Sunday, February 23, 2014

What is Christian Feminism?

 

The Stereotype
The Reality
Burns bras!
Sexually liberated!
Women should feel free to engage in casual sex, just as men do.
The true feminist recognizes the beautiful form given to her by her Creator, values her body and her purity, and protects herself from those who would selfishly use her.
Pro-Choice!
A woman has a right to do whatever she wants with her own body and shouldn’t be forced to carry a child to term if she doesn’t want to.
Pro-Life!
The true feminist recognizes, not only her own value, but the value of all human lives—including those in an earlier stage of development. A woman has a unique ability to bond with her young, long before they are born, so a true feminist embraces this God-given strength and uses it and her wisdom and love to defend her children from those who would seek to cause them harm.
Uses her body to seduce men and manipulate men.
The true feminist can be sexually attractive, but does not rely on her sexuality to define her relationships with men. She realizes that love requires respect, and so improves her mind and character to be worthy of the respect of those around her.
Hates men. Men are the enemy. They only want “one thing!” And, when they get that, they either treat you like dirt or leave.
Loves and respects men! A true feminist is very much pro-man! She realizes that a single gender of any species will never be complete without it’s complementing half. So, she encourages and challenges the men in her life (husband, sons, brothers, fathers, etc.) to become men of God and establish their identity in their Creator as men, just as she seeks to do the same as woman. But, she will not sell out and allow herself to be used or mistreated by anyone who fails to recognize her worth as a daughter of the King (and, if necessary, she will wait a long time until she finds a man willing to rise to the challenge).
Experiments with lesbianism.
Feminists don’t need men for anything, not even romantic relationships.
A true feminists relishes in her uniqueness as a woman. Femininity is not the enemy! Being “girlie” is just fine! (As long as you exhibit respect for yourself in the process.) The goal of the feminist is to realize what it means to be woman—not to try to force herself to become more like a man. God made women to sexually desire men—the manlier the better! It’s our differences that spark the chemistry between us.
Anything men can do, we can do better!
A true feminist does not play the game of one-upmanship. The goal of discovering and claiming the beauty and value of Christ-honoring womanhood is not to gather ammunition for male-bashing. True feminists are strong enough to encourage one another and the men in her life, recognizing their unique, God-given abilities, desires, and talents.
Feminists get offended when men open doors for them or behave with chivalry. Who do they think they are? Men are being condescending when they treat us like the “little lady.”
 A true feminist is unafraid to open both her mind and her heart to the people around her. She can tell the difference between common courtesy and condescension or insult. She is gracious to the former, but uses her good judgment with the latter—evaluating the relationship and the situation to decide whether the battle for respect is worth her time. Sometimes a gentle or subtle reminder of her equal status as human is necessary and helpful. Sometimes, it is not and contrary to God’s purposes for that interaction. She seeks and follows Godly wisdom in these matters and refrains from letting her emotions control her actions.
Feminists make terrible wives!
Everything has to be split 50/50—chores, free time, and bank accounts. She refuses to take her husband’s name, fights for control over every decision, and finds it insulting to have to obey her husband, nagging to get her way. No man wants to live with a woman like that.
A true feminist makes a wonderful wife!
She realizes that marriage is a relationship that is supposed to reflect the character of the Triune God—where each participant (husband, wife, and Christ) gives 100%! Stages of life come and go. Sometimes she will sacrifice a disproportionate amount for her husband and children. Sometimes he will. But the trend should be a fully-dedicated partnership—working side by side for a common purpose—to become more like their Creator. Decisions are made through open, respectful discussion coupled with prayer—not through power struggles. She speaks her mind, but is wise enough to listen. She will admit when her husband is better at something, but works diligently at everything under her purview, seeks new ways to exercise her abilities, and refrains from overburdening him. She rises to the challenge of being her husband’s equal partner, but never humiliates or undermines him. She is his champion, and he is hers. She finds him desirable, capable, and worthy of respect. She laughs at his jokes, inspires him to greatness, and brags about him behind his back.

 From the Coalition of Christian Feminism, 2/24/2014. For more about what it means to be a Christian Feminist, visit www.facebook.com/christianfeminists

 

4 comments:

Joseph Santorelli said...

Feminism by its very etymology is female hubris (pride) at its best. Defining oneself as a feminist is to claim victim status and wear it like a justification to get whatever the bearer demands. Christ did not invent or subscribe to any labels other than the ones God gave to Him namely the Son of God, the Son of Man, Christ, the Redeemer, Lord, Savior, and Messiah.

God made women to love men and not shove a label in our face that is against our very being. True sons and daughters of the King want oneness with each other and reject anything that comes in between them. The feminist label does not reflect the male desire for equality nor does it reflect the male being regardless of what some men may say. Some men are happy to do as Adam did and willfully acquiesce into their wives demands.

S. E. Thomas said...

Joseph, in response to your first sentence. There is more than one kind of pride.

One is hubris and should be avoided because by it we falsely assume a position superior to our Creator--believing the lie that our value and qualities and accomplishments somehow arise from within us.

But, the other is a simple recognition of the value placed in us by our Creator. This kind of pride allows us to recognize our own value and qualities that were endowed on us by Him and which, ultimately, glorify Him--not us.

As a "Christian feminist" (note which word comes first and which one is capitalized), it is essential that we establish our identity in Christ. But He made me a woman and that's a big deal to me--just as, I assume, being a man is a big deal to you. One's gender certainly changes one's outlook on life and how he/she interacts with the world. It's no small thing. And because there is so much confusion in this area, thanks to the Fall, it's absolutely necessary that we seek God's wisdom in how to handle it. As a feminist, I seek His wisdom in helping me learn what it means to be a WOMAN after His own heart. And, I would encourage you to do the same as a man. Why? Because, as a woman, I interact within relationship in a different way than you do. And, my relationship with Jesus is very important to me, so I want to make sure I get it right--even as a woman.

