Thursday, April 24, 2014

What Christian Feminism Is About


 This post is a response to The Matt Walsh Blog. Click here to read the original article.

Dear Matt Walsh,

I just read your blog article, “Christian Women: Feminism Is Not Your Friend,” posted April 22nd.

I have to say, that although I’m glad to meet another brother in Christ, I found your attitude toward feminism and, apparently, women in general disappointing. First of all, it should be pretty obvious that, as a man, you are standing on somewhat precarious ground when you choose to preach to women about how they should think and what they should and should not expect in terms of how they should be treated by men. Given our vast history and continued battle for equality with men, any man who does so with the purpose of getting women to give up the fight could be accused of succumbing to a conflict of interests. However, I am not writing accuse you of this and will try to simply provide a response to your concerns, taking them at face value.

First, let me point out that you are working under the false assumption that feminism is about securing equal rights. That’s only part of it. It’s about changing the culture. It’s about recognizing that women have value in and of themselves without any reference to men. It’s about teaching women that they can just be who they are without feeling guilty. It’s about creating an environment where women can be safe in their relationships with men and one another—safe to speak their minds without being told they are stupid or should think more like a man, safe to say ‘no’ to sexual advances without feeling like they are taking something that doesn’t belong to them, safe to walk down the street at night without fearing being beaten and then raped to death.

Because you are a man, it’s unlikely you fully understand the genuine fears and self-doubt and emotional sacrifices women are forced to make that have absolutely nothing to do with whether she is paid as highly as a man or whether she can vote. Were those important victories for women? Of course. But, that is not the final goal of feminism. Feminism is about identity, safety, value, being.  And, because feminism is only, in a very small part, about legal rights, it is by no means made obsolete when some male judge condescendingly agrees to “let” us do something (that should’ve been a human right, not just a man’s right)—and probably does it just to get his own wife off his back. Can’t you see that the denial of freedoms and rights are only a symptom of the bigger problem? The problem is how femaleness is viewed—not only by society and the men in our lives, but by ourselves.

Consider the following current trends in the United States today:

“Child sexual abuse is not rare. Retrospective research indicates that as many as 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18. However, because child sexual abuse is by its very nature secretive, many of these cases are never reported” (“Child Sexual Abuse Fact Sheet, 2009.” The National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from: http://nctsn.org/nctsn_assets/pdfs/caring/ChildSexualAbuseFactSheet.pdf)

“Men spend $10 billion on pornography a year. 11,000 new pornographic films are made every year. And in those films, women are not people. In pornography, women are three holes and two hands” (Jensen, Robert. “A Cruel Edge: The Painful Truth About Today’s Pornography—and What Men Can Do About It.” Retrieved April 24, 2014 from: http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/freelance/pornography&cruelty.htm)

“Cultural representation of glamorized degradation has created a situation among the young in which boys rape and girls get raped as a normal course of events (Wolf, Naomi. The Beauty Myth. William Morrow & Co.: New York, 1991. 167.)

“In 2007, intimate partner violence resulted in 2,340 deaths; 70% of the victims were women” (Clark, Cat. “Intimate Partner Violence.” The American Feminist, Fall/Winter 2011, pp. 12-17.)

Females (76%) experienced more domestic violence than males (24%).” (Morgan, Rachel E. and Truman, Jennifer L. “Nonfatal Domestic Violence, 2003-2012.” Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from: http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=4984)

“Implicit messages such as those found in the Twilight series appear elsewhere, too. A newspaper story might describe a crime in a titillating manner or encourage readers to blame the victim. A novel might suggest it is noble for a woman to allow an abusive partner back in her life. A popular song might devalue or objectify women, or a movie might portray domestic violence as a ‘lover’s quarrel’ leading into a romantic interlude,” (Clark, Cat. “Intimate Partner Violence.” The American Feminist, Fall/Winter 2011, pp. 12-17.)

Approximately 90% of rape victims are women (“Get The Facts.” Rape Crisis Center. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from: http://www.rccmsc.org/resources/get-the-facts.aspx.)

Women are more likely than men to think victims should take responsibility for their assault, and women ages 18-24 are, of all female groups, most likely to believe the victim is responsible. (The Havens. Wake Up To Rape Research: Summary Report. 2010: 5.)

And as bad as this is in our country, that doesn’t even touch what happens to women in other countries. Consider, for example, this report on the ongoing child bride phenomenon: http://www.soroptimist.org/whitepapers/WhitePaperDocs/WPPlightChildMailOrderBrides.pdf

After seeing all of this—and this is only the tip of the iceberg—can you still claim that women in this country are just as valued as men? That we have been endowed with all the rights and securities due us? That we have somehow “arrived?” That we have nothing more to fight for? No reason to raise our voices against injustice? No right to demand equality?

But, of course, lest I forget, you also make the mistake of defining “equality” as “sameness.” This is not at all what is meant when women demand equality. We do not demand that the government pay for us to be given sex changes so that we can be men. We don’t want to be men. We want to be fully woman—in all the beauty and even the mess that entails—and know that that’s enough. If a woman believed that the only way she could become equal to men was to become a man, that would completely defeat the purpose of “feminism.” But, frankly, we are already equal (meaning of equal value and capability and responsibility) before God; we just want our husbands and fathers and sons and friends and pastors and bosses and co-workers to wake up and recognize that fact.

A third mistake you make is, I’ll admit, and understandable one, but a mistake nonetheless. You assume that being a feminist and being pro-abortion are inseparable. You assume that it was feminism that created the monster of abortion. First of all, I think it is easy to conflate the ideal of feminism with the feminist movement. These are two very different things. Just as there is the ideal Christian (follower of Christ) and there are the Crusades, which will forever be recorded in the annals of “what you shouldn’t do in the name of Jesus.” So, your claim, “Feminism, they say, exists largely to combat the patriarchal evils of pro-life Christianity,” (aside from being divorced from any reference to whom the “they” is referring to) is deceptive.

Feminism exists because women have consistently throughout history been viewed as “the weaker sex,” “less than men,” “second to man,” “subservient to men,” etc. (And, yes, these are all current, modern ideas.) Culture often teaches us that this is our lot, and we must accept it to be good, desirable, and worthy of love. Men are often sent the message that they get to control, manipulate, belittle, and use women, and they are heartily congratulated when they deign to give women respect (that she should’ve had all along). Feminism exists because there is something wrong with this picture. And, frankly, Christianity has not solved it. (And by Christianity, I do NOT mean Christ or the Bible. I mean the traditional religious practice itself.) Why? Because Christianity is led almost exclusively by men who find these ideas convenient for them and, like an ego-enhancing drug, difficult to avoid.

