jesus-feminist

instagram image credit @kenberd

Well, hasn’t this been a … fun week?

Jesus made a feminist out of me. 

It’s true.

I can’t make apologies for it, even though I know that Jesus plus feminist might be the one label that could alienate almost everyone. I understand that – I do.

I know the label “Christian” carries a lot of baggage, particularly in these times. There are the 81% of evangelicals who voted for a candidate who is racist, sexist, xenophobic, protectionist, a serial philanderer, and corrupt. There are the stereotypes: the ignorant, the uneducated, the angry, the anti-Muslim homophobes, terrifying us on our late-night television programs, deriding progress and climate change and women’s equality. Christianity has been blamed for wars, for abuse, for justifying evil like slavery and patriarchy, for fanning the flames of racism and xenophobia against refugees, for colonization, and spectacularly bad Nicholas Cage movies. Most of what has passed for a description of Christianity is fear-mongering misinformation.

I know feminism carries a lot of baggage, particularly within the evangelical church. There are the stereotypes: shrill killjoys, man-haters, angry nasty women, and rabid abortion-pushers, terrifying some of us on cable news programs, deriding motherhood and homemaking. Feminism has been blamed for the breakdown of the nuclear family, day care, physical and sexual abuse, hurricanes, the downfall of “real manhood,” the decline of the Christian Church in western society, and spectacularly bad television. Most of what has passed for a description of feminism is fear-mongering misinformation.

In some circles, using the word “Christian” is the equivalent of saying you’re a racist, homophobic, climate-change denying ignoramus ready to storm a women’s health clinic to murder a doctor.

In some circles, using the word “feminist” is the equivalent of  saying you’re an abortion-loving, man-hating, crude, obnoxious radical ready to tear down or mock or destroy everything you hold dear.*

***

Here you are. Stuck in the middle with me.

Maybe we have more in common than we think. Maybe.

***

I identify as part of a group of people who receive their fair share of criticism.

And to be honest I think a lot of the criticism has a grounding in truth.

There are things Christians do that I find wrong and embarrassing and unholy and counter to the Gospel.

There are things feminists do that I find wrong and embarrassing and unholy and counter to the cause.

But here I am. I’m a Christian. And I’m a feminist. 

I’m not fully represented by what those labels mean. They’re imperfect. And I know that the stereotypes of those labels cannot sum up the vast majority of the people I know who live within them.

***

I’m not an apologist for Christianity. I’m not an apologist for feminism. I don’t feel fully at home in either label as they are understood by most of our society these days. 

But here I am, a both-and and not an either-or. And I’m not alone.

The family of God is big and diverse, beautiful and global. So is feminism. So these dogmatic labels, while sometimes useful for discussion in books and classes (not so much on Facebook, tbh) aren’t always the right boundaries for a life or relationship. Most of us live somewhere in between them.

Let’s agree, for just a little while anyway, that both sides are probably wrong and right in some ways. I’m probably wrong, you’re probably wrong, and the opposite is true, because still see through a glass darkly. I want to approach the mysteries of God and the unique experiences of humanity with wonder and humility and a listener’s heart.*

***

There is so much good that Christianity has done and is doing and will do. And it’s fair to say the same thing about feminism. 

All truth is God’s truth. I think we can rejoice for any human flourishing, no matter who claims credit.

It is interesting how the first wave of feminism was deeply rooted in the Christian faith. It was precisely because of their deeply cherished faith that women were compelled to organize for the vote, for women to be declared persons under the law, for the rights of workers, for women to wear pants, for temperance even (because the victims of drunkenness were usually women and children), and so on.

Our roots are more tangled up together than we realize.

The term Jesus Feminist would not have seemed odd or note-worthy, not in the beginning anyway.

***

Confession time: There are Facebook posts by prominent evangelical leaders that make me want to personally organize a new Schism.

Yep, I get upset by people who I think are an embarrassment to the Gospel. I feel angry. I feel like they are doing damage to our witness in the world. I feel ignored and marginalized. I feel like they don’t know Jesus, not really. I feel like the Church is missing it – missing out on all the ways the very people whom they fear or exclude or deride or judge are often the very people with whom Jesus would be spending all of his time.

So I often feel like an outsider in Christianity – because of both my politics and my theology.

But I will always work and pray from within the family to see us rise to who we were meant to be all along, God’s glorious vision for humanity in full shalom. I will never stop working to amplify the voices and experiences of the people on the margins, the people whom Jesus loved: the poor, the oppressed, the down-trodden, the sick, the curious, the ignorant, the disrespected. I won’t ever shut up about how much God loves us today in this moment.

And then there are people within the Church who think I don’t belong. They see me as the embarrassment to the Gospel. I make them feel angry. They think I’m doing damage to our witness in the world. They are pretty sure I don’t know Jesus, not really.

