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Can you be a Jesus Feminist? That’s what Sarah Bessey uncovers in her book of the same title. I was intrigued by the title — no doubt her whole point. I ran into Bessey’s blog when I started looking through evangelical spots on the Internet like Ann Voskamp and Rachel Held Evans. I found a whole other department of bloggers I didn’t know existed. Too many blogs to read in one day, one week, one month.
But, I am in a book club and it was my month to host and pick the book so voila. I ordered it on Kindle and got started. I expected her to a little…”in your face” about the whole thing but in fact, she was humble and admitted to not really knowing if her way to look on this is the right way at all. That immediately made me like her. I tend to go that route on many things — there are few things that I’m sure of. Some call that lack of confidence, but I’ve heard others call it wise.
This is definitely a book for churchgoers — or former churchgoers — my book club and I decided. If you’ve never experienced the gender roles in a church, some of this will be hard to grasp. But, ever for me it was difficult. Having never wanted to serve in ministry, be a pastor, go to seminary, I’ve never felt shut out from being able to do those things. Additionally, I’ve always attended non-traditional churches. My church today has a male head pastor but one of our campus pastors is a woman who was most definitely made for ministry. I’ve followed many female spiritual leaders like Joyce Meyer (I know she is controversial but she’s done a lot of good for me) and Beth Moore.
Bessey covers the traditional gender roles often expected of women in church settings, something I’ve taken for granted. You don’t see a lot of women in leadership positions — though I do think that’s partly because women aren’t as interested in it. It’s also, however, because there are many churches that believe women should not be in leadership positions — and that’s where she has a big problem.
I was turned off my the book’s subtitle, which reads: “Exploring God’s Radical Notion That Women Are People, Too.”
It gives off immediate snark and may cause many people to skip on by without giving her opinion a chance. Biblical theology is a complicated matter and there are many ways to interpret things — it’s tough. Personally, I run away from theological arguments because I don’t think I’m wise enough or smart enough to have an answer myself.
However at book club, we talked about just that and the question was, do we have a responsibility to care about theological clarity? Personally, I see the big picture — you believe in Jesus and accept Him as your savior, you’re good. Anything beyond that is just details. But God didn’t put all this stuff in the Bible for no reason and maybe, as a Christian, I do have an obligation to try and “get” it instead of being so lazy and disinterested.
Back to feminism — everyone seems to have their own idea of it but the true definition says “advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.”
Guess what? I am totally a feminist if that’s the case. But the word has been tainted, redefined within culture and making some women afraid of being labeled. The honest truth is, when you hear “feminist,” you think liberal — but I don’t think that should be true. Conservatives and liberals, Christians and non-Christians can be feminists but there are going to be major disagreements to make peace with.
Was Jesus a feminist? According to the official definition, I’d say he would be. And since I love Jesus, I guess I’m a Jesus Feminist too.