my American rights.
I am not an activist and wouldn’t likely ever show up to carry a sign. I don’t think that’s my calling. As I said in a comment to my post yesterday, I don’t think we are called to advocate for our own rights. There is no precedent in Scripture for a believer to do that.
We are told, however, to work on behalf of others: the poor, the needy, the widow, the orphan, etc, but we do it in practical ways. We do it by showing up and by serving.
We are told to lay our own lives down and set them aside for the greater good: loving God and loving others. So, we might well end up working for the well-being of women, but it will have context.
It is extremely difficult to maintain humility and demand that your own voice be heard. The two things don’t always easily go together.
Every book of the New Testament is written from the perspective of a person on the lowest rungs. It’s the view from the bottom. And from that low place, we see no attempts made to climb the ladder or to overthrow wicked leaders, even for the greater good.
We are taught how to live in the midst of difficulty and how to thrive and live in community with one another. We are taught how to pray and how to serve and live everyday life in the midst of persecution. We are taught about life filled with joy and peace. This tells me that it’s possible to have, no matter what.
So, I think American Christians find themselves in a gray area here. On the one hand we have our Constitution which grants us certain inalienable rights. On the other we have the example of Jesus, our Shepherd, who we follow. We have the Sermon on the Mount in our view, and nowhere does it say, “Blessed be the protester…”
Nor does it say, “Blessed be the patriot…or the nationalist…etc…” Our Christian entanglement with politics kind of makes me cringe. For example, this meme seems a bit much…a bit too much of an association between President Trump and Jesus for my taste.
I realize I’m liable to get a lot of flack for that last part, but we serve a different Kingdom, in our American context, and for me, it can seem complicated, at times. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but I don’t live in a fantasy world about the USA either. We aren’t a perfect nation, though I feel blessed to have been born here, rather than in a war-torn region like the Middle East.
All that to say, I certainly am not advocating for Christian Feminist activism, at large, but rather a kindness to ourselves and to one another. Ultimately, imitation of Christ and knowing Him is the goal, male or female.
I just had a lot on my mind the last couple of days and out it came. Each of us must do what the Spirit leads us to do, and I don’t claim to have all the answers.
Besides, who cares what I think? 😉
Thanks for reading, y’all.