I have felt that way about feminism at times, too. I’m embarrassed by it, angered by it, damaged by it, ignored and marginalized. I feel like they don’t know feminism, not really, because it’s supposed to be big and generous and inclusive and welcoming.

So I often feel like an outsider in feminism – because of both my politics and my theology. And then there are a lot of feminists who think I don’t belong and want to keep me – and women of faith like me – out. And yet I will work from within to see more inclusion and more justice, I remain deeply committed to women’s issues and causes, voices and experiences.

I long to see women rise.

***

Our big and good God is at work in the world, and we have been invited to participate fully – however God has gifted and equipped and called each of us. One needn’t identify as a feminist to participate in the redemptive movement of God for women in the world. The Gospel is more than enough – of course it is! But as long as I know how important maternal health is to Haiti’s future, and as long as I know that women are being abused and raped, as long as I know that girls are being denied life itself through selective abortion, abandonment, and abuse, as long as brave little girls in Afghanistan are being attacked with acid for the crime of going to school, and until being a Christian is synonymous with doing something about these things, you can also call me a feminist.*

***

You don’t really know us. 

Oh, you think you do.

You think because you read some biased news stories on Facebook that you have us figured out.

You think because your friends laugh at the same jokes about us that everyone sees it the way you see it.

You think that statistics or the on-the-spot interviews tell the whole story.

You think you know exactly what we think, exactly what we believe, exactly how we vote, exactly how we move through our lives.

And you don’t know. Not really.

Because within us, there are multitudes. There is nuance. There is beauty. There is redemption. There is justice and laughter and community and goodness. There is intelligence and wisdom and knowledge. There is longevity. There is redemption. There is healing. There is history.

On the inside, you’ll find the best people you’ve ever known –  kind, funny, self-deprecating, gentle, bold, wise, peace-makers.

And we have a vast complicated middle who won’t make the news, who won’t write a Facebook rant, who don’t perch in tall stools on news programs; we’re quietly getting on with the business of what we believe and we yearn for love to be our name.

***

Being both a Christian and a feminist can be frustrating. But it’s also a gift. Because I don’t get to indulge in stereotypes. I don’t get to reduce people to caricatures. I have to embody the truth that people are people and love is love and we are all worthy and we all belong.

***

I’m a feminist, sure. But first, last, always, I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ. My first allegiance isn’t to feminism. My first allegiance is to Jesus and his Kingdom.

Some consider this a form of intersectional feminism, others not so much.

Yet I choose to be a feminist in the way that I believe Jesus would be a feminist. 

The ways of the Kingdom of God stand in direct contrast to the ways of the world and our culture. (Sadly, our churches can sometimes resemble our culture instead of Jesus – witness our fascination with militarism, entertainment cults of celebrity, power, materialism, and patriarchal culture and so on.)

When I decided to become a disciple of Jesus, it meant that I wanted to live into my right-now life the way that I believed Jesus would do it. That has led me to many changes in my politics and activism and opinions, how I live out my faith, my marriage and my mothering, my engagement with the Church and community, and all points between.

Because I follow Jesus, I want to see God’s redemptive movement for women arch towards justice.

We can prophecy a better world with our very words and actions.

The Spirit transforms our hearts and minds and then our lives: regardless of our past, regardless of our context, regardless of our privilege or lack thereof. If we are disciples, we are participating in the life of Jesus now. And the way in which we engage in our lives matters. (The way in which we engage our enemies matters even more perhaps.)

This is how we will be known: by our love.

***

I want my work and witness as a Jesus Feminist to be marked by who I build up, not who I tear down. I want us to be known as the ones who speak life, not death; the ones who empower and affirm and speak truth. I want us to be the ones who boldly deconstruct and then, with grace and intention and inclusion, reconstruct upon the Cornerstone. You will know us by our love.

I turn more and more towards the words in 1 John 4 when I’m working for justice for women: “Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.”*

***

I want to be outside with the misfits, with the rebels, the dreamers, the second-chance givers, the radical grace lavishers, the ones with arms wide open, the courageously vulnerable, and among even – or maybe especially – the ones rejected by the Table as not worthy enough or right enough.

I want to stand outside here in our Canadian wilds beside the water, banging my old battered pots and pans into the wind and the cold and the heavens, hollering, “There is more room! There is more room! There is room for all of us!”*


I wrote a book about this back in 2013 called Jesus Feminist. You can buy it everywhere books are sold. It’s not a perfect book but it might help you understand why following Jesus made a feminist out of me – and many others.

Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey

*Some portions here are excerpted from my book, Jesus Feminist, and this blog post. Aff links.

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  • Rosanne

    Tears and applause, Sarah!!! I love you and I love this so much!