You said, "Defining oneself as a feminist is to claim victim status and wear it like a justification to get whatever the bearer demands." This is false. I identify as a feminist and I certainly don't play the part of a victim, nor do I try to justify getting whatever I want. Perhaps some people do, but I doubt those people you're thinking of are Christians, for one, and I do not promote this kind of behavior or philosophy. So, you can lay your fears to rest on that point.

You said that Christ didn't invent labels and only took the ones God gave Him. "Messiah" was one of your examples. I'm not sure what point you are trying to make here? Are we then, as followers of Christ, only able to ascribe to the same labels He did? Well, I don't feel comfortable calling myself "Messiah," so...

You said, "God made women to love men and not shove a label in our face that is against our very being." Did you even read the post you are commenting on? This is not at all what I was advocating for. And, I will say it again, the word "feminism" is NOT about being anti-man. You can be pro-woman without being anti-man. Jesus is pro-woman. But He is also pro-man. The words are NOT mutually exclusive. To assume otherwise is like saying, "I like bananas. That means I hate apples, of course." No. That's ridiculous. Please read the post above and see how emphatically I encourage other Christian feminists to be FOR their husbands.

You said, "True sons and daughters of the King want oneness with each other and reject anything that comes in between them." Finally! Something I agree with! Yes! That's true! I, for one, reject a system that tells me that, because I am female, that I am subservient to men. (That's not in the Bible, by the way.) Instead, I look to the perfect model of harmonious relationship--the Triune God--and seek to have that kind of relationship with my husband--who I love with all my heart.

And you're right that the word "feminist" doesn't, in itself reflect male issues. It's not meant to. Men have other avenues to improve themselves as men. This is ours.



Joseph Santorelli said...

@S.E. Thomas: You distort the Bible to fit your will.

Christ came to unify, not divide the world into "men's issues" and "women's issues." Men have no outlets to discuss our issues and any issues we did have would have to be discussed WITH women. God made man a union of male and female. That means any human-made effort to separate the 2 is in direct opposition to God's will.

As much as I dislike feminism I would never go around calling myself a "masculinist" because cutting myself off from considering women would be a rebellion against God.

It seems "Christian feminists" care more about labels and a need to modify Christianity because apparently being "Christian" isn't enough. Good luck explaining that to the Powers That Be someday!

S. E. Thomas said...

Joseph,

You said, "Men have no outlets to discuss our issues and any issues we did have would have to be discussed WITH women."

This is a blatantly false statement. Have you ever heard of men's Bible studies, men's groups, men's clubs, men's outings, men's breakfasts, men's support groups, and the list goes on and on.

And, again, I don't think you really read my post. I think you read the title, got mad because you think you know what feminism is and don't like what you imagine it to be, and then just started spewing combative accusations at me.

Let me tell you a little about myself and perhaps you'll understand me better. When I was three years old my parents moved us to Central America so they could attend language school and begin their career as missionaries. We had to flee Nicaragua when the government started bombing our neighborhood looking for Sandanista terrorists. We went to Haiti briefly, but then returned later to Costa Rica to finish out our 2 1/2 years there. Then we went to Argentina where we lived for a total of 5 years while they served as missionaries and church planters. I accepted Christ at the age of 5/6 in Bolivia and baptized in a river in Argentina when I was 9. We returned to the states when I was 11 and my dad went back to school and pastored a CMA church. I was very involved in church my whole life. I went to a Christian college (JBU) but there fell in love with a man who was controlling, manipulative, and abusive. I had always believed women were meant to be subservient to men, and ended up putting up with the abuse, thinking I deserved it--just for being female. I ended up getting pregnant (after years of saying no). He was Catholic and believed abortion was wrong--until I got pregnant. Then he changed his tune and wanted me to get an abortion. I refused, so he threatened to kidnap her later. But then he said he didn't want his name on the birth certificate "so I couldn't get any money from him." I guess he thought that since he offered to help me get an abortion, that was all he was responsible for. Anyway, I was forced out of school because I was pregnant, one semester shy of graduating.

I went home, lived on $100 a month (given to me by my sister & brother-in-law) and raised my baby girl (who is the most amazing miracle of God, btw!) I haven't seen her biological father since I was 3 mons. pregnant with her. But, God sent me someone else--my now husband. He is a wonderful, compassionate, funny, intelligent man of God. And we get along great! I respect him and love him. He respects me and loves me. And, when we don't get along so great, we pray about it. He adopted my daughter (and claims her as his own) and we have two sons together, who we are raising to be godly men.

So, I love men. I respect men. I think God's idea of creating men in His image was awesome and amazing and wonderful! My husband is very masculine--from the hair on his chest to the way he rolls his eyes and groans when he walks in and I'm watching "Pride and Prejudice" again. And I love it! His masculinity is funny, it's attractive, and, frankly, it's a turn-on to me.

Nothing I've said above counteracts any of these experiences of mine. So, I don't know where you are getting the idea that I'm trying to drive a wedge between men and women. That's the last thing I would do. Just because there are gender issues in the world that I am interested in helping solve, doesn't mean I don't have the goal--harmony between the genders as modeled by the Triune God--firmly in mind.

So, please, before you accuse me again, read my posts. Try to consider what I say in a charitable manner and see my heart. I have one.