Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Jesus made a feminist out of me

When I first began to venture into the world of the internet for more than just checking email, I started with Twitter - figuring that I could follow pastors, Christian people I'd heard of and see if they had anything interesting to say. Some people don't really have anything interesting to say, (and some should really refrain from tweeting during presidential elections - pet peeve), but others generously and strategically use their online presence to connect people to amazing, wonderful things. 
I followed Helen Burns, as a pastor from a big overseas church that I didn't know too much about - and she linked to this: the SheLoves Magazine manifesto, written by Idelette McVicker. The words stirred something in my heart and began a chapter in my faith walk which has changed me for the better. 
Through reading SheLoves Magazine, I stumbled across Sarah Bessey. She wrote monthly on parenting. Cut to my current crazy fan-girl mad state.  I LOVE Sarah's writing, her cute instagram pictures, her book recommendations - plus she's a Whovian (we got into it at the same time), she is a beautifully gentle parent, her daughter loves to make art to raise money for a good cause, she likes to eat and talk and love and laugh and she doesn't apologize for being different.
Kindred Spirit. (She also loves Anne of Green Gables and would totally get that reference).
Sarah Bessey has written a book called "Jesus Feminist" which my husband IS going to order from overseas for me for Christmas. I must tell him this. She's been doing a synchroblog and this is my small puzzle piece to add.

I'm not a scholar or a theologian. I didn't study women's issues at university. I may not be "qualified" to add to this conversation. But when I think about this quote "Jesus made a feminist out of me" I remember that I don't have to begin everything with an apology for what I am not.

Over the last ten years I have left home, got married and had children, moved town and left friends and been forced to make new ones, and my journey with Jesus has been one that has taken me through the wilderness and the desert and then out into lush open fields and stormy seas. I have had times where I thought of myself of being capable of nothing, nothing at all. Where I looked in the mirror and didn't recognise myself. Where I felt totally empty when I thought about God.

I remember in one of those moments, maybe 8 years ago, being on holiday with my husband and having a God-encounter at dinner with an old friend and one of her friends - two true Jesus feminists. Pizza and conversation turned into prayer and tears as one of them, Emily, prayed over me and spoke the words "Arise, Arise!"

Jesus calls the feminist in me out of hiding. Jesus tells me to no longer stand behind my husband, quiet in his shadow, where it may feel safe and I am not noticed. Jesus has gently and compellingly beckoned my true nature out from behind the walls I built up, and he tells me that I have a part to play. I have a story to tell. I have a song to sing. I have paint to put to canvas, I have ideas and opinions and thoughts that need to be spoken.

To be a feminist is to consider that "women are people, too", by Sarah Bessey's definition.
Sometimes without even realising it, we rank ourselves lower or less important than our husbands or other significant men in our life, for whatever reason - whether it's money, or position, or a vague sense of who "should" make the decisions. I would urge you to re-think those beliefs, if you have them, and to listen to the voice of the Spirit inside of you. God is not just man, but woman - we are both created in his image, male and female. When we deny women the right to speak, or we decide not to speak and bring our thoughts to the conversation, people will only see half of who God is. We need to see the whole. We need to hear the whole heart of God, male and female. We need to read books by men and women, have men and women speaking at our conferences, have men and women leading in our churches and our workplaces. We are best when we are together, each giving the other equal opportunity to share, and valuing each other's input even when we don't understand it. This is the kingdom of God. Beautiful, diverse, messy, passionate and glorious, and full of voices calling out the life God has placed inside them.

I had a word over me earlier this year that God had placed living things inside of me, precious living things, and that I would have to birth them like I birth a child - painful and without much control over the timing. But that God was my midwife and he aid, guide, protect and assist me as a midwife would while I labour.

I'm thankful God is all things. Male and female, midwife, mother, teacher, queen and king. And I'm thankful that Jesus made a feminist out of me and calls me, still, to Arise.

xx Sarah

No comments:

Post a Comment