When I was growing up there was a vivid picture next to “Feminist” in the dictionary of my mind. She was an angry, man-hating, bra-burning hippie. Bless her heart.
Even before I was old enough to have a vested interest in what all this meant for me personally, I knew that the label itself carried negative, bitter connotations.
As I got older, “found” Jesus, and entered into a very conservative church culture, I learned that Feminism was downright “unbiblical”. Those poor angry souls were rejecting God’s plans and parameters for their lives – they were in rebellion of God’s word! And while no one was claiming that our calling as Proverbs 31 women was easy or even fair, it couldn’t be argued with. It was our lot in the curse.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.
Such is evangelical life.
For awhile, when my faith was still fairly untried and shallow, I found no qualms with this and attempted to be a good Baptist and conform to this man heavy way of authority and ministry. Women could teach children but not men, they could speak at women’s events and possibly co-ed conferences as long as we were clear that they were “speaking” and not “preaching”. And they would submit to the authority of their husband at home because he was the God appointed head of the house.
Also, if women were truly receptive to the Holy Spirit, they would not only stay home, but homeschool their kids. Obviously.
I’m really not sure when I first started questioning this conservative, patriarchal interpretation of the Christian life. Honestly, the feminist issue was never a sticking point for me. Sorry Jesus Feminists, but it wasn’t my hill to die on. No, I started baby-stepping away from conservative evangelicalism for other reasons. I was more outraged by things like church practices, oppressive theology, outdated methods of evangelism, legalism, passive-agressive pulpitism.
But eventually, somewhere along the heretical yellow brick road, I found that I had fallen onto the side of the fence with the feminists by default. I never waved their flag or took a stand on the issue at at all – I never even burned a bra – but I agreed with them on principle.
I think that my husband should play a fairly balanced roll in the housework since we’re both home most of the time, I think my opinion in a conversation has as much weight as his, I think we are two equal parts of a whole. Even so, I don’t consider myself a Feminist, particularly not as defined by my adolescent dictionary.
I don’t hold these convictions because I’m a feminist. I find these truths to be self-evident because I’m a Christian.
So maybe I am a Jesus feminist after all. Following Jesus and (gasp) the Bible is what led me to this place. Thankfully, my husband and I think alike on these issues. We’ve come a long long way, with miles of yellow brick ahead of us still.
But I’m thankful and happy to now mingle in the world of writing friendship with multiple women who bravely and humbly hold a roll behind the pulpit. And they do so with great understanding of the respect and responsibility that their authority holds, not with chips on their shoulders or smoldering bras in their clenched fists.
So no, I don’t call myself a Feminist. But I don’t call myself a Baptist, either.