I can hear all the gasps now. I’ve either offended you by the “homeschooling Christian” part, or it’s the “feminist” part. Either way, this statement can alienate just about any person somehow.
But it’s true, I am a homeschooling, Christian mom, and I am a feminist. And it wasn’t Gloria Steinem who taught me how to be a feminist, neither was it Susan B. Anthony, or even Oprah Winfrey. It was Jesus who taught me how, and why I (and I would argue to say you too) should be a feminist. Jesus had this radical idea that women are people.
When the Women’s March happened last January, I saw many opinions going around from many Christian women stating that they didn’t need feminism. They were happy, flourishing, and had wonderful careers. And to that I say “wonderful!” But that just isn’t the same story for most women around the world. Even many women right here in the United States.
One third of women face abuse in their own homes, and up to 70% of female murder victims are killed by their male partners. The fact is that women ages 15-45 are more likely to be maimed or die from male violence than they are from cancer, traffic accidents, malaria, and war combined.
Over 100 million girls from all over the world have suffered genital mutilation.
It’s women that make up 70% of the world’s poorest people, and they only own 1% of the titled land. And to keep up with current events, and the #metoo movement, over 300,000 women are raped every year right here in the United States.
These are the statistics I think of when I hear Christians say that we don’t need feminism anymore. Or when they insinuate that since women can have big time careers, can vote, and own land that we have “arrived”.
Women still face so much abuse, so much inequality, and so much jeering. Not just around the world in developing countries – but even here at home in the United States.
But Jesus – Oh, our amazing savior who comes to heal, restore, and resurrect brokenness! He, all along, from the very beginning believed that women were people too, and He showed us in his life here on earth the way we women should be treated.
When God created man and woman, God called the first woman ezer – which happens to be a name often used for himself. In the Old Testament the word ezer is used 16 times in reference to God as Israel’s helper for military purposes. So when we look at this name that God used for his daughters, it is easy to see that God never created women to be “second, less” or even simply a “helpmeet”, because he is not any of those things. He is our strong helper, he is a warrior – and this is the part of his character that he chose to name his daughters after. We women are created and called to be warriors. Not for men, but alongside men. Its in this we see both men and women are needed, and important to Kingdom building
When Jesus came onto the scene, from the get-go he wanted women to know just how needed they are for this Kingdom building.
This was a time in history when women were all but invisible in literature – and Jesus spoke to them directly, instead of to their male headship as was custom at the time. Scripture recorded this, celebrated women, and affirmed them. When women touched him, like the woman who touched the hem of his garment, he did not cast her to the side. He touched her in return and celebrated her faith.
In Luke 13:16 Jesus healed a woman in the synagogue, in full view of all the men there. But the best part is when he called her “Daughter of Abraham”, which more than likely sent shockwaves through the room. This was the first time anyone had ever heard a woman be called something so important. “Sons of Abraham” was a common phrase, but never daughter. This was groundbreaking for the time. Jesus had given this woman equality with men. She now had a place to stand beside them, instead of behind.
And during the famous story of Mary and Martha, an important note is not just that Mary wasn’t in the kitchen cooking and cleaning, but that she was formally learning at the feet of her Teacher alongside the men. Daughters never had this position before. It was unheard of.
And even when a woman’s testimony meant nothing in court, it was a woman who first saw the resurrection of Jesus, which made her the very first preacher and evangelist in history. Mary Magdalene was preaching the good news of Jesus before men even knew his eyes had opened.
So yes. Jesus says women are people too. And he is the one who taught me of the importance women carry in this world. He tells us that we are people. That we matter. That our stories are valid.
I don’t think I have heard a better description of a Christian feminist, than when Sarah Bessey says:
“One needn’t identify as a feminist to participate in the redemptive movement of God for women in the world, The gospel is more than enough. Of course it is! But as long as I know how important maternal health is to Haiti’s future, and as long as I know that women are being abused and raped, as long as I know girls are being denied life itself through selective abortion, abandonment, and abuse, as long as brave little girls in Afghanistan are attacked with acid for the crime of going to school, and until being a Christian is synonymous with doing something about these things, you can also call me a feminist.”
And while I realize that being able to stay home with my kids, homeschool them, and cook nutritious meals for my family is a huge privilege that many families here in the US and around the globe cannot be fortunate to have, I know that is not the only job God created women to have. He created women to fight, to speak, to encourage, to use our talents for this now Kingdom of God. And just like men, these job descriptions look different for each person. I just happen to like staying home with my kiddos, and teaching them. That’s just me. And you are just you.
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