  • Yes, yes, and yes again. With you on this completely. Love this. 🙂

  • AndreaAdella

    I would REALLY love to share this post. It’s so well written and there’s so much truth and clarity to be gained by others, in understanding how I see my faith as a female. However, right off the bat, the way that the beginning of the post is phrased may be problematic for those reading it who voted for Trump. I have a lot of “evangelical” (whatever that means, these days) friends who voted for him in secret, in shame, in confusion, with a lot of hesitation. When they read the sentence “There are the 81% of evangelicals who voted for a candidate who is racist, sexist, xenophobic, protectionist, a serial philanderer, and corrupt,” I can almost guarantee that they’ll hear me calling THEM those things. Is there a way to phrase it differently, less pointed, so that it can be received without that zing in the first part?

    • Sylvia Mitchell

      I voted for trump because im anti abortion and hillary is the most corrupt politician i have known in my life time. But im not afraid of homosexuals and im not prejudiced or racist and i wanted to have the Supreme court be somewhat balanced. And the name calling…lol i just ignore it. Who cares!! .

      • Peggy

        The fact that you’re using the term ‘homosexuals’ does nothing to convince me you actually know any gay people or aren’t prejudiced against them 🙂

  • PJ

    You are my soul sister. I am so glad I found you. I hear you and feel the same way. Labels are just labels, but words and actions are so much more. Thanks for this post. I will get the book and find myself relating more and more to my very special soul sister. Blessings to you!

  • Alina Sayre

    This is exactly where I’ve been dwelling lately. Thanks for giving voice and solidarity to those of us in that awkward intersection of identities who feel like we belong nowhere.

  • gapaul

    I too am a feminist and a Christian, and thought for a time that some feminists had gone “too far.” But I suppose I’m with them now. First they asked me to consider the real stories of women faced with the decision to have an abortion. After awhile, I understood why believe as they do, and I agree with them. I guess that angers some of my Christian sisters. Then they asked me to understand that not all women are white and privileged, not all have struggled under the same burdens. I’m still working on understanding that. And then they introduced me to women who love other women. And some of them are Christians! I had to think a little more about that too. More recently, both my church and the feminists I know have introduced me to women — who were born male. Or have transitioned to being male. That too seemed like a bridge too far. Until I got to know them, and know their stories. I suppose this could be really scary for some people to read, but its amazing how we all can come to change our minds about things. I think it is God pushing me to stay open to people and their stories.

    • Sylvia Mitchell

      Read romans chapter one please. Thank you

      • gapaul

        You must think I haven’t. Read it, studied it, come to different conclusions than you have about it. That’s all.

    • Traci Kristine Rowland

      I am one of your trans sisters. Here is another one of those stories if you’d like to read it.

      http://theoldadventuresofthenewkristine.blogspot.com/2015/04/my-story.html

      Bless you <3

  • This is so good, so on point, so resonant with my own heart, I am bursting at the seams! Thank you for sharing your heart and your struggle. I struggle alongside you, dear sister.

  • Matt

    Thank you for this! These words give voice to the tension that I’ve been feeling, especially over the last few weeks, not feeling like either label, Christian or feminist, as they are so often understood, really fit my theology and politics. This gives me hope that there are others living in this same place of in-betweens, of both-ands.

  • SaraMitchell

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for articulating what it is to exist here in the middle.

  • Amen

  • JennaDeWitt

    EXACTLY THIS. All of this.

  • Mike

    Additional reading… Not so sure about first feminism movement being rooted in Christianity…
    http://www.gty.org/blog/B130729/feminism-a-reversal-of-biblical-standards

    • Sylvia Mitchell

      I think it’s reach.

  • Sheryl Moore Griffin

    I am a Christian who lives in California. Women like you and me are not as rare here as the rest of the US might think. I also think that the term “evangelical” has been co-opted by the religious right so that I can no longer use that to describe myself although I am still called by God to bring His Word and the message of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, to the world. Here in Los Angeles I am not afraid to say that I am a Christian nor am I afraid to say that I am a feminist. They can both co-exist without causing fear or backlash from others. I do realize that this is not true in other places. I often fail to see God’s love from the right wing Christians that I know. I just saw a post from one of my facebook friends who said that if people could see what Hell is like, they would turn to Christ. This is the message that many non-believers hear. This is not the message the Jesus preached. We will not draw people to Christ via fear and hate. The only thing that will draw people to Jesus is the Holy Spirit and God’s promise of his eternal love. I know God is still in control but I hope he puts the wheels back on the bus soon.

  • Thank you so much for writing into this tension that so many women I love are feeling right now. I think in American culture in general, and in the Church and in politics in particular, we have lost sight of the richness and nuance of the middle. Not necessarily in terms of being moderate or wishy-washy in our convictions, but in terms of the conversation and learning that can happen in the middle, when we’re willing to acknowledge that we’re not all right, we’re not all wrong, and there is room for interpretation, for wading through the gray areas, and for embracing new ideas. I’m in solidarity with you as a fellow Jesus Feminist and as a human.