You wrongly follow the idea that modern, pro-abortion feminists have embraced abortion “logically” somehow stemming from the early anti-abortion feminists. No. Their arguments are anything but logical. There is no such thing as a pro-abortion argument that is an exercise in good logic; they are each one absolute perversions of reason. I have a master’s degree in philosophy, know logic well, and have studied all the arguments on both sides of this issue. Trust me. The pro-abortion ones are bad, bad, bad—often not structurally valid, and always unsound. They utilize every logical fallacy known to man, including blatant lies, straw-man arguments, red herrings, and skewed emotional arguments that hinge on misdefinitions.

But, logic aside, you seem bent on laying the blame of the tragedy of abortion at the feet of feminism. Or, more accurately, at the feet of women. This is baffling to me.

Which gender has exclusively controlled the White House since President Washington? Which gender has consistently held the most seats in the Senate and House of Representatives? Which gender holds the most public offices, attorney degrees, and police officer positions? Which gender holds the most seats as university presidents, deans, provosts, and professors? Which gender owns the most businesses and hires the most employees? Which gender leads the most churches and synagogues and temples? Which gender holds the most positions as physicians, and surgeons, and abortionists? Which gender is most active in the sale, trade, and use of pornography and (mostly female) sex slaves? Which gender is more able and statistically more likely to leave a domestic situation if it doesn’t conform to his personal desires?

The answer to each of these questions is: MEN.

So, who is most in control of our legal system and our culture and how we live our lives? MEN.

And who most benefits from abortion? MEN.

The noisy, angry voices of a few very messed up women make it easy for men to step aside, just like Adam did in the garden (who was right there with Eve the whole time—Gen. 3: 6), and let women take the blame and suffer the consequences for their mistakes. God didn’t let Adam off the hook, though. And He’s not going to let men off the hook for the tragedy of abortion, either, be assured.

Do you know the number one reason why women have abortions? It’s not because they want an abortion. No little girl dreams of growing up, getting sexually used and then disposed of by men, and having one abortion after another. So, why do women have abortions?

“The reasons most frequently cited were that having a child would interfere with a woman’s education, work or ability to care for dependents (74%); that she could not afford a baby now (73%); and that she did not want to be a single mother or was having relationship problems (48%).” (“Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives.” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2005, 37(3):110-118. New York: Guttmacher Institute. Retrieved on April 24, 2014 from: http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3711005.pdf)
 

When I see this, things begin to add up for me. A woman has an abortion when her husband or boyfriend refuses to help support her or the children he creates, when her boss says, “We have no way to help you find childcare,” when her school says, “You are going to lose your scholarship and be kicked out of student housing if you have a child,” when her pastor says, “If we support you, that means we’re condoning what you have done.” The truth is that society (again, largely led by men), does not see pregnancy and childbirth as a natural and expected and beautiful part of womanhood. We see women as good for sex, but burdensome when that sex leads to a baby. So, we tell women that they have a “choice,” when really we mean they have only one choice: abortion. But, abortion is in no way pro-woman. It deeply wounds the woman and pits her against her own children—all the while letting her male user and abuser get away free of consequences so he can mistreat the next woman he meets. As the pro-life feminist group, Feminists For Life (www.feministsforlife.org) says, we force women to choose between her own life and the life of her child; but women should refuse to choose!


Yes, it’s hard to be abandoned by the man who claimed to love you. It’s hard to be a single mom. It’s hard to find a job and support and an education with a child. It’s hard to place your child for adoption, even when he or she came from an unplanned pregnancy. But, when society, including “feminist” organizations like NOW (National Organization for Women), NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League), and Planned Parenthood, tells a woman that she can’t handle these hardships, that she’s not strong enough to do it on her own, that she can’t get by without the job she wants or the education she wants or the love she wants, what are we saying about womanhood?

We’re saying women are weak! That they can’t handle the tough situations! That, without a man, women can’t make it! I wholeheartedly disagree! You see, I was that woman! I was the girl who believed that girls were lesser than boys, who fell in love with an abusive, controlling, self-righteous, manipulative man, whose emotionally abusive boyfriend then kept pushing and pushing and pushing for sex, who finally gave in, who got pregnant, whose boyfriend then demanded she have an abortion, who refused, whose boyfriend then threatened to steal her child but dumped her and abandoned his child instead, whose parents were disappointed, whose school said, “You can’t be here anymore,” who lost her job when the baby was born, who lived on $100 a month, who felt completely alone!

...except for that precious little girl’s smile that lit up the dark places of my world. And a family who came around and helped me out as best they could. And a Church who forgave me and supported me and welcomed me back with open arms. And a God who said, “Despite your mistakes, I’m going to bless you with a beautiful daughter who you will love with your whole heart for the rest of eternity—because I’m a God who loves and romances and blesses, even when you don’t deserve it, just because I can and because I want to.”


Now, I am a Christian woman. I am also emphatically pro-life. I am married to an amazing man and mother to an intelligent, hardworking daughter and two sons who are equally so. But, I am also a feminist. I am a feminist because I understand the difference between feminism, the ideal, and the issue-driven, political, feminist movement. And, I am a Christian because I recognize the difference between Jesus Christ and His followers.

Feminism itself simply means being pro-woman. We’re, literally for woman, meaning not against woman nor indifferent toward woman. And, Who defined what it means to be a woman? Who decided to make woman in His image? (Gen. 1:27) Who was the first to honor woman? Who gave His life and conquered death for woman? Who gave woman a free and clear, direct path to relationship with God—without having to go through a parent or spouse or priest first? Jesus did these things! Jesus, who is also the Creator (John 1:1-3), and a member of the Triune God, was the first feminist. He was the first to be pro-woman. As it happens, He’s also very pro-man, having done all of this for man, too—showing that one need not be anti-man to be pro-woman or vice versa.

I am the founder and president of The Coalition of Christian Feminists (www.facebook.com/christianfeminists)—a small group of men and women who recognize that feminism is an ideal defined by God Himself, who seek to bring our worldviews under His direction in all things, and who take the Triune God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) as the correct relationship model for marriage (Jesus, Man, and Woman)—with perfect harmony between the three. We avoid getting distracted by particular issues, such as whether or not a woman should be a pastor, but place all these things at the feet of Jesus, seeking to keep Him in sight at all times.


Just because certain self-proclaimed “feminists” are angry and noisy, doesn’t give them the exclusive right to define the term “feminism.” Because feminism is an ideal, and because right and wrong, good and bad, only make sense in reference to our Creator, isn’t it preferable to let Him define it for us?  

One amazing thing about God is His ability and proclivity to redeem. He doesn’t wipe everything out and start over from scratch. He takes the little that is there and does something new with it—imbuing it with His own self. Even in Genesis 1:1, we see that His act of creation of Earth and mankind was an act of redemption. It was not, in that description, creation ex nihilo (out of nothing); there was something there, variously described as waters, the “deep” (which had a surface), darkness, chaos, a void. And, so God stepped into this mess, became the Light in the darkness, and turned something ugly and empty into something beautiful and full and valuable. He did the same thing as Jesus Christ. He stepped into the mess and offered a way out through His own death and resurrection.

