I began my journey through Jesus Feminism over a year ago, though I began to be able to articulate it more clearly in the past few months. I never anticipated identifying so strongly with feminism–just a couple years earlier I had told my roommate (who was a feminist) that feminism is stupid. But along the way, as I wrestled with the implications of gender from a Christian framework, I saw that gender equality has not reached it’s culmination.
I hope that over the past few months and many blogs I have brought to light both that we have not reached equality and that feminism can be (and should!) employed through a Christian framework. We have come a long way towards gender equality, and that needs to be celebrated. But as we move forward in redemption, sexism and discrimination subtly rear their ugly heads and halt equality in it’s tracks.
I think Christians play a big role in moving forward. Historically, Christians and feminists haven’t gotten along on the basis of many false stereotypes. While I’ve shown that the two system are compatible, we now need to look forward. I believe we, christians, need to be at the forefront of redemption, celebrating what has been accomplished, but pacing the world along towards the culmination of redemption.
I ran track in high school and in college. I was one of the faster athletes in high school, but the jump in competition from high school to college placed me at the back of pack. Likewise, the training regimen jumped drastically. Both my total mileage and my speed workouts increased in intensity. Some weeks we would do as many as twenty 400m intervals for our speed work out!
Due to the amount of intervals, the pace was relatively slow for a speed workout. It was easy go through the first four, eight, twelve intervals and feel accomplished. But the real work is done in the last intervals, when you are tired, sucking air, and can’t imagine running any further.
Everyone hits a wall eventually. But given that I was a slower athlete on my team, I usually ended up between packs running–and hitting the wall–by myself.
In those occasions, there was nothing more edifying than a teammate joining me a coaxing me along on the last intervals.
In the world of feminism and gender equality, I believe Christians are that noble teammate coaxing the other along. We have come a long way! We been through a lot of intervals! But the real work, the real growth, happens now as we tackle the harder intervals, the more subtle sights of inequality.
And why must Christians play this role? We take this mantle and coax the world along because we know the culmination of redemption in Christ. We bend our lives towards justice because we bend our lives toward’s God’s coming, where all people have equal value, and dignity, and respect–both overtly and subtly. Where men can be emotional, and women can walk at night without fear, where boys and girls aren’t treated like separate species, where women don’t have to scrutinize their bodies, and they’re bodies aren’t exploited and sexualized as some marketing scheme. Where women’s stories are told as often as men’s, and where girls and boys are the norm. God’s new reality has implications for gender both now and in the eschaton. And it is our work as Christians, as we bend our lives’ towards God’s coming, to continue God’s work of redemption in the world now.
And ultimately Christians must play this role because we have more than an ideal to yearn for. We have Christ who is the picture of righteous and the giver of life. Feminism has ideals, and noble ideals at that, but we have a person who can be an embodiment of an ideal.
So I conclude this series with a commissioning. I’m calling the Church to take the lead on addressing these subtle but destructive issues. To lead the way towards redemptions as we bend our lives towards God’s new reality in Christ.
More from the Jesus Feminist Series