(in which) I am a Jesus Feminist and I (sort-of) Review This Book: #JesusFeminist
I have been trying out the label feminist in my own life, testing it out amidst the often-mocking voices and uncertain questions of those around me.
I guess somewhere in my faith the word feminism has finally felt safe. Mostly because it gives space to my heartache: the plight over the circumstances of women around the world, and because quite honestly, I have found soul sisters within Christian feminism.
This summer I sat for 12 hours in the car as my parents drove from Saskatchewan to BC. Somehow being back in a car with my parents makes me a little like an obnoxious teenage girl again. You know the one who picks fights for fun, and disagrees with everything everyone says (I know some of you just thought, “That’s the only Saskia I have ever known…” Ugh, I don’t love myself sometimes). This particular obnoxious moment came when we were listening to a recorded teaching which talked about the need for ‘more apologetics in churches’ in order to appeal to the academic male… since the church is overly feminine and has sufficient women’s ministries, but needs a place for men. Besides, ‘where the men are, the women will follow’. Which is basically when I exploded into a rant and proceeded to irritate everyone sitting in the car.
When I started to read the anticipated ‘Jesus Feminist’ by Sarah Bessey, I wasn’t quite sure what my response would hold. I suppose I expected to feel fired up and angry like that day in the car, but instead her book was like cool water to my soul. Months of exhaustion and heartache combined with Sarah’s stunning and poetic words determined that I would be more soothed than stoked up. Instead of angry, I found myself weeping over my kindle and a glass of free wine in an airport lounge (awkward fact – I have shed way too many tears in airports lately).
I wept for the children Sarah lost as she shared pieces of her story. And later, when the airplane lifted into the air and I sat squished between two men, I wept harder (probably making them very uncomfortable), I ended up pulling my scarf up and over my head to try to disguise my emotions. I wept over her stories of women who loved and who overcame. And as I cried I breathed in prayer the names of the women I love and whom I have begun to doubt will ever overcome. I softly spoke out the names and cried conspicuous tears and longed to read Sarah’s prophetic and beautiful words over all the women in my life.
Over G. who I long to see free from prostitution, and S. too, whose quick wit always catches me off-guard. For B. who is out but far from free. For A. who I want to see encounter Jesus.
And so, a teary-eyed, snotty, head covered mess surrounded by strangers, I realized that Jesus Feminist mostly just made me passionate for my savior and full of grace for the women around me. It made me want to shout out “YES!” Jesus loves women!
I weep and I pray and I ache for the redemptive picture Sarah is painting.
“The daughters of the earth are crying out for God’s justice and peace.”
Don’t I know that? As my tears flowed for Sf. whose pain was so great she took her own life. And don’t I know that as I weep for Kt. who was recently (allegedly) murdered by her boyfriend/pimp.
The words in ‘Jesus Feminist’ releases women as warriors that declare that all is not made right here on earth, not yet, but it also releases us to say we are longing for something bigger, fiercer, and more gracious, that we desire the space and place that we occupy to be part of a redemption song.
I am a Jesus Feminist because I know too many women who suffer because of their gender. I am a Jesus Feminist because I have felt a piece, however so small, of their suffering. But mostly I am a Jesus Feminist because I believe in a God who says that Sf.’s suicide breaks His heart too. I believe in a God who says Kt.’s boyfriend had no right to beat her to death.
I am a Jesus feminist because I believe in a God who says, “Women are people, too” and that the loss of these women, who were so vulnerable because of their gender and position in society, is not part of the kingdom declaration for freedom.
Maybe Sarah Bessey’s ‘Jesus Feminist’ didn’t say anything I didn’t know in theory, and yet maybe it said everything I needed to be reminded of in my heart. That scripture in its whole affirms women’s role in standing alongside men. That patriarchy was part of the fall, not redemption. That God is for the weak and weary and the oppressed. That Jesus did elevate the position of women around the world. That Jesus was a feminist because he declared freedom and value for all of humankind, both male and female, enough that he died, rose again, and met first -with a woman.
‘Jesus Feminist’ A label worth embracing generated by a book so worth reading!
This post is part of a synchroblog over at sarahbessey.com in honour of the release of her new book Jesus Feminist “Exploring God’s Radical Notion That Women Are People, Too”, which I got on Amazon.ca but for those of you in Europe, will release on the 27th of November (keep an eye out for it)!