So, I think it is a mistake to allow people who deny their Creator to define our ideals. Yes, the word “feminism” has been taken to mean something ugly, something confused, something perverse. But the word itself is a good word. It has a good base meaning. And, I think it’s time we take it back, give it to Christ, and let Him do what He does best—redeem it for His glory. We’ve given up enough territory to the Enemy. It’s time we started taking some back.

May you be blessed,

Susan

35 comments:

Joseph Santorelli said...

And you just committed the "No True Scotsman" fallacy. You also fail to look at the very word "feminism" which gleans with female hubris. Why should equality be branded with a feminine label? There are many issues men face that feminists and society at large sweep aside. Women get preferential treatment in nearly everything from college admission (over 60% of college grads are women). There are thousands of advocacy groups for women and none for men. Just because there are more male representatives it doesn't mean they use that influence to advocate for men.

Lastly, the statistical facts are not on your side. The bottom line is a majority of women (55%) voted for the most pro-abortion president in history (http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/report/2012/12/12/47916/how-women-changed-the-outcome-of-the-election/) and were the majority of voters (53%). To say that abortion isn't supported by a majority of women is to deny the statistical facts. Men were far more likely to support the pro-life candidates. Women have always been reliable Democrats and nothing is going to change that. Look at how they treated Sarah Palin, a Feminist for Life! Yeah, women really supported her in 2008 (http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2008/11/05/behind-obamas-victory-women-open-up-a-record-marriage-gap).

Maybe "Christian feminists" need to let the false god known as feminism go. It does the same thing to men (dismisses our opinions and negates our God given dignity) that the boys club did to women. Christ did not teach an eye for an eye. Feminism is just that.

S. E. Thomas said...

Thank you, Joseph, for your comment. I understand what the "No True Scotsman" fallacy is, and I can see why you think I commit it here. There are definitely some parallels, but one key difference. In the fallacy, there is no legitimate definition provided for the new sentiment. I, however, have provided the original meaning of being "pro-woman" in that I refer to the Creator's definition. I could make the claim, and defend it, that it is members of the feminist movement who are actually committing that fallacy by aligning their definitions of womanhood with things that are perverse before God.

To your second point, perhaps you missed the part where I specifically showed how being pro-woman does NOT entail being anti-man. This was a long post, so it could have easily been missed. I would go further (and did in my last post) to say that to be truly pro-woman, you MUST also be pro-man, as this is what best reflects the model of the Triune God.

As far as the statistics you quote, I don't have any problem admitting that men have had their share of struggles. But this blog post just isn't about that. It's okay to sometimes focus on one issue at a time. Right now, I'm talking about the struggles women face and the reasons why feminism exists and the reasons why a godly version of feminism is needed today.

However, I will completely reject your assertion that women are more pro-abortion than men or that the majority of women are pro-abortion. Your statistics in no way support those conclusions. People vote based on many factors, not strictly on the abortion issue.

Molly said...

I really appreciated your response to Matt Walsh's article, Susan. While I do not identify as a Christian, I do identify as a feminist and love your assertion that feminism at its core is being pro-woman. The main factor that drove me away from Christianity was the institutionalized demeaning of women and the emphasis that is put modesty and purity. Reading your thoughtful, well-researched words make me think that perhaps there's hope for a more inclusive brand of Christianity.

linddykal said...

I love this article. I wish I were half this articulate about my views as a Christian feminist. Well said.

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, I do not know anyone who is for abortion. I do, however, know people who are Pro-choice which is not the same as Pro-abortion. Pro-choice means that a person deserves the right to make their own decisions about their health care, to decide whether or not to become pregnant, whether or not to have a baby/child, whether or not to give what will, if everything goes well, be a baby/child up for adoption, and whether or not to get a legal, safe medical procedure, regardless of whether or not that medical procedure happens to be one that will terminate a pregnancy. Pro-choice is not and has never been about, forcing someone to do anything against their will. It is about respecting each person, their situation, their feelings, their emotions, their health, and supporting and trusting them to make the decision that is best for them, whatever that decision may be. It is also about supporting the right of people to have access to comprehensive sex-education, birth control, health care, equal pay, child care, etc. so that the abortion rate does not increase, but rather stays stable and/or decreases. I have read the stories of people who have had an abortion and heard a person speak who had had one, and I learned from them that while it may or may not have been an easy decision for them to make, they did not regret it because it was what was best for them. I do hope that one day, abortions will no longer be necessary because the world will have become perfect, but until that day comes and all pregnancies are completely safe, wanted, healthy, complication free, and social and economic injustices no longer exist, I will continue to support causes that work to keep abortion safe, legal, and rare, causes supporting equal pay, equal rights, increasing access to health care, making the environment safer, causes that work towards fixing the criminal justice system, and many other social justice causes.

S. E. Thomas said...

Molly, thank you so much for your comment and for your encouraging words. I want to tell you how sorry I am that you felt demeaned for being female within other Christian circles. I was raised Christian. My dad is still a pastor, my parents were missionaries when I was a kid, and I've attended church nearly every Sunday since the week after my birth. I've seen and experienced a lot of wonderful things and a lot of... well, let's just say things that make my heart hurt.

One thing that I've learned through it all is that, no matter where you find them, people are just people. We're funny. We're annoying. We're kind. We're emotionally exhausted. We're self-centered. We're generous. We're messed up. We're angry. We're thoughtful. We're empathetic.

Know what I mean? People are huge bundles of contradictions. We can be kind, generous, and compassionate one minute, and the next minute flipping off someone who cuts us off in traffic. We can listen with tears in our eyes to our friend who's boyfriend just dumped her, and then turn around and take it out on our husband, who did nothing. And, we can go to church and smile and worship and feel and believe all the right things, and then gossip on the phone about the lady in the front row who opened a bag of chips during the sermon.

We don't mean to be hypocritical. We don't mean to be mean or thoughtless. And we don't mean to misrepresent our Savior, Jesus Christ by our bad behavior, irreverent attitudes, or misapplications of Scripture.

But we do it.

And, as much as I'd like to exclude myself from that group, I know I can't. I'm just as guilty as anyone.

I guess that's why I still need a Savior. And, that's why Jesus is so incredibly COOL! Because He is the ONLY one who I CAN exclude from that description, and He chose to die for my pathetic messed up little self anyway!

And, that's why I can still go to church, and sit with my other messed-up friends who also happen to know they need a Savior. (But, I can also take what they say with a grain of salt--checking the Scripture itself whenever there's a hick-up. And I can forgive them when they screw up--and they will. And I can hope they'll forgive me when I screw up--and I will!)

