If Jesus is a Feminist, I am Too: How Free Women Changed the World (Part 1)

jesus

As more and more Christians catch wind that I exist and that I am passionate about ending male superiority in the evangelical church, I am becoming more aware of the sly ways men and women alike try to silence women and push us back into subordinate roles. These people don’t know it, but they are allowing the enemy to use them. Thankfully, I know this, so I am able to allow their words to roll of my back.

A Christian woman in the Church who is seen to be influential, intellectual, gifted, and zealous is seen to be especially dangerous and to be quite honest, this type of woman is very dangerous; but not in the way patriarchalists think . They believe we are a threat to God’s Kingdom, but in actuality, we are a threat to the Kingdom of Darkness. 

I am no longer afraid to say positive things about myself because I believe that it is “Jesus in my heart” that has made me all of these things. I struggle with insecurity just like any other human that resides in the midst of a fallen world, but my identity is found in the fact that my God is the King of Kings and my Savior is the Lord of Lords. I am royal and so are you sons and daughters of God.

I am not as progressive of a Christian as people assume I am. In fact, I am pretty conservative, still clinging to the Bible as the final authority in my life. Here is the thing, when I read the Scriptures in the context of Jesus’ life and teachings, I see a “God in the flesh” who was a feminist too and I seek to follow his ways. I believe that Jesus is for me and if Jesus is for me, how dare anyone stand against me? I filter every negative comment, oppressive word and lie from Satan spoke to me through Christians and non-Christians alike through Roman 8:31.

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

I beleive that insecurity is a great enemy to the daughter’s of God and that keeping women insecure is crucial to keeping their mouths wired shut, their passions suppressed, and their leadership gifts oppressed. When the daughters of God realize who they are in Jesus Christ and that God is FOR them despite what anyone says or does against them, they become dangerous to the Kingdom of Darkness and they are not afraid to tell Satan and people Satan uses to get the hell out of their way.

When I was writing my master’s thesis in seminary, I discovered a historical secret that is almost never talked about in church. Christianity began as a small movement in Galilee and Judea at the time Jesus walked the earth, and in just a few centuries it became the national religion of the Roman Empire. Sociologists find this to be extraordinary and female leaders who were “on fire” for Jesus had a lot to do with this rapid growth (See “The Rise of Christianity” by Rodney Stark).

You see, women in Roman and Greco culture were greatly oppressed by patriarchy. They were treated no better than a slave or an animal. In fact, infanticide of baby girls was not only legal, it was often encouraged. It was common for husbands and wives to throw their baby girls in a gutter somewhere and leave them to die with no remorse whatsoever. Women virtually had no rights, but Jesus changed everything, as He so often does.

Jesus was not only a friend of sinners; He was a champion for women’s rights in the Church and in society!

Most Christians know the story of “Mary and Martha” as found in the Gospel of Luke (10:38-42), so let’s focus on just one verse of this passage because there is so much to unpack in just one line.

39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.

Mary, who was Jewish as Jesus was, was also a victim of a patriarchal society. Women were not permitted to be educated by a rabbi (a religious Jewish scholar/teacher) and to sit at a rabbi’s feet was to take the posture of a disciple (a student of religion). Yes, Mary was a female disciple of Jesus and was in fact a foundational leader in the building of Jesus’ Church. When Martha (Mary’s sister) insisted that Mary get off the ground and get back to a woman’s “place” in the kitchen, Jesus said something that would forever change Mary and every other woman who understands her new position and “place” in Jesus Christ.

41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Do Christian feminists need any other Bible passage to prove their case? Those who oppose Christian feminism try to discredit the movement by saying that Christian feminists are simply trying to “be cool” or “mimic popular culture” which is actually comical because patriarchy is much more in line with American culture historically, as well as most cultures of the world. Christian feminism may be gaining some momentum, but to say that feminism has been more popular than patriarchy is a straight up lie.

