Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women, by Sarah Bessy has been on my list for a long time. It’s a long, long list of many amazing books, so that I actually read it is amazing. It did not disappoint.
I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. I personally take for granted the ordination of women to pastoral positions (and not just women’s ministry), in addition women teaching and leading, without limitation, in all areas of the church, yet it was just that – I take it for granted. I have realized over the last year or so that I do not have a quick way to articulate WHY in relation to those who do not agree. I am thankful to Sarah for taking on this challenge and giving me a way to articulate what I have felt God speaking to and through me.
As always, I don’t want to give away all the great points of a book as I want you to read it. So I’ll share two things you will learn about to help you articulate why you also need to explore “God’s radical notion that women are people, too.”
Biblical Interpretation: Sarah explains in normal language how scriptures have been misinterpreted based on men with power making a final decision on what God means for humans for all eternity, despite having limited knowledge (language/cultural/context interpretation). Sarah does not have a short or easy answer, and she does not ignore the texts in question, but rather takes all of God’s Word as a whole to share what others (men in power, usually white and originally Catholic) have overlooked or ignored due to their limited perspectives. (Radical question: Is patriarchy part of the Garden of Eden or part of the Fall?)
The Roll of Women in the Church & Society (Or rather, the Roll of People in the Church & Society): Sarah primarily speaks of how “we” are doing a disservice to God by preventing and/or limiting women to fulfill God’s Call for them. This is obviously in the context of reframing the rolls of men and women from the conservative-evangelical viewpoint. This is not about making men and women equal, its about allowing God to work through each individual as God created them to be. (Radical thought: The human stereotypes of women and men get in the way of God’s Will.)
Jesus Feminist is about what every Christian says they want: putting God first. It is about taking to heart what God is calling us to do and be based on the LIVING God, not a God that was frozen in time 2,000 years ago. It is about interpreting and living God’s Will in our own context and in our own lives, understanding that we actually do know better (but not perfectly) what God wants for us, rather than what someone closer to the time of Jesus (especially as those who decided were in power based on a system rampant with injustice – even more so than now).
Jesus Feminist is about the radical understanding that God loves each of us equally and that God Wills that we all, equally and urgently, live our lives our to our fullest for the Kingdom.
As I write this our daughter is dancing and playing and signing and creating throughout our house. She has a strong spirit that stands against every wind that wants to push her down. She leans into life. She is a person who has the power to break through ceilings and walls, to create new doors and windows. There is no way that God has created her to be some man’s helper. She is her own being, and I pray will someday find someone to partner with in life. I am thankful that she is another generation away from the days where the only options for her life would be homemaker, nurse, teacher, shopkeeper or prostitute. I pray that she will not allow anyone to get in the way of God’s Will and Love for her.
I pray that no woman, or man, will allow anyone to get in the way of God’s Will and Love for them.