So, Molly, again, I'm sorry you had a sour experience with Christians. We're a sour bunch sometimes. No excuses. Just the truth.

But, I also encourage you to take another look at Jesus. Unlike the rest of us, He's not one to let you down. And, since womanhood was His masterpiece, He is the perfect one to show you how beautiful you are, how valued you are, and how loved you are--just as you are.

Blessings, girl!

S. E. Thomas said...

For the Anonymous commenter:

I know there is a big push within the abortion industry and pro-choice/pro-abortion community to differentiate between being pro-choice and pro-abortion. They do this because they know abortion isn't cool with a lot of people, once they actually sit down and think about what it is.

So, what's the difference between pro-choice and pro-abortion? There is NO difference. It's the same thing. Pro-choice is the political euphemism for pro-abortion. If you identify as "pro-choice" you MUST be willing to vote to keep abortion legal. Otherwise, you're not pro-choice. So, how is voting to keep abortion legal NOT being pro-abortion? That is precisely what it means to be pro-abortion--acting in a way to keep abortion (the killing of the unborn) as a legal, acceptable practice.

Now, I do understand that there are some people (probably most people who identify as pro-choice but not pro-abortion, actually) who wouldn't have an abortion themselves, who wouldn't encourage others to do it, and who think that--at least some kinds of abortion, like late-term abortion or sex-selective abortion--is wrong. But, what these people may not understand is that the abortion industry and Planned Parenthood and NARAL and NOW, etc., are not interested in keeping abortion legal ONLY for certain, extreme cases. They want to keep it legal for any reason whatsoever at any point in the pregnancy whatsoever. So, if a woman, the day before she is due to deliver a healthy baby boy, thinks, "Nah... I don't want this kid, after all." She can go in and have the child torn to pieces within her. But, it's even worse than that, Planned Parenthood is lobbying for the right to infanticide. They want it to be legal to strangle a baby born alive. They said while lobbying for this in Florida about a year ago, "We believe that decision should be up to the woman, her family, and her doctor."

So, when people say they're pro-choice, that means they will vote to keep abortion legal and that they are either OK with the "abortion on demand without apology" mantra and all the ugliness it entails or they just don't know what they're really signing up for.

And, one last thing, when the abortion industry (which sells abortions and makes billions off of it!) tells you that should have a "choice" over your own "healthcare"--what they mean is, "We want you to pay us to kill your child and believe this is about women's rights, not human rights, and that we're doing it out of the goodness of our hearts, not for the money." And the last thing they want is for a woman who finds herself in an unplanned pregnancy to believe she really has a choice. They want her to think she has only ONE choice--to abort.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I feel like you and Matt would really agree if you didn't use the words "feminism" and "feminist". "Feminism" is not just a word - it has deep emotional ties for so many people. Sure, you can cite what it meant historically, or to specific individuals, but you can't remove the instant idea someone gets when they hear a word like "feminism". "Gay" most certainly did not mean homosexual until fairly recently in history, but no one uses it with it's original meaning anymore. Recognizing and fighting for women to be recognized as equal in worth is a very Christian idea, but maybe not what socially defined "feminism" is about anymore.

S. E. Thomas said...

Second Anonymous Poster,

You may be right about us probably agreeing at base. And, you are right about how the word "feminism" has changed in meaning/usage. An interesting thing about words is that they do change over time as new understandings are arrived at and as cultures evolve. Some words, of course, are harder to change than others. Perhaps feminism is one of those words, but just because it is hard, does not mean it is not a noble or worthy task to pursue the development of a deeper, richer, healthier perspective within it. Feminism at base means "pro-woman." And there's nothing to say that being pro-woman is a bad thing, despite what the feminist movement has done to the word. There is currently a recognized shift within modern thought and philosophy toward a less extreme brand of feminism and this is something I want to examine and help define, if I am able.

Thanks so much for your comment. I can see you are a peacemaker at heart.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE THIS. THANK YOU for proving that you CAN be pro-woman AND Christian AND pro-life all in one! I'm SO TIRED of being told I am not feminist because I am extremely pro-life. Urgh. Anyway, thank you and God bless!

S. E. Thomas said...

Wow! Thanks so much for your comment! I am so glad you were encouraged by this post! I am the founder of the Coalition of Christian Feminists, which you can find at Facebook.com/christianfeminists. And, I also highly recommend Feminists for Life(www.feministsforlife.org), a pro-life mainstream group of feminists. I am a member of their organization and have an article coming out in their next journal.

We gals should stick together, build one another up, and encourage each other. God bless!

Dustin said...

"Feminism exists because women have consistently throughout history been viewed as “the weaker sex,” “less than men,” “second to man,” “subservient to men,” etc. (And, yes, these are all current, modern ideas.) We have been taught that this is our lot, and we must accept it to be good, desirable, and worthy of love. Men have been taught that they get to control, manipulate, belittle, and use women, and they are heartily congratulated when they deign to give women respect (that she should’ve had all along). Feminism exists because there is something wrong with this picture. And, frankly, Christianity has not solved it. Why? Because Christianity is led almost exclusively by men who find these ideas convenient for them and, like an ego-enhancing drug, difficult to avoid."

I get very confused in this part of your post though I admit I may be missing some your nuance.

What women are taught and what men are taught you state in absolutes, though I will assume that you do not mean it that way...it is not what my question hinges upon, but it does pertain to it.

The confusion arises in me when you assert feminism addresses what Christianity has not.

My question is in these two "entities" of feminism and Christianity, which is the standard? Does Christianity need modification? I may be reading too much into the language used; or I may be stating what it is (by presupposition) loaded in what has been written.

You may be addressing only the ills: the brands of Christianity that have not lived to what is truly taught - on that I agree with you. The manner in which you stated what you did, implied all Christians - on this I disagree with you.

Man and woman in equal partnership in accordance with God's unique design of the sexes, with their unique character, functionality, strength, weaknesses, and needs - in which the other uniquely meets all of their partners needs. This union designed by God and is wanting for nothing. This is what a Christian marriage should look like, if it does not and claims to be - they do not understand the message or the context of the message as is taught in the Bible.

Men are inherently bad, but this cannot reflect on Christianity (only their misled version: see Westboro Baptists)because by association Christ is shamed by these men's actions. Inadvertent as it may have been, I think that this paragraph reads this way, and has that very unfortunate and unintended side-effect.

JJ said...

Thank you for your wonderfully articulated response to Matt's blog.
After reading his article, all I could think was somehow he's missed the point.
What you have written resonates with me, I feel like you explained how I am feeling, what my intention is, in a way that the word feminism doesn't satisfactorily do anymore - it means so many things now, most of them are perceived as negative. I don't want to have to argue over the word, I am fine if the word changes, but the solution is not to throw everything away.
Pro-woman, pro-man, freedom.

