Feminism didn’t come easily for me.  I fought it tooth and nail because everything I knew about feminism was “bra burning liberal flaming left wing anti birth women”  How wrong was I and I am saddened by the fact that I turned around and tried to spread these legalistic beliefs to others because in my core I believed them to be true.

When I became a Christian my new baby Jesus heart was told I had to be a republican, I had to hate abortion and homosexuality was definitely something to abhor.  Life now was all about America the beautiful and how God was going to bless us because we were a Christian nation.  Now that I followed Jesus my blood was filled with bright red blood, guns, Jesus and America.

The liberals and feminists were here to take over our God Blessed country; and we were to do anything we could to stop them.  I memorized Romans road and had my evangelism speech down pat for whenever I came into contact with a “non believer.”  Can I let you in on a little secret?  I could not go through with it.  IIt did not seem right to walk up to a stranger on the beach and ask “do YOU have a personal relationship with Jesus?” it was awkward and felt staged.  Why was I supposed to be “winning souls?”  They always paired us boy/girl just in case it needed to be explained fully.  Had I known better I would of walked away; but I didn’t.

I feel like I was a prime candidate for the “salvation Stepford Wife” sort of experience.  I came from severe abuse, I was a drug addict, alone and pregnant.  I was open game.  I don’t lay blame or think that any of the early teaching was done with Malice (some was) I think that there are generations of misinformation and poor theology that no one corrects or stands up to.

It makes me sad to write all of that out because I know that I alienated so many people from my life simply because I felt my beliefs were right and there’s were wrong.  They were going to hell because of their non belief and I was going to heaven.

I have written several times about my faith transformation and how it started with Twitter and reading progressive Christian bloggers.  When the word feminism came up I’ll admit I had a pit in my stomach because there were still those old submissive, patriarch strings attached to what I believed.  I also still took everything Paul said in the bible word for word.  I think now that it was one more thing that I was scared of changing.  Of letting go of more ties that were binding me to a false faith that kept me handcuffed to one way of life.

Submissive to a man, with my only worth that of a wife and a mother.  When I started hearing words like Egalitarian and mutuality I was struck by the giving and the taking of both spouses.  How the “traditional”  roles were set aside and both parties worked together.  That was one thing that struck me.  What completely pulled me to the other side and caused my “YES I’M A FEMINIST” flag to go up was reading Rachel Held Evans book A Year of Biblical Womanhood.

No longer did it scare me to say that I’m a feminist.  Every chain dropped off of me like I was a prisoner, wrongly accused of a crime and now being set free without notice.  My beliefs about woman leading and preaching changed, I saw how much Jesus saw the women he spent his days with and ultimately how God loves women and how the basis of faith is to love, regardless.

I hate that one of the hardest parts about leaving fundamentalism unlearning and rewiring all those old thoughts and beliefs.  I spent six years hearing that women aren’t this or cannot do that.  I often get that heavy feeling in my gut when approached with a new idea or if I am speaking with someone on a topic related to women.  I know it’s not my core, Jesus self that feels that way it’s the lies that wrapped themselves around my brain like a spider web and now need to be cut loose.

 

As far as stories in the bible that show me that Jesus was the ultimate feminist is when the woman who was bleeding crawled along the ground just to grasp onto the hem of his robe.  He felt the power go out of Him and He asked who touched Him.  See here’s the thing, He’s Jesus; He already knew who touched Him.  He wanted to stand her up and allow the crowed to see this woman that He noticed, that He had touched and healed.  He wanted to crowd to see that He loved her above measure.

That’s the Jesus Feminist I know.  That’s what led me to seek out more of what feminism means.  It does not mean bra burning and pro choice and gun hating like the stereotypes from the 60’s and 70’s read.  There are those that carry over yes but far and wide it means equality for all people.  It doesn’t mean that women are to be elevated above men and that every feminist wants to see men down graded to a lesser position, at least for me it doesn’t.

I am a feminist because I spent way too many years having my body be used and abused.  I was owned and called property.

I am a feminist because I am the only one who gets to say what goes on with my vagina.

I am a feminist because I was raped three weeks ago and was afraid to report because I did not know how the cops were going to treat me so I told my female friends first.

I walk the road of feminism because I want my daughter to grown up in a world where she can go to church and see a female pastor who can preach the Word of God to her.  Preach it to her with love, grace and peace just like anyone else.  I want to her to know that she can do anything, be anything and be an equal wherever she goes.

It is sad to me that there are so many churches that see and treat their women as substandard and limit them to certain positions because of their gender.  They are told to be subservient to their husbands, to ask him first before making any decisions and to keep their strong emotions under check.  What happens under this belief system is that abuse and neglect get covered up by submission.

I am a feminist because I don’t want to be told that I am emotional, dramatic or strong willed.  Those things are not inherently bad, nor are they character defects.  They are a part of me, a part of the way God intricately put me together.

I see feminism as an open door to important conversations and not just within the church.  I believe, or hope to believe it a bridge builder when it’s brought with love and grace rather than conceit and embittered attitudes.

I am a feminist because first I am human, second I am a woman and third I follow Jesus.  A Jesus who loves, notices and regards women.

As Always,

Bethany

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