  • Shannon Caldwell

    Thank you for putting my feelings into words. I am a strong woman who loves being a wife & mother but I also love my job. I am raising my daughters to believe in Christ and in their ability to do and be whatever they want with the talents and gifts God gave them. I get angry when the church and politicians use Christianity to restrict abortions but also to deny the birth control and education that might reduce the need for abortions in the first place. Instead of fighting for/against the right to abortions why not prevent the pregnancy in the first place. I have faced a big identity crisis of where I fit. Thank you for showing me I’m not alone.

  • AMEN, AMEN, AMEN. I am always hesitant to identify as “feminist” because I feel like, as a Christian, it isolates me from them. But really, both identities put me in this middle ground regardless of if I claim the label or not because I don’t fit neatly into either place. I totally agree that Jesus was/would be a feminist. Thank you for sharing this, it helps the tension I have been feeling in my heart the last few… well… years.

  • Sharon Sullivan Sheppard

    Sarah, I love your writing and find “Jesus Feminist” to be important and groundbreaking within the evangelical church. Though I agree with much of this post I do struggle some with your opening lines about the 81% who voted for a “racist, sexist…corrupt” candidate. These words do not invite unity or an understanding of an alternative reason that women voted for Trump. There are women that believe Clinton is a terrible example for women, feminist or not; that she herself is corrupt and complicit in her husband’s sexism. I don’t believe there is a right answer to who is the better candidate for women just a differing of opinion. A continuation of the same negative narrative with Trump will not win over his supporters just as a continued negative narrative of Clinton will not win over hers. My humble thoughts presented with respect and admiration. Thank you for your voice, it is refreshing and needed within the church.

    • Terri

      This is not a nasty screed by Sarah. It’s simply based on Trump’s words and actions. If we can look at his own words and actions over literally decades and still declare that calling it sexist and racist is merely “negative narration” — I think we’re not being honest with ourselves. No matter what you or I may think of Clinton, that does not affect the facts about Trump according to himself.

      What would really make me happy right now is to see a sea change in Trump–to be totally wrong about him based on his entire life’s record of words and actions. I have never wanted so badly to be wrong about a person. I hope, by some miracle, that I still will be in the future, that Trump’s words and actions toward others will change.

      • Sharon Sullivan Sheppard

        Terri, I’m not sure how you interpreted my sentiments as accusing Sarah of publishing a nasty screed. I only point out that there is potential alienation from those who respect and admire her when a post begins as I mentioned. You also assume that I am a Trump supporter. Why can one not have a differing opinion and comment on a portion of a post while still feeling the same about the majority of her sentiments?

        • Terri

          Thanks Sharon. I used different words than you, but “These words do not invite unity or an understanding … A continuation of the same negative narrative of Trump …” is fine too.

          I don’t know whether you’re a Trump supporter or not. I do often respond when I see people using what they think Clinton did to somehow justify what Trump did. Clinton isn’t Trump, so whatever she did/didn’t do is not relevant to Trump. Only what Trump himself has said and done is relevant to Trump.

          If I’m honest, I do believe there will inevitably be a certain amount of alienation when Trump has been so openly derisive and prejudiced against women and other groups of people and yet we’re somehow just being negative when we let him tell the truth about himself. Or when we tell the truth ourselves.

          His prejudices are clear, and we have to have a language to be able to talk about that. We have to be able to use words to talk about people’s prejudice, and not have it be labeled as just a “negative narrative,” as if it’s something people are making up with no basis in reality.

          Anyway. You’re right, we do differ, and that is OK. I’m glad we have had a back-and-forth about it. I don’t agree with Sarah on everything either.

    • Trump is a racist, sexist, corrupt candidate. Period. Clinton was not the only other person on the ballot.

      Gary Johnson was on the ballot in all 50 states. Jill Stein was on the ballot in 44 states, and a valid write-in candidate in 3 states. Evan McMullin was on the ballot as an independent in 14 states, and he was a valid write-in candidate in 12 states. Laurence Kotlikoff was a valid write-in candidate in 41 states.

      Voters had other options to vote their conscience.

      So what does that say about the 81% of voters who chose a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women, who cheated on his first two wives, who mocked a disabled reporter, who told his supporters that he would bail them out if they were arrested for physically attacking protesters?

      If they did vote their conscience, their conscience terrifies me.

      If they didn’t vote their conscience, their apathy to their values terrifies me.

      • Sylvia Mitchell

        I voted for trump because maybe a more conservative judge will be put in .if Clinton would have gotten in we would have ended up with a seriously progresive left court.

        • gapaul

          I can hear that as a reason to vote for Trump. I just wonder if there aren’t things happening right now that would cause a Trump supporter like yourself to raise concerns. The appointment of Steve Bannon as a senior advisor, for example. I think a lot of us can say we had mixed feelings about whichever candidate we supported, but the world moves on and still needs our voices.