S. E. Thomas said...

Dustin, thanks so much for your comment. Perhaps that paragraph could use some clarification, though as it is written, it is not, strictly speaking, false. Still, I did not mean to imply that ALL men nor ALL women have been taught those things nor, necessarily, taught them in such a blatant way. I was speaking in generalities (perhaps too dogmatically) in an attempt to illuminate the dangerous results (that often arise from subtleties) of a culture that denies the equal value of both genders.

You wrote: "The confusion arises in me when you assert feminism addresses what Christianity has not.My question is in these two "entities" of feminism and Christianity, which is the standard? Does Christianity need modification?"

Very good questions. To answer, I must first clarify what I mean by "Christianity." I do NOT mean Christ. And I do NOT mean the Bible. I mean the religious institutions--the particular male-dominated church bodies and the traditions that have arisen from human, religious practices. Basically, our attempts at following Christ have often led to very disappointing results and have given Jesus a bad reputation. But, before I am misunderstood, I'm not blaming men alone for this. Nor am I suggesting that the solution is to have a female-dominated church. Not at all. Women are just as flawed as men and just as in need of a Savior. It just is what it is. It's a result of the Curse that affects us all, despite our best intentions. But, the fact remains, that Christianity (the human religious practice) has its flaws. One of these is that women are often taught they were created to be subservient to men, despite that the Bible never says so. There are just some traditional beliefs still circulating today within churches that are blatant misunderstandings of both Scripture itself and of Christ's design of women (and men). (In fact, a man in my Sunday school class said that very thing just three weeks ago in a church that, comparatively, is very forward thinking in this area.)

So, not sure if I answered your question, but basically I think that Scripture, not male-centered religious traditions, should inform BOTH our Christianity and our view of womanhood. Sometimes it does; sometimes it doesn't. (Could be because we don't read our Bibles enough!)

I think you and I agree on this matter, and I will edit my post to make it more precise to what I am trying to say. So, thank you for pointing that out.

One thing, though: You said, "Man and woman in equal partnership in accordance with God's unique design of the sexes, with their unique character, functionality, strength, weaknesses, and needs - in which the other uniquely meets all of their partners needs."

I mostly agree. I would revise it, though, in your use of the word "all." I don't think a man can meet all of a woman's needs; nor can a woman meet all of a man's needs. Only Christ can do that. But, I'm betting you didn't mean to imply otherwise.

God bless, Dustin, and thanks so much for your thoughtful response.

S. E. Thomas said...

JJ, Thanks so very much for your comment! I am glad some of what I wrote resonated with you. You are correct. After all, we're all in this together.

Blessings!

Donna Searight Simons said...

I loved reading your blog about Christian feminism. Actually, I've used the "Christian feminist" term to describe myself for many years, but I never knew there was a Coalition of Christian Feminists out there! I would love to see the day when girls and women love and embrace themselves for who they are, without having a man at their side. A far-fetched dream of mine is to complete the writing of a mini-series about Susan B. Anthony and the trials she went through during her lifetime. Thanks again for your blog!

S. E. Thomas said...

Donna! Thanks so much for you response. I'm so glad to meet another Christian feminist! I'd love it if you connected with the Coalition of Christian Feminists through Facebook: facebook.com/christianfeminists I founded this group about a year ago and recruited a friend of mine, Lyn Hedges, as a co-admin. I attend an Christian Missionary Alliance church; she is Catholic--so together we can cover more territory. Thanks so much for reading this post and for your thoughtful comment!

Anonymous said...

Actually, Planned Parenthood has health care clinics which help to educate people about their health care needs, help them to afford health care, aids them in finding the right birth control for them if they wish to use it, do STD testing, provide comprehensive sex education, and have helped to prevent thousands of pregnancies. They are not in the business of selling abortions and abortions make up only 3% of the numerous services that they provide.
They are, however, in the business of helping people to be educated, to plan their pregnancies, and to make responsible decisions about their health care as well reproductive health care.
No reputable, trusted, licensed doctor would or should ever force someone to get an abortion, and if someone says that they want to get a sex-selective abortion, it is most likely a sign of abuse and/or the person being in a culture that has taught them to value one gender over the other. Also, Planned Parenthood has conducted adoption referrals, not everyone who goes into a Planned Parenthood goes there to get an abortion, services vary by clinic, not all of their clinics even conduct abortions, late-term abortions have to be done in a hospital, and they do their best to ensure that anyone who enters is well-informed about the choices they have for their health care needs.
Personally, I have no problem with keeping my health care decisions private and between myself, a trusted doctor or doctors, and/or any family that I have, since any decisions that I make about my health care, including my reproductive health care, are personal, private, and not the business of strangers let alone the government.
Another thing, the only reason I know of for why people would go to a crook like Gosnell is out of desperation, being poor, and not being able to get to a safe clinic and/or a hospital that can help them.
The majority of abortions occur as soon as possible because the person does not want to go through with a pregnancy, for a perfectly valid reason or reasons, and I would never force someone to go through with a pregnancy, especially if it was going to cause them severe mental, emotional, and/or physical harm, just as I would never force someone to give a child up for adoption or to raise a child.
Another thing, late term abortions are extremely rare, and are most often due to any number of complications that occurred late in the pregnancy. By the way, I recognize that there are people who are against abortion and think it is immoral no matter what and I respect that. What I do have a problem with is the people who seek to make a medical procedure illegal without exceptions for everyone which only ends up discriminating against the poor people who desperately need to get this particular medical procedure.
Oh, and to quote Ms. Clinton "Women's rights are human rights."

S. E. Thomas said...

Thank you, Anonymous commenter for your comment. I respect your right to choose what to believe and how to vote. However, I would encourage you to do a little more research into Planned Parenthood. You claim only 3% of their services are abortions. That is very deceptive reporting on their part, as they unbundle their services when reporting them. For example, a woman comes in for an abortion. They may talk to her for about 5 minutes, hand her a referral for a mammogram (which she can't get there), give her a condom, charge her (way too high) for a pregnancy test, giver her a preparatory exam for the abortion, give her some drugs, give her the abortion. But they will report each of these things as a separate service--even though the woman came in for an abortion (or was convinced by them to get one when she came in for a pregnancy test). In 2010 they saw about 3 million clients and performed 324,008 abortions (at least 1 in 10). Fiscally speaking, is about 98% of their business, not 3%. It is a MAJOR money maker for them and they are, by far, the largest sellers of abortion in this country. And don't be deceived that, because they qualify as a non-profit that they don't make money. Their abortionists make millions each year--MILLIONS! Non-profit is a tax status. It has NOTHING to do with how much they can pay their abortionists (who are mostly men, btw).

