Feminism vs. Christianity?

there was a great posting in a woman’s blog in BigChurch.com about feminism and Jesus’ relationships with women.

i LOVED it.

it just goes to show that the chauvenistic church of the day and ever since is quite strong.

add in the council of nicea where a bunch of guys in a sexist culture compile that bible while believing themselves to be divinely inspired and it’s no surprise women are stuck where we are in Christianity today.

the fact that the church as a whole is not on the forefront of women’s liberation just goes to show the extent of male domination still going on. at least SOME churches are open to women.

anyway, i posted a comment to that blog entry in BigChurch.com and i reprinted it here below the blog posting:

thought you women might be interested in this:

Feminist perspectives: Jesus was an
advocate of feminism and women’s rights.

by Marilyn Adamson

Feminist perspectives have often criticized various religions for their treatment of women. They are absolutely right. Illustrations of religious abuse of females can be pointed out in the United States and internationally. What many feminist perspectives don’t take into account is that Jesus would have been one of feminism’s greatest allies.

Look at the culture in the Middle East where Jesus lived. Jewish rabbis began every temple meeting with the words, “Blessed art thou, O Lord, for thou has not made me a woman.” Women were excluded from religious life and rarely taught the Torah in privacy. Yet Jesus publically included many women as his disciples, infuriating the religious leaders. He taught crowds of men and women and healed and performed miracles for women as readily as for men.

Jesus also challenged their sexist social laws. At that time there was a law allowing a husband to divorce his wife over anything, for example, dinner not being prepared on time. Imagine the insecurity and cruelty that this law brought to women. And, as you might expect, a wife could never divorce her husband. Jesus however announced that both woman and man had the right to divorce the other, but only on the grounds of adultery, and even then divorce was certainly outside of how God designed marriage to be.

Another law of their day required stoning to death any woman or man caught in adultery. Often the law was disregarded and the man had no penalty, just the woman. They wanted to know how Jesus would respond to a woman caught in adultery. So one day several men dragged a woman before Jesus, whom they had caught in bed with a man, probably with a friend of theirs. And they challenged Jesus to consent to her stoning. They knew they had Jesus in a no-win situation. If He gave her mercy, He was a wimp and an enemy of their law. If Jesus stoned her, then so much for His uniquely respectful treatment of women, and His teaching about mercy and forgiveness.

Jesus responded by saying that the person in the crowd who had never sinned should be the first one to throw a stone at her. It was probably Jesus’ statement, but also His presence that affected the crowd. One by one they walked away. Jesus turned to the woman who was repentent and totally forgave her, as only God could.

Author Philip Yancey comments, “For women and other oppressed people, Jesus turned upside down the accepted wisdom of His day. According to biblical scholar Walter Wink, Jesus violated the mores of His time in every single encounter with women recorded in the four Gospels.”

It makes sense that it was women who loved Him and stood at the cross of Jesus, when most of the male disciples fled for their lives. And it was women to whom Jesus first appeared after rising from the dead after His crucifixion. This is remarkable. Jesus’ resurrection was proof of all of Jesus’ statements in which He identified Himself as equal to God. Though women had little standing in that culture, and no religious authority as spokespersons, Jesus gave them the role of informing others of His resurrection. Why? Maybe Jesus wanted to solidify that it was for the sins of women and for men that He came to die. Maybe Jesus wanted women and men to know that He offers them complete forgiveness and can give them direction, peace, and eternal life.

[To read for yourself how Jesus interacted with women and what He said about eternal life, read “John” chapter 11 in the Bible.]

Be blessed in Jesus name.

and here was my comment on that posting:

LOVE this piece! thanks!

the second to last church i was at in my last town was really progressive. women could do all sorts of things…as long as that included working with kids downstairs or anything to do with food or drink.

education committee was a place i wanted to be, i want to be a teacher. i could teach non-teen kids school, but i couldn’t sit on that committee. even though they knew i wanted to be a teacher, one WOMAN asked, “why did i want to sit on the committee though?”

all these things may be true about Jesus, but our culture is still patriarchal and in denial about gender equality. you’d think the church would be the most progressive place on the planet for liberating the oppressed.

no so much.

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2 Responses

  1. I think women are gonna have to take pride that their the ones that are shaping the future for now. I mean those are the times. I’m a pretty liberated guy (is that the term?”) so i recognize what you girls have to go through……. and it’s not very nice. I say be strong, it’s the only way anything is gonna change. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind.

    Wonlov

  2. ya, well women may be the ones shaping the future, but every guy who has the balls to say he’s a feminist and he supports progressive opportunites for women helps too.

    it helps cuz other guys have to deal with him as for real or reject him and mock him because there neandrathals. guys who claim to be feminists gotta be in it for the fight. after all, if youre a guy and you believe women should have equal rights…listen carefully…you ALREADY ARE A FEMINIST!

    it’s time to have the guts to admit it. same goes for girls who are scared to admit it. its a shame but many fear saying so in public for fear of being thought of as a lesbian and never dating a guy again. any guy they fear would think that [not that lesbians have anything wrong with them] isn’t worth dating.

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