  • Emily

    Thank you so much, Sarah. Truly, truly. Your Jesus Feminist and Out of Sorts have stopped me from leaving Christianity because I realize Christianity and Feminist both care for human rights is a way that evangelicalism does not allow for. I attended the Women’s March in D.C. this past Saturday and received so much positivity, care, and love from all of those around me, more than I ever received in an evangelical church. I began calling myself a feminist when I was 16, and it frightened everyone at my parent’s Southern Baptist church. So I stopped. I tried being the ultimate “Proverbs 31 woman.” And once I left for college, I just couldn’t anymore. I couldn’t lie anymore, I couldn’t pretend, and most of all, I knew I couldn’t be associated with the baptist church anymore because of how disappointed they would all be with me if they really knew what I believed about women and how they were equal to men and how I truly did think Jesus Christ believed in equality for all.

    While in college, I worked in a methodist church. It was great preparation for the great shift that would begin in my life. There was a woman music minister and a woman liturgist, women were allowed to pray, read scripture, and preach; nearly the whole staff, save the youth and senior pastor, were women. Then at 22, I graduated college and began working at a church were the only pastor was a woman. She was the greatest spiritual influence and helped transform the way I think about sin and community within the church.

    Now I am seeking to be confirmed in the Episcopal church this summer and couldn’t be more excited, because I have found my place to be a Jesus Feminist. I used to cry and wonder why I was the way that was. Why I wanted to be so badly included in God’s grand plan? Why I was such a rebellious woman against God? I worried there was something truly wrong with me because getting married, having kids, and just staying home was unfathomable for me; I just couldn’t do it. Now I cry because of all the strong Jesus Feminist I have worked with and all of the women that are in my life right now who have encouraged me that I can be a strong, independent woman who can also strongly love and serve Jesus (as well as be in a relationship with a man who isn’t intimidated by the fact that I make more than him and that we work together in creating our relationship as equal as possible; I mean, sometimes he asks me to call him “master” as a joke because I don’t have my masters degree yet and he does haha).

    My mother found out I was attending the march. My mother who strongly believes in the Proverbs 31 ideal of women and believes that feminism is all about killing babies, promoting lesbianism, and emasculating men tore into me on Thursday about these things. She has taken it quite personally, and does not realize I am attempting to live the gospels has I truly think they should be, which is holistic, not compartmentalized, and not only available to the tiniest demographic of people but to all. I all but wanted to stop calling myself a Christian, because her Christianity is not the Christianity I see in Christ or want to be associated with. It is because of you and many other Christians who have not been afraid to stand up and call out evangelicals for their hypocrisy.

    Please keep posting.

    Thank you!

  • unconditional love mama bear

    Standing with you, dear one. These are very, very difficult days. As my elderly 90 year old father says, “this is the sorting of the sheep & the goats” talked about in Scripture. Those who truly follow the modeling of Jesus – to sit with the unlovely, to feed the hungry, shelter the orphan & widows, welcome the foreigner and love every person as we love ourselves vs those who call themselves by his name but look nothing like him. I walked in the women’s march and those wonderful souls walking alongside me who wanted equality & protection for everyone, not just women, were my sisters (and some brothers!). They were Jesus to me.

  • Karyn

    I am a Christian feminist who voted for Trump. I don’t believe in a Jesus who excludes and shames, I don’t believe women should be made to conform or be silenced, and I am not a supporter of racism nor am I xenophobic. I don’t even fit in the middle! 🙂 It does not matter what people see on the outside. Perhaps they would look at me and see “Christian” or “feminist” or “Trump voter”, but all I’m really going for is “trying her best to follow Jesus and falling all over the place while doing so”. And I’d ask that grace be given to all here, if at all possible.

    • gapaul

      I can hear this and respect it. I too have many friends who voted for Trump, for a variety of reasons. What our conversations sound like these days are, “what about now?” Now that Trump is in office, will we voice our concern that Steve Bannon was made a major advisor? Breitbart news and the alt-right (which Bannon claimed his paper was the mouthpiece for) have made all sorts of racist and xenophobic statements. I think however we voted in Novermber, we ought to raise concerns or watch carefully what happens next. I’m also concerned about Jeff Sessions, who has in various ways opposed the Voting Rights Act — the act Martin Luther King worked so hard to pass. If new rules about voting have offer little in gains but prohibit vast number of other people from voting. Last fall the Supreme Court said efforts in North Carolina to enact new voting laws “concentrated like a lazer” on historically black communities. So I’d just ask my sisters and brothers to remain attentive.

  • Lizzy A.

    I needed to read this today. Thank you.

  • Can we be best friends? Lol. This is so spot on.

  • Nicole

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You’ve put into words all the thoughts I’ve had the last few weeks – years actually. Thanks for this post and your book Jesus Feminist. I think I dig being in the middle with you and everyone else stuck there.

  • Matt

    Trump voters once again labeled as racists, homophobes, etc. Sorry, you’re not helping.

    • Chaserville2009

      So it’s just Trump, then, and not the people who elected him?