I realize that there are some people who work at PP and genuinely think they are helping women, but there is a bigger purpose at work within that organization that is completely and utterly destructive to women(not to mention their unborn children--and those who are already born. Did you know they're lobbying in Florida for the legalization of infanticide?).

If you want to be sure to exercise intellectual integrity in your support of them, here are some sites you should check out:

The site of a former Planned Parenthood director:
http://www.abbyjohnson.org/

Some facts about Planned Parenthood's business:
http://exposeplannedparenthood.net/get-the-facts/qa-about-planned-parenthood/

A documentary about what goes on inside the abortion industry:
http://www.voiceofjohn.org/

And a news site dedicated to publishing stories that pertain to life issues:
http://www.lifesitenews.com/

A few more thoughts in response to your comment.

One, I don't recognize any reason as a valid reason for taking an innocent person's life away.

Two, when people talk about the evils of "forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy," what they are really saying is that nine months of a woman's life are more valuable than the entire life of her child.

Three, everyone is pro-life. We're all pro-our-own-lives. I just think we should also be pro-other-people's-lives. Why is that so hard?

Four, as a feminist, I believe women's rights are very important. However, I believe women's rights should start for them in the womb. I believe an unborn woman deserves equal protection as those who have been born.

Five, abortion promotes a culture of death and destruction, and it doesn't actually solve anything. It makes bad situations worse. It pushes us to start evaluating other humans based on our own standards of value: Are they healthy enough? Perfect enough? Loved enough? White enough? Who the &$#@! are we to make these kinds of judgments? Who are we to pass judgment on other people--not for their crimes, but based on our own convenience? It sickens me, truly! It breaks my heart. It makes me think that this nation, for all its wonderful qualities is deeply, deeply ill and deserves no good thing--not as long as we pressure women to kill their own children and ask them to swallow the lie that it's for their own good and it's their right.

*sigh*

OK... I'm just too sad now to go on.

I really do hope you the best, though. I think you have some good intentions and a true desire to help women, but I have to say I believe you are going about it the wrong way.

Lyn said...

I invited Abby Johnson to weigh in here, she wrote an excellent article about the 3% claim. You can read it here:

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/153699-exposing-the-planned-parenthood-business-model

Blessings,
Lyn

S. E. Thomas said...

Thanks so much, Lyn! Excellent article!

Tony said...

S.E. Thomas:

From reading Matt's blog and your response, my reaction is that either you or I are not understanding what Matt tried to say.

I take Matt's blog as saying that today's mainstream feminist movement has gone way too far and is not doing anyone any good.

And then when I read your blog, the ideas you express really have nothing to do with today's mainstream feminist movement, although it does fall in line with where the feminist movement always should have been.

I'm not sure if Matt ever got back to you, but I doubt he has much disagreement with where you are in your ideas and where he thinks women should be.

And the ideas you talk about fall in line with both the current Pope's and JPII's ideas on the subject as well.

Good luck with your campaign of converting women over to your more rational and realistic feminism.

Oh and some of your ideas are not ideas that should only be attributed to women. Everyone should be free to walk down the street without fear, not just women. That's just a movement of safer streets, nothing inherently female there.

S. E. Thomas said...

Tony, Thanks so much for your thoughtful response. No, Matt never got back to me, but that's okay. Perhaps he will once he gets done wading through the many comments on his own blog.

I realize that, perhaps, Matt wrote thinking of an extreme of feminism, but that is not at all what he said.

In fact, near the beginning of his post he said, "Everyday I hear from people who tell me they are ‘pro-life feminist’ or ‘Christian feminist.’ Yet millions of modern feminists would respond that such a thing is not possible. Feminism, they say, exists largely to combat the patriarchal evils of pro-life Christianity."

So, he seems to recognize that there is a different, Christ-centered, pro-woman ideology out there, but hasn't educated himself enough to understand what it's about, despite that he hears of it "every day". Instead, he has allowed non-Christian feminism to shape his understandings and then lectures Christian women about how they should or should not identify. In this way, he makes the implicit claim that if Christian women found even a few tenets of feminism or the feminist ideal appealing, that they would not be able to think clearly enough to differentiate between Christ's manner of valuing women and the movement's manner of beating men down to bring women up.

In the language of logic, his argument against Christian feminism is a straw man argument. He is arguing against something that isn't even real--at least, not in an exclusive manner across all brands of Christian, feminist thought or practice.

Now, I don't wish him ill-will due to this confusion on his part. This is a very difficult topic and one that is constantly changing. Some of the accusations he labels against feminism have been true in some cases--at least, in regard to the non-Christian feminist movement. And, these evils are so heart-wrenching that it's difficult to disengage enough to unpack the truth from the lies. His answer is to throw out all things even remotely "feminist," claiming the term itself is too far gone to redeem. I just happen to disagree. I'm sick of conceding territory to the enemy. And, I'm sick of people telling me I can't be feminist and pro-life or feminist and a Christian. And, frankly, I'm not the only one.

Anyway, thanks so much for your encouragement and your hope for a better, more rational, Christ-centered ideal of feminism. That is my ultimate goal. (facebook.com/christianfeminists)

Oh, and to your last point. I agree that men, too, should feel safe walking down the street. Absolutely.

But, there is something inherently female in the fear itself.

Interestingly, though, men are about 30% more likely to be victims of crime in general, including murders. (Here's that source: http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv12.pdf)

But, "women consistently report, on average, fear of crime that is three times higher than males." (Here's that source: http://wcr.sonoma.edu/v4n3/Manuscripts/scott.pdf).

I believe the fact that women make up approximately 90% of sexual assault & rape victims and that 1 in four women have already been sexually victimized (a much higher number than men), is a key factor in understanding this unfortunate feminine characteristic.

Joseph Santorelli said...

"small group of men and women who recognize that feminism is an ideal defined by God Himself, who seek to bring our worldviews under His direction in all things"

Where in the Bible was the word feminism ever used? Right, no where! Jesus did not define exclusive labels for human to parade around in the face of others as a power coin. In fact, Jesus did the exact opposite and included people who weren't even Jews like Himself! That hardly sounds like a feminist to any thinking person! You ARE defining by your standards and yes that's makes this argument another "No True Scotsman" fallacy.

I stand by my claim that women are more pro-abortion than men (http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/314640/abortion-and-gender-gap-numbers-ramesh-ponnuru).

Lastly, when you "talk about the struggles women face" it always devolves into a "men are responsible" issue. You cannot JUST discuss women's issues because human beings are not JUST women. You no doubt have prescriptions for the problem you claim and those prescriptions are going to have an impact on men. As a result we do have the God-given dignity to discuss and refute any action you expect us to take. This is the problem with feminist thinking. It isolates women when in reality (secular or spiritual) women are NOT isolated beings. Imagine if those "patriarchs" said "oh the society we created wasn't for women so you should just stay out of it and stay silent." Well, some people tried that and it led to a revolution (feminism). Do you really want to repeat history so you can get "an eye for an eye?" Pretty sure Jesus put that one to rest, but if you know better lead on! Don't expect thinking men and women to follow you over the intellectual cliff.

