So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
4 Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time.5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided.
So it’s the new year and I’m just going to get right into it. Our current political upheaval is nothing new. The civil rights movements of the 50s, the women’s movements of the 60s, and the war protests of the early 70s mark a country seasoned by conflict and imbalance.
The most recent presidential election was just another tipping point that pushed our collective unrest back out into the open. And then we had Harvey Weinstein and all the other men outed for their sexual harassment.
Women are speaking out.
And I will admit, as a Christian woman raising a daughter in this chaos, I had to think long and hard about how to respond. I will never be meek and mild. And from very early on I have felt too loud, too fast with the quips, too opinionated in a way that has felt contradictory to the expectations of Christian women. To be clear, my church is wonderful and filled to the brim with strong women. But in society at large, I have felt an undercurrent of expectation for Christian women to be serene and always mindful of the supportive role we play. So how do I balance my feminism with my Christianity?
If you look at the Bible and the origin of our story, you see an equal beginning. God created “them,” male and female, and to “them” He gave His instructions for the running of this world. And when they both sinned, they both lost that sense of equal partnership to everyone’s detriment. But God’s intention was clear…we were to be in this together.
Strong women rise through Scripture like cactus in the desert—spirited survivors, all of them.
- Miriam, Moses’s sister orchestrated the single greatest adoption in history.
- Sarai wooed pharaohs and won Abram vital provisions and favors on his way to becoming Abraham, the father of the nations.
- Naomi’s grit and gristle helped her survive famine, a new start in a foreign land, the loss of her husband and then her sons, and the journey home with a daughter-in-law in tow. And still she played Yenta to Boaz and Ruth and brought about the grandfather of David.
- Rachel’s beauty and strength was enough to keep Jacob working for her hand in marriage for seven plus seven years. And she fought for her fertility and her future away from her father’s land.
- Dorcas dedicated her life to serving the poor and needy in the days after Jesus’s ascension.
- And Deborah, the great Old Testament prophetess, “held court under the palm of Deborah” in ancient Israel and was the mouthpiece of God. Because of her fine-tuned ear to His words, she led her people to victory over the Canaanites.
Why do I say all this?
Because I want to say that I’ve felt the dichotomy—the push to be strong and to speak out and the pull to be peaceable and reflective…to be the still waters that keep everything afloat. Passive/active. Listener/orator. Giver/taker. This split-personality of sorts is nothing new. The rift began with the apple. But you can be a Christian feminist. One does not negate the other.
The key here, for me at least, is to keep going back to the words of God—the ones He spoke over Hannah as she waited in infinite patience for a baby and the ones He spoke to Deborah while she marched an army into enemy territory. He calls us to be wives and warriors. We are to be what He calls us to be in the moment—strong, humble, patient, proactive, righteous, wise, witty, raucous. We are never just one thing. God did not create us to be one-dimensional. It would be a sin to make us so.
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A big thank you from Jamie on The Mom Gene!