      • Sylvia Mitchell

        Out of all the candidates which one was absolutly perfect?? No sin. Never said a bad word. Never lied. We all know we had 2 choices
        1. hillary
        2 trump
        Sure you could vote for the others but thats a throw away vote. So i decided on trump. He would get a resonable court justice in.

    • Sylvia Mitchell

      Lol… yep..im a deplorable…lol and i adopted a korean boy and i believe homosexuality and abortion and sex outside marriage between and nan and woman and theft and what ever other e il thing o e can think up is sin… oh a proud heart a lying tongue God hates those.

  • Thank you. Me, too.

  • Blessed Unrest

    Yep, a misfit here too. A churchless Christian is even trickier to navigate.
    Your writing makes me feel normal for a moment, and less alone.
    You have a great gift. Thank you.

  • “The second-chance givers.” You always make up the best words! Thanks for this Sarah. Signed, Stuck In the middle with you.

  • Linette

    I appreciate many of your comments. But I have to admit to having some real personal struggles with the idea of the Christian Feminist. Maybe I’m getting stuck on the label of what I think about when I hear feminist? I’m trying to keep an open mind. I’m trying to step into other’s shoes and imagine their perspective. But no matter what, I keep struggling with some ideas about how a person can be a Christian and what society in general considers a Feminist.

    For example, I can’t reconcile the idea of “I’m a Christian feminist, but I do not believe in abortion.” Isn’t the feminist movement pro-abortion? Didn’t the march exclude pro-life women groups? Because for the Christian, Holy Scripture clearly says in Jer1:5 (ESV) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” When we are still mere substance we are consecrated sacred by God and that consecration carries us through all stages of life from mere substance to fetus and beyond birth.

    I also struggle in reconciling the idea of “I’m a Christian feminist, but I believe my husband is head of me and our family.” For we all clearly know that Scripture says in Eph 5:23-26 “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her …”

    Then how can one reconcile the idea of “I’m a Christian feminist, but I believe homosexuality is a sin.”? This is a hard one. I have many people I love that struggle with this sin. I like to remind them that I am no different then they are. I too sin daily. The only difference is what we each consider to be sin. I like to look to Jesus and how He interacted with the woman at the well who had sexual sin in her life. Jesus made her feel loved and accepted as a Samaritan woman before he lovingly pointed out her sin. I feel like this story gives us the perfect example of balance. Too many churches operate under the stained-glass masquerade where no one talks about their own sin struggles due to pride & shame. But they are quick to point out certain sins that few in the church struggle with as though those sins are the “biggies.” When we all know that all sin is equal in God’s eyes. But then you have the counter balance churches that are all feel good. Where the focus is on grace but here again, not much talk about sin because that might offend. But Jesus did not avoid the topic of sin with the woman at the well, nor the woman caught committing adultery in John 8 for Jesus said to her – “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” So the balance would be love and acknowledgment of sin. But I do not see the feminist movement pointing out the sin of homosexuality or abortion for that matter.

    I also struggle with the notion of protesting when Jesus tell us in Matthew 5:38-39 when someone does us wrong to turn the other cheek. And in Romans 12:19 to not avenge ourselves but to leave it to God. Then I can’t help but look specifically to Christ in how He dealt with being persecuted. I see no examples that would lead me to think about protesting, instead I see him doing the opposite. I feel like Jesus calls all brothers and sisters in Christ to take up the cause of the orphan, the widow, and the poor together – but united as one body of Christ.

    I don’t know? These are just some random thoughts that I struggle with when people say they are Christian and Feminist. I want a more just world. I don’t want anyone no matter their gender or race to experience injustice. And I struggle with exactly how I personally can help the most. I don’t want to sit back and do nothing. But I also worry about falling into the apostasy movement of the church. I don’t want to become too worldly or be a part of something that promotes worldly living in any fashion. The balance between making sure I express unconditional love and helping those in need that God places in my life, but doing so without condoning sin or worldly living at the same time can be hard at times.

    • Sara Barton

      The marches did not exclude pro-life women.

      • Linette

        My mistake then. I thought I heard news sources saying pro-life groups were welcomed by the organizers at first but then they were removed per planned parenthoods request. Or something to that affect?

        • Chaserville2009

          I am pro-life and read articles that said pro-life groups weren’t welcome. Other people said that pro-life groups weren’t wanted as “sponsors” of the march, but that it was fine for them to come. I don’t see how that’s a lot different, since it seems pretty clear to me that “we don’t want you as a sponsor” says “you don’t believe the right things” or “our beliefs are more important than yours.”

        • Lily

          This will help shed some light on why this particular organization was not allowed to sponsor:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2017/01/feminism-abortion-and-coalition-building.html

        • Rita Reitsma

          It’s been very well documented that pro life groups who had first signed up to sponsor the march were subsequently dropped and other pro life groups were rejected out of hand. They were told that they could come to the march if they wished, but that their pro life stance was inconsistent with the message of the march (meaning pro abortion-Cecile Richard’s, in her speech, said that their goal was to have legal abortion for any reason and at any stage of pregnancy). The pro life groups who did come out with signs were mocked and jeered at. I’ve seen videos of this. Let’s hope the Pro Life March this week is HUGE.