S. E. Thomas said...

Joseph,

Please reconsider this portion of that quote: "...that feminism is an ideal defined by God..."

The "ideal" is defined by God. I never claimed the word "feminism" was in the Bible. Of course, I believe in the Triune God, and that term is never used in the Bible, either.

The ideal, which I thought I explained, is being "pro-woman" and the way I define it is certainly NOT based on my own criteria. I specifically stated that we should look to the Creator to define what it means to be pro-woman. I also stated the same about how we should learn what it means to be pro-man. So, once again, I'm not succumbing to faulty logic or any fallacy--at least, not the one you mention. I have a master's degree in philosophy. I've spent years examining arguments and studying logic. I can spot a fallacy. This isn't one.

I don't know how I can put this more simply. I'm not against men. Being a feminist has NOTHING to do with being anti-man. Please understand this, as it is crucial for you to be able to enter into a discussion with me about these issues.

Thank you for citing a source to defend your claim that women are more pro-abortion than men. I will point out a few things. One, this is only one poll. Two, the numbers in this poll are very, very close. Three, there is absolutely no data within this survey to indicate a correlation between feminism and being pro-abortion. So, has this poll changed your mind from being against feminism to being against women in general? Sounds like you are using this poll to lay the blame for the tragedy of abortion at the feet of women.

You said: "Lastly, when you 'talk about the struggles women face' it always devolves into a 'men are responsible' issue." Hmmm... I'm just citing facts. Often, yes, men are responsible--at least, in part. However, nowhere have I nor will I suggest that women are either without their share of faults nor superior to men. Not sure what else you want from me.

You said, "You cannot JUST discuss women's issues because human beings are not JUST women." This is a false statement. Of course, I can discuss only female issues. That is one of the major philosophical points of feminism, actually--that we can just be who we are as women without any reference to men, neither positive nor negative. For example, if a female friend and I discussed her bad menstrual cramps, what does that have to do with men? It's just not about men, for good or bad. Not everything is about men. And, for that matter, not everything is about women. Men have their private male experiences that have nothing to do with us. I'm okay with that.

You said, "You no doubt have prescriptions for the problem you claim and those prescriptions are going to have an impact on men." Yes. You're right. You may not believe me, but "my prescription" is simply to pass the buck on to Jesus Christ. He is the one with the answers and, yes, they most certainly will (or should) have an impact on men. (Women, too, in equal measure.)

You said, "As a result we do have the God-given dignity to discuss and refute any action you expect us to take." OK... what action am I asking you to take exactly? I just hope to encourage both genders to base their identity in Christ.

The rest of your post is baffling to me. You keep accusing me of promoting views I don't have and being a man-hater (which I most certainly am not) and then arguing against a figment of your own creation. This is called a straw man argument. It is also a fallacy. I really think you have completely misread my post and misunderstood my tone.

Joe Santo said...

So let me get this straight. Since you have a man-issues degree that makes you infallible? Wow, that's impressive! Human beings routinely let emotion cloud their logic. I guess since you are immune to that you are better than the rest of us? OK!

The difference between feminism and Triune God is that God reveals His 3 persons to us clearly and gives us titles for them explicitly. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ARE terms used in Bible. Feminism is not!

The issues commonly associated with feminism have to do with culture and politics, not menstrual cramps. Of coarse however if your gynecologist is a male then you have to discuss it with him. Also, if men are going to be gynecologists we do need to know about them. When my wife and I are intimate during her cramping period it eases her pain greatly. If she kept that to herself she'd needlessly suffer. God did not make men and women different to give either some secret to hold over the other.

The very etymology of the word feminism applies a feminine label to something that should be non-gendered. Why? It's a subtle verbal attack. You may not think so but since its in your favor of coarse you wouldn't think so. Isn't that "privilege" as the sisterhood says?

Much of what you have written is about division, not unity. Last I checked, Jesus preached unity, not division! Women and men may have different experiences, but those differences were meant to be shared to help each other grow outside themselves. You clearly demonstrated that feminism is about dividing men and women into issues and secrets they keep from the other. I think I found the answer I was looking for here and I'm not the only one.

Datruthis07 said...

Joe Santo I completely agree with you. I find it disturbing this feminist emphasis on "being a woman without any reference to men positive or negative". This is NOT Christian and directly flies in the face of the Biblical understanding of man and woman call to become one flesh. The truth of the matter is that men and women have a profound effect on each other and efforts to isolate the genders from each other is fleeing from the call for charity and unity in Christ. "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galations 3:28)

I also understand why women have this desire to define themselves separate from men because so many men have hurt and abused women. I also believe that women should get their identity from their relationship with Jesus Christ and not from the men in their lives. However, I truly believe that this feminist desire to define themselves without any reference to men is not Christian and not in accord with God's design. As humans we find ourselves by giving ourselves away in love and sacrifice. Most men and women realize this reality by giving themselves to their beloved in marriage. In marriage, this self-sacrificial love places the beloved as more important than oneself. I do not see identifying oneself with a feminist ideology is helpful in achieving this call.

I understand that not all women get married, but that does not mean you "don't need men" and have no duty towards them. God willed for us to be born into families and so most of us have fathers and brothers or at least people in our lives who fill these roles and this is a GOOD thing. Learning to give and receive love from the opposite sex helps us to stretch outside our selfishness and helps to love like Christ did. We also receive unique affirmation from the opposite sex which also is part of the Creator's good and beautiful design.

Verso L'Alto.

S. E. Thomas said...

Joe, of course you have found "the answers you were looking for." You refuse to see anything else. Because you refuse to really listen, you will never understand. In this last post of yours you have begun making personal insults, so I'm about to be done with you. But, I will make one last effort at reason.

For example, here is one of your accusations: "Much of what you have written is about division, not unity. Last I checked, Jesus preached unity, not division!"

Let's examine it in the terms of logic, shall we? Here is your argument written in standard form:

1. You have written about division. (Explicit)
2. You have not written about unity. (Explicit)
3. Jesus preached unity. (Explicit)
4. Jesus did not preach division. (Explicit)
5. We are supposed to behave the way Jesus did. (Implicit)
C. Therefore, you are acting opposite to what Jesus would want you to do.(Implicit)

Is that a fair representation?