When Jesus was being crucified, only four of His followers were brave enough to stick by His side and three were women.

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved [John], he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son (John 19: 25-26).

Before someone says, “Well, Jesus told John (the man) to take care of his mother because men are supposed to lead and provide for women” let’s get with the culture for a second. Jewish women did not have rights and needed a man to take care of her financially. This is common is a patriarchal society and is useful in controlling women. Of course Jesus would tell a man to take care His mother. A woman would have never been able to take care of another woman in this culture when a woman who did not have a man would have greatly struggled to meet her own needs.

Since Joseph (Jesus’s dad) is not mentioned in the Bible at all once Jesus became an adult, most scholars assume that he died before Jesus began His ministry at 30 years old. Therefore, Jesus in all His love and compassion for women, asked John to make sure His mother was financially provided for after He was gone from the earth.

After Jesus died, women in first century Jewish, Roman, and Greco culture began to hear of a Savior that not only calls them friend, but also calls them equals to men in both worth and authority. Something exploded in the hearts of women throughout the Roman Empire. For the first time in their lives, they were truly free from oppression and their radical leadership in the Christian Church began to rapidly change not just the Roman Empire, but the whole world.

Stay Tuned for Part 2.

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10 Comments

  • I appreciate your blog and your clinging to Christ in your identity and vocation.
    I want to challenge something, if that’s okay. Not so much the idea, but the sneaking supposal behind it. You say:
    “A Christian woman in the Church who is seen to be influential, intellectual, gifted, and zealous is seen to be especially dangerous and to be quite honest, this type of woman is very dangerous; but not in the way patriarchalists think . They beleive we are a threat to God’s Kingdom, but in actuality, we are a threat to the Kingdom of Darkness. ”
    I like how you turn things upside down. But the first part concerns me.
    The English speaking church is filled with women you describe, and they exist in high patriarchal fundamentalist churches through liberal women-led ones. I bet that 2 out of 3 country churches in America are being substantially taught and led by women in the mix.
    Yet, you describe something real: a real resistance to powerful or influential women in some places and times (and some women and not others). Some people resist women as leaders in official roles; some resist powerful women at all (or people that don’t fit expectations).
    But I certainly would say that your experience isn’t universal. There are many of these gifted women that do well in their communities.
    So I would encourage you to consider not universalizing the negative. A little qualifier, like “When Christian women in the church … are seen as dangerous”–that sort of approach tells better truth, I think.
    Just a thought. Keep it up!

    • I hope I am understanding you correctly. I think you are saying that what I have described as a “dangerous woman” to the kingdom of darkness exists in complementarian churches too and you want me to recognize these women as well?

      If this is in fact what you are saying, I would challenge you that women who are in these complementarian circles (who minister to other women) may be “dangerous women” but they are not as “dangerous” as women who are preaching the truth to all people (men, women, and children). Satan very much limits these gals and I hope to see them set free to preach the word without any limitations.

      • That’s sort of what I’m saying. Whether you or I recognize it or not powerful–I like your word, “dangerous”–women exist in patriarchal communities as important features. And not just serving other women, but men too. And there are levels of patriarchal, from women are silent on the most patriarchal, to churches that have no official divisions but sort of fall into gender cultures.
        It is also different throughout the world. In some the patriarchal communities of Japan or Jamaica, for example, women don’t have equality, but they have other kinds of power (both in the church, as well as in the home, community, and schools).
        What I was driving at was that you made it seem as if every experience was one of limitation. By saying “A Christian woman in the Church..” you might be leading your audience to forget the many experiences where women and men have the space to speak, or where communities are working through the issues, or where the issue just hasn’t come up and women and men speak as the spirit leads them.

  • You write truth and I love that you are speaking out about it. Jesus was indeed one who honored women, treated them as equals (which was scandalous in His time) and validated a woman’s right to serve in His church. My heart loves that I am not alone in this belief. Write on, sister!

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