          • Peggy

            It wasn’t 🙁

    • Bonnie Dawson Nixon

      Linette, I marched in the protest and I consider myself a christian and a feminists. Maybe the organizers of the march excluded pro-lifers but I have no evidence of that. I marched along side both pro-life and pro-choice and it was peaceful and enlightening. See, I don’t and have never associated being a feminists with pro-choice. For myself it is much more than that. I believe that feminism means that men and women should have equal social, economic, political rights and opportunities . This also means that men need to be on the same page with this philosophy. That makes us all feminists or in Utopia, all equal. I get where you are coming from when you quote the scriptures,Eph 5:23-26 “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior…. and so forth, but I am a single woman and head of my own household. Am I not entitled to the same rights as a man who heads a household? What if you unfortunately found yourself without a husband with children to raise, would you not want the same opportunities
      to provide for your family? This march or feminism is not about abortion nor is about whether one is a christian or not it is about equality and human decency.

      • Linette

        We will have to kindly agree to disagree Bonnie. I feel like we are not called to propel ourselves in any manner. But instead to live the “I am second” life by putting ourselves last and letting God do the lifting us up part. Jesus set this example as The Christ washed the feet of filthy man. I will never fathom this act of profound love. I can’t be a part of any movement that speaks out against so many Biblical principles and most importantly, fights for the right to murder life that God Himself consecrates as sacred. Just listen to the speakers at the march?!? Just read the platform for the feminist organization of the march?!? I can not fathom standing before God Almighty one day and having to account for those choices.

    • Rita Reitsma

      Very well stated Linette. I struggle with the same things. It is so hard to know how best to love each other sometimes or more accurately-how to show the love of God. The whole “love the sinner, but hate the sin”, but to do it with compassions and caring, not with hateful rhetoric. How to express that there is room for everyone, but that we are all in need of repentance and have to turn from our sins and that we can’t follow Jesus and hold on to sin. Knowing that not acknowledging that something is sinful, because the Bible tells us so, is not showing love. I have a long way to go, but I am trying. Your words encourage me.

      • Linette

        And your words encourage me as well. Thank you. I too have a long way to go.

    • kiana

      also just for the record, feminism isn’t “Pro-abortion”, it is Pro-choice, this means that I understand that whatever you choose is none of my business, and I will always fight for your right to choose what is best for you. What I do not support is the government trying to tell other women what is best for them. God dignifies us with the power of free will, now Christians are supposed to honor our Lord in choosing Him with that power. However, the whole country is not Christian, that is what makes America great in the first place. Having a diverse nation.

      • Vic Christian

        pro-choice is pro-murder of your child. There is no argument with God as to what constitutes murder.

        • gapaul

          I hear you and others say this, and I know it seems self-evident to you that a fetus is a child. That is what you read, that is likely what others around you believe and reinforce.

          But you have to hear that others of us do not think of 2 cells, 4 cells, 8 cells — as “a child.” We recognize that women have been drinking potions, using sticks, coathangers, throwing themselves on the ground, tying themselves up in restrictive garments — doing all sorts of things since time began to stop a pregnancy they did not want to complete. The trouble with those methods is that they are also dangerous.

          You are asking women to abide by your theological conviction when it might not be their own.

      • Linette

        I understand that not all Americans are Christian and I love the freedoms in our country. But in this particular instance you are not only talking about the rights of the mother, but also the unborn consecrated child. I believe God would want all Christians to speak up for the unborn that God Himself consecrates as sacred. We will each have to stand before God one day and give account for our choices. What God consecrates as sacred, I too must view as sacred. To throw away that which God consecrates as sacred is beyond my fathoming. God help us!!!!!

        • Sylvia Mitchell

          The pro abortion people forget they ACTUALLY have a choice not to get pregnant. It not like we live in 1950 when there were only condomes!!

          • gapaul

            I realize the idea of choice allows us to blame women, but is life ever that simple. Besides the very real occurrences of rape and incest, birth control does fail. Not everyone can use the pills. And life presents all sorts of complications. Rather than looking to blame, maybe we need to lean in and hear women’s actual stories.

          • Linette
          • gapaul

            I read it, and while a whole essay could be written in response, I’ll just say this.

            I have enough regard for my mother to think that if she found herself pregnant with me at a time in her life when carrying a child to term would have been too difficult for her or for other members of my family, I hope she would have made the decision that seemed right to her. I know that trillions of pregnancies end in utero for natural reasons and by intention, and I’m not about to take a divine point of view on what that all means in the kingdom of God. I love my mom, and would have wanted her to do what seemed best to her. I would have wanted her to have safe options and to follow her own conscience.

            I also recognize we have come a long way since 1977 in terms of medical science and law. So I do not find Jessen’s story as compelling as you might.

