I was accused of being a feminist recently. I use the word “accused” because the tone, flow of conversation, and comment landed in the middle of a disagreement. It went something like “of course you would think that way, you are a feminist.”
The comment caught me off guard, because generally speaking within Christian culture and circles, feminism and the celebration of all things lady warrior are usually half-frowned upon. Half-frowned, not fully, because there is a wrestling between women being free to grow, and do, and lead groups, and know their worth, and know they are set apart, and all the lingo we put on flyers for women’s conferences BUT when these women are so inclined or “called” to be on the teams that are making decisions, and making moves, and looking down the barrel at tough calls, and asking for more responsibility, and asking for a seat at the round table and asking questions and challenging paychecks and challenging leadership, and CHALLENGING anything. Well.
Feminist. Save us Jesus.
During this past election, that hands-down unearthed the crazy in all of us, I remember hearing a critique about Hillary that said “it isn’t safe for our country to be lead by a woman, they are too emotional to make decisions.”
“They” are too emotional to make decisions. Oh my. I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.
Right now, in your life, their are no fewer than five women who spend THEIR ENTIRE DAY making decisions. From a working woman to a momma running the show in her home, to every woman in between, WE are making small and large decisions, unimportant and critical decisions, decisions that change the course of the day, and decisions that change the course of our lives and our household’s lives. Sound decision-making isn’t a super-power given to the male gender. Come on.
I’m not a fan of when people end a thought with I can’t. But I CAN’T.
Really, what I want is someone to just have the guts to say in these circles what we already know those in the big boy chairs think – women, and our emotional nature, can’t be trusted. Just say it. Because we can feel it. Our emotional intelligence is clued in and it is not a defect, or a flaw in our creation; it is what makes us qualified to sit at your table.
More importantly, we are not bound to Eve or her slip in judgement. One could make an argument for Adam’s deflection of responsibility as a weakness in leadership, so stop holding that story over our heads. “It was the woman’s fault.” Friends, that punch-line is old and tired. It’s lost it’s luster, if it every had any. Are we done being mocked by that story?
If we truly are free and new creations in Jesus, then let us be free. And new. Like it says we are.
We can trust in women. We can. Scripture is over-flowing with women who God trusted. Women who were charged with tasks that put their lives in danger and one whose obedience freed a nation. Women who took pause before over-reacting and causing a bigger mess. (Abigail, I love you.) Women who boldly believed in their own healing and their children’s healing and pursued Christ even as outcasts, their faith moving mountains. Women who weren’t stopped by their sin or shame or limitations or past or cultural confines. Women who sat at the feet of a Messiah, learning with the men, traveling with (and some scholars say funding) Jesus’s crusade.
Women who were trusted with two of the most beautiful, important and sensitive pieces of information. HE IS COMING. HE IS RISEN.
We can trust in women. Sisters, this is for you too. YOU CAN TRUST IN WOMEN. I suspect that for generations we have suppressed things that we have felt burning inside of us in an attempt to stay within the lines of church culture and obedience. All that stuffing down caused the God-given goodness inside of us to be manipulated and turned around into comparison and jealousy and gossip and folly and general disdain for one another. If I can’t-she can’t thinking. Nasty thinking. This thinking keeps us all in confinement. Instead, we should celebrate and love and cheer and chant “SHE CAN AND I CAN-SHE WILL AND I WILL”
As far as our emotional charge, well you can trust in that also. That pulsating charge is what makes women show up with casseroles in crisis and on random Saturday mornings. That charge is what makes women understand the difference between their children’s cries. That charge is what makes women keen givers of empathy and understanding. That charge is what holds friendships together for 20 years. That charge gathers people at dinner tables. That charge settles disgruntled employees and tense conversations. That charge is what ignites women to lead with servant hearts. That charge is comforting, calming and beautiful.
Sometimes that charge can get super-sized and things can tilt, but if you give her a minute, or space to reset, she will. She can. She does.
This emotional charge isn’t saved and created for women. It is the emotional soul that makes humans divinely interesting, and it is the wide open road to connection and relationship and love but also loneliness and pain and suffering. It is the heavenly substance that makes us FEEL. It is probably the founding father of the casserole. It is what makes us look at the sky with wonder and curiosity. It is the essence of being alive. For me, it is the place the Spirit resides. I can trust in this.
As far as feminism goes, well I am FOR WOMEN. That shouldn’t be a shock. This is reasonable, and decent, which means I am for my feminist friends. Male and female. I am also FOR MEN. Because goodness I am tired of the gender-divide and labeling up in these church walls and church pews. There is no US and THEM. We have better things to be doing. WE should be actively looking for the thing inside of our people that makes them come alive, THEIR GOD-GIVEN FINESSE and stand on the side-lines with posters and water and encouragement, and hope that says YOU CAN AND YOU SHOULD AND YOU WILL.
So yeah, of course I think this way.
Friends, the same urgency and fervency that the idea to write about my childhood hit me, it also left me. I learned from Elizabeth Gilbert that ideas do not stay forever, so perhaps it wasn’t the right time to write that story, we will see. Thanks for being here. You are always welcome.