My Name Is Defiant: A Manifesta (Guest Post by Rachel Asproth)

A deep thank you to Sarah Christine Schwartz who inspired this article and reminded me that my name is Defiant.

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My name is Rachel, but you may call me Defiant.

I don’t plan to follow all the rules. I don’t plan to play nice at the expense of truth. I don’t plan to bend under the weight of whispered or even shouted judgment.

I am a woman, but I will not be as you would have me.

I will not be silent. I will not be small. I will not swallow my feelings. I will not repress my gifts.

I will not yield to power that steals my dignity.

I will be loud as thunder. I will take up space with my big heart and curious mind. I will cry my eyes out and laugh deep in my belly. I will ask tough questions. I will cease to apologize for my presence. I will lean in, listen, and love. I will lead humbly. I will teach wisely. I will fight boldly. But I will not be silent.

I will not be as you would have me.

My name is Defiant.

Jesus will write my revolution. I’ll use his how-to handbook on living and loving radically. With my pen, I’ll tell stories. With my mouth, I’ll speak truth. With my hands, I’ll help shape change. With my feet, I’ll walk humbly after Jesus.

I will seek the wisdom of those who walk steadier than I. I’ll stand aside when I ought to and let others step into the light.

Passivity will not stain my words. No, they will be vibrantly colored with calls to action. I will live in mercy, grace, and love even as I call for accountability in the church. I will envision change for women and I will run wildly after it.

My name is Revolutionary.

I will be proud of my body. Shame will not inch its way across my heart. In Jesus’ name, I will reclaim my physical self. No matter how many times my body is blamed or accused, I will recall the sacred dignity that lives in my skin.

I won’t be afraid to make others uncomfortable. I will respond generously when I do. I’ll talk about tough topics with grace. But I’ll still believe that truth is more important than comfort.

My name is Incorrigible.

Soft-heartedness will meet gritty determination in me. I will assert my God-given right to stand beside men in full equality. I will partner with men and women to build the Galatians 3:28 church. I will see God’s kingdom come.

I’ll refuse to listen to those who believe I should stay seated, that I should know my place. I will call out injustice. I won’t settle for the status quo. But, I will commit, always, to love those I disagree with.

My name is Subversive.

Awkward silences won’t frighten me. Rolled eyes and dismissive comments won’t dissuade me from my march. For my sisters, I will fight on. For justice, I am prepared to pour out.

“Ladylike” most won’t call me. Too bold, too loud, too headstrong, too independent, and too stubborn.

They attach their words like weights to my ankles, because they do not see that it was God who gave me my fighting spirit. Bold and loud for God, for truth, for justice. Willful and stubborn in the mission God’s given me.

If I was a man, I believe they would call me assertive, confident, and brave. But that’s okay.
I am a woman and my strength is not a flaw.

My name is Rebellious.

I will make oppression my enemy, but I will love all people fiercely.

Dirty boots, torn clothing, and lined hands will be inevitable. This work will leave me bone-tired sometimes. I’ll learn to lean on others. I’ll accept that vulnerability as a woman doesn’t make me weak.

With Jesus’ help, I will walk unpredictable paths, forge unlikely rivers, and climb with unexpected companions. Tameness will not define my faith journey. In God’s name, I’ll unleash out-of-control love on this world.

My name is Wild.

I have had enough of being told “not now” and “not you.” I’m done with politeness at the expense of truth, with tameness at the expense of passion, with smiles at the expense of justified outrage. So much is left unsaid to avoid falling into the stereotype. Difficult woman. Stubborn woman. Impossible woman.

I am not afraid of what they might call me. I am afraid of what might happen to my soul if I swallow any more pain in God’s house without crying out.

I am a woman, but I will not be as you would have me.

Yes, I revolt. But I revolt to cleanse, so that old can be made new, so that dusty floors can be washed clean, so that aged hearts can beat young once again.

It is, as the prophetic Sarah Christine Schwartz says, my time and my task.

My name is Rachel, but you may call me Defiant.

We will not be silent in the midst of systemic injustice. We will not be small and contained to our pews. We will not swallow our righteous outrage. We will no longer repress gifts that may yet change the world. We refuse to yield to patriarchal power that steals our dignity and humanity.

It is our time and our task.

Call us wild, defiant, subversive, rebellious, and incorrigible if you like. It’s true.

We are women and our name is Defiant.

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Rachel Elizabeth Asproth graduated from Bethel University with a BA in English literature and reconciliation studies in 2015. She was the first to graduate from her university with a gender studies minor. She is currently the editor of the CBE Scroll and Arise at CBE International. Rachel became a feminist in college, where she also rediscovered her faith in Jesus and her identity as a leader and learner. She spends most of her time scouring thrift stores for new books and taking advantage of her student discount at the Orpheum Theatre. She is a tea-drinking, truth-speaking, perpetually-learning revolutionary-in-training. Rachel currently lives in New Brighton, MN.

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