I am currently reading a book that I bought at the Annual Conference bookstore in June entitled, Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey. I was struck by this book particularly because of the subtitle which reads, Exploring God’s Radical Notion That Women Are People, Too. This told me that the author is snarky and honest, two things that I love in a Christian writer. I consider myself a feminist in light of the true definition of feminism which is “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”
I don’t believe that a person can worship the God of the universe who created all of humanity in the divine image of God, and not be a feminist.
I’m enjoying this book because it is well-written, but also because it reminds me of all of the incredibly strong and faithful women in my life who have enabled me to be the person I am today, and hold the vocation of pastor. My sister’s gentle and, at times, not so gentle guidance is one of the primary reasons that I entered pastoral ministry in the first place. Sometimes we all need a kick in the butt, and my sister’s been practicing that my whole life. She inspires me and I now have the incredible opportunity of working with her through the non-profit youth mission organization that we run together; an organization, by the way, which was founded by another strong woman of God. My two favorite and most impressive seminary professors were women, and my wife is so much stronger and smarter than I will ever be.
I work in the church. And even though The United Methodist Church is this year celebrating the 60th anniversary of the ordination of women, that’s not very long, and I still encounter too many people who still believe that women are somehow inferior to men.
I hope and pray that I am preaching to the choir today, but if you are a person who believes that women are inferior to men, and somehow you haven’t stopped reading yet, then I simply ask you to consider where your belief about the subordination of women originated. If you read something in Scripture that you think justifies this belief, then I hope that you will join us when I teach a class in October about the letters of Paul, because that’s where some of these passages are found, and we will explore what Paul really meant and how these passages have been misused over time. I hope you’ll join us in October, especially if you disagree with me, because I certainly don’t have all the answers, and healthy discussion always benefits everyone.
In this book, Sarah Bessey writes, “Leonard Cohen writes that there is a crack in everything—that’s how the light gets in. And hallelujah, I also think it’s how the light gets out.” I cannot champion women’s rights because that is not my story to tell, and there is enough pain in the world caused by white men coopting other people’s stories, and I don’t want to add to that noise. But I also know that as a Christian I am called to stand up and speak for those who have been robbed of their voice, and to beg and plead for others to listen to them. So I stand with the great women who have been saints in my life, and plant my feet in the middle of this gap and point to these incredible women. We are all created in the image of God, and I hope you will join with these Spirit-filled female prophets and leaders who are working to let the light of God out through the crack made by all those saintly women who have come before.
Have a wonderful week my friends,