Basic logic lesson:

There are two standards for evaluating arguments: "validity" and "soundness." A valid argument has premises (the lines with numbers) that lead up to a conclusion (the line that starts with C.) The parts of an argument may be "explicit," meaning stated, or "implicit," meaning meant to be understood. I have labeled them as such. An argument's "validity" is about its structure--about how the pieces fit together based on the rules of logic and whether or not they lead to the conclusion in a certain way. For an argument to be "sound" (worthy of our trust), it must first be valid (correct structure) and also all of its premises must be true. If the premises of a valid argument are all true, the conclusion will ALWAYS be true. If an argument is not valid, it cannot be sound, regardless of whether or not the conclusion happens to be true.

For example, this is a valid argument, but not a sound one:

1. All dogs are brown.
2. That animal is a dog.
3. That animal is brown.

You can see that it is structurally valid, but premise 1 is false, so the argument itself is not sound.

(See following reply.)

S. E. Thomas said...

(Continued from last reply.)
Let's first examine your argument based on validity. In premises 1 & 2, you use the term "written about." But in your contrasting premises about Jesus (3 & 4), you switch to the word "preach." In doing so, you intend for me to believe that the two words mean the same thing. They do not. This is a built-in logical fallacy, which renders your argument invalid. Therefore, it cannot be sound.

However, let's also evaluate its premises for their truth values--just for fun.

Premise 1 is true. I have written about division. Division exists. I have written about it.

Premise 2 is false. Here is a passage taken directly out of this post: "I am the founder and president of The Coalition of Christian Feminists (www.facebook.com/christianfeminists)—a small group of men and women who recognize that feminism is an ideal defined by God Himself, who seek to bring our worldviews under His direction in all things, and who take the Triune God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) as the correct relationship model for marriage (Jesus, Man, and Woman)—with perfect harmony between the three.”

As you can see, the model I promote for the relationship between the gender is not an abstract concept, but a Person—God Himself. I use the word "harmony." So, if you think God displays “unity” in His nature, then I most definitely write about (and preach) unity.

Premise 3 is true, but deceptive. Jesus did preach that people were supposed to seek unity with other believers (John 13:34) and to love their enemies (Matt. 5:44), but he did not preach that we should be unified with the enemies of the cause of Christ.

Premise 4 is false. Jesus actually said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-- 36 a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'” (Matt. 10:34-36.) Jesus does not want us to be unified with that which is not of God.

Premise 5 is also false. I would say that we are supposed to live within an intimate relationship with Jesus. That does not mean blindly doing exactly what He did. He is God. We are not. Many of His actions should be emulated by us; some should not be.

Your conclusion is, of course, also false. I am not behaving contrary to what Jesus would have me do—certainly not, at least, in the way or for the reasons you cite.

Your argument would not receive a passing grade. It is invalid, 3 of its 5 premises are false, and your conclusion is also false.

Joe, from here on out, please try to be less toxic in your replies on my blog posts or do not reply at all. Read my posts before you respond, and do so with the intent of understanding them. Otherwise, you will not be equipped to discuss them. Try to use words based on their precise meanings and try not to say things that are false. Thank you.

S. E. Thomas said...

Verso L'Alto,

Thank you for your comment. I agree that men and women are intended to interact in healthy ways and that much of what one gender does affects the other. I made no claim to the contrary. However, because of the differences God built into us, it is okay to seek Him and identify in Him within those differences. In other words, I can have a direct, open relationship with Jesus Christ--as a woman--and learn from Him what it means to be me and what womanhood is about, without referencing what it means to be a man. I'm not a man. I can't ever be a man. I don't want to be a man. I don't want to interact with Jesus the way men do.

Does that make sense? This doesn't mean I think men are bad or that they aren't capable of having a relationship with God, too. This is not a divisive thing. This is just about "being."

I relate differently to God and to other people than a man might. In fact, we can go further and say that each individual should base his or her identity in Christ without reference to how anyone else does it. Maybe that makes more sense. That way, it's not even about gender issues--but about personality. But, both approaches are valid and, if you understand what I'm saying, not against God's design for us.

Of course, there are many, many times when I take my relationships with men (my husband, my dad, my sons, my male friends, etc.) to God and get His insight into them. He certainly has a lot to teach us about how to interact. But, this need not be the subject of every single one of my prayers.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking although I don't agree, this woman is providing a valid, logical and respectable post. That was until you began using the term "abuser" for men, that's when I began to sense some personal anger. so from them on your reasonable comments meant naught.

S. E. Thomas said...

Dear last anonymous commenter,

Let me point out that the word, "abuser" was only used ONCE in this post in reference to men. It was used this way within an anti-abortion argument within this section, "So, we tell women that they have a “choice,” when really we mean they have only one choice: abortion. But, abortion is in no way pro-woman. It deeply wounds the woman and pits her against her own children—all the while letting her male user and abuser get away free of consequences so he can mistreat the next woman he meets."

I do not claim that every abortion stems from the father's neglect or abuse or even mistreatment of a woman. In fact, in some cases, the woman is the abuser of the man. However, many, many abortions occur within an environment created by an absent father (either physically or emotionally). Often, a woman feels compelled to abort because she does not have the support of the man in her life.

I believe that if a man finds a woman useful for sex, but does not care enough about her as a person to support her and his child when that sex leads to a pregnancy, this is a form of abuse. You may disagree, but there it is.

And, just because you sense "anger" in a written post (which, frankly, is conjecture on your part, as the nature of written text is often emotionally deceptive), does not provide enough reason to disregard everything else that was said nor adequate grounds by which to judge the soundness of the arguments.

Thank you for your comment, but I ask for you to think again about the arguments made here. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

If you are a Christian woman, then you know the Bible clearly defines our role. We are to submit to our husband. It is in black and white. Plain and simple. Be obedient to God.

S. E. Thomas said...

A little earlier, in that same Ephesians 5 passage I assume you're referring to, it says, "Submit to one another out of reverence to Christ." So, the call to "submit" isn't only given to women in Scripture. It's given to both men and women. We are ALL to submit to our spouses (whoever he or she may be) and to other members of the body. Of course, it must be in a spirit of reverence for Christ. If your husband or wife or pastor, etc. is asking you to behave in a way that is contrary to remaining in a good relationship with Jesus--as the kind of being He made you to be--then you should refuse.

The concept of submission in the Bible is actually a very involved one that requires a good understanding of the whole of the Bible and God's character to understand well.

Victoria said...

I am trying to figure out why you think we (women) are owed help by our employers to find child care. I firmly agree that fathers should stand up and take responsibility. However, shouldn't we take responsibility for the men we decide to share a bed with? Shouldn't we make sure a man is a responsible provider, who will love us as Christ loved the church (since we are talking about Christians, after all)? Christ wouldn't abandon the church, and neither should our husbands abandon us... No, perhaps it isn't our fault if a man decides not to provide for his kids. However, in the end there are ways to avoid such situations... like being married before having relations, getting to know the men we pick to be our helpmate...

Anyway, yeah...