          • Linette

            gapaul, may I ask how a Christ follower might reconcile the idea of any human choosing to end a life that God consecrated as sacred? Jer1:5 (ESV) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” I promise I am not trying to debate or try to win any point here. I genuinely can’t see how we as mere wretched humans can disregard God’s consecration? Does that not scare you to death? And I’m taking about the healthy godly fear from sheer reverence for what God ordains as sacred. I am of course only speaking of those that call Jesus Savior and God’s Word Holy. I understand that non-believers do not acknowledge Christ as their Lord thus Jer 1:5 would mean nothing to them. I am only speaking of those of us that read Jer 1:5 and not just believe, but know – that it is God breathed and God’s Holy Word.

          • gapaul

            First, you are making an entire biological and anthropological case from a line of poetry. Scripture employs a variety of literary forms,– poetry, metaphor, law, narrative. I don’t take “lamb of God” as something other than metaphor. And I don’t take that line from Jeremiah as a full discussion of what constitutes human life.

            Or one could push back by saying, “what exactly did God ‘know’ of Jeremiah?” Was Jeremiah a pre-existent soul — something neither Jews nor Christians every believed. If it means that God saw Jeremiah’s future, then I assume God saw the “future” of all those who came to die in infancy, or were miscarried. 50 percent of fertilized eggs don’t even implant, or are lost before a woman even realizes she’s pregnant. Untold numbers of clusters of cells are gone within the first 2 weeks of fertilization. What is it God “knows” of those clusters of cells — 2, 4, 8 and so on. Trillions and trillions of which never grow beyond microscopic clusters. Never even implant.

            Jews once believed a soul arrived at the moment of quickening — when a mother could feel a fetus’ movement. Jeremiah didn’t push them away from that belief. Christian thought has also wrestled with the moment in which a fetus becomes a human being. I don’t take it as completely and inarguably true that it is at the moment of conception.

          • Janet from FL

            Actually many women who choose abortion have had a failure of the birth control method they use. No birth control is 100% effective, not even the pill. Also, when funding is cut, women cannot afford birth control.

      • Linette

        To put it bluntly … there is no choice! For that which God Almighty consecrates as sacred, we as children of God must count as most sacred. SACRED! Have we lost the meaning in America? CONSECRATED BY GOD! God help anyone that takes His consecration lightly.
        (I know this is a double post/reply, but I am broken to sorrows over how satan has tricked so many into lowly views of that which God consecrates as sacred) I can not stay silent any longer.

      • Sylvia Mitchell

        Im pro choice in regards to theft and rape and abortion.. so it is none of anybodies business what i decide on.. in regards to thease issues.. killing and unborn child is murder . stealing a car is theft. Forcing someone to have sex against their will is rape. So if i choose to steal your car rape your child thats okay because it was okay in my way of thinking?and of course its okay with the infant who is being murdered.. ?? No its saying its okay to kill a baby. The only difference between an unborn baby and one that has just been born is time and food to grow to maturation

      • Linette

        Kiana, have you heard Gianna Jessen’s story? I had the pleasure of hearing her speak years ago. I encourage you to read her story here: http://julieroys.com/gianna-jessen/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork. And she has several videos on youtube.

    • Sylvia Mitchell

      In the last days even the elect will be decieved. All the things that you talked about the feminist push that agenda. Unfortunately the true feminist all yell the house down . I agree with you, condoning sin is unacceptable. And of course satan wants us to hide our light so the truth is not told.

  • tamiofbrooksgroth

    Thank you for your beautiful writing and your strong voice in this messy middle. My heart has hurt when I see so many taking sides in so many ways. Thank you for something that instead nourishes my heart!

  • Marie T

    Thank you for writing this. I’ve been a feminist since high school (they had just allowed us to start wearing pants to school – that’s how long ago it was). I was an agnostic for a long time, then converted to Catholicism after I’d married. The main reason I converted was I saw the work the church did – feeding the poor, helping immigrants, teaching ESL classes, etc. I’m one of those who pick and choose the church teachings I follow – I tend to use the words of Jesus as a guideline first. I.E. feed the poor, visit the imprisoned, etc. I’m not quiet when people say things like “That’s men’s work”, or “Let’s get a man to move/lift this”. Women can move things too – it may take 2 or 3 of us, however we’re not weak. (I did have to laugh about the “spectacularly bad Nicholas Cage movies” and “spectacularly bad television”. I guess we’re to blame for both.)

  • Oh, thank you. I have cried a lot of tears in the last few days, trying to explain to other Christians why I am a feminist, to other feminists why I am a Christian, to others why I supported the women’s march or opposed our new president and why I don’t believe my beliefs need to be legislated for people who don’t share my faith…
    Including to the people I love most, some of whom who haven’t yet been able to listen and others who haven’t learned how. And telling people I agree with to back off, be kind…
    I have felt I was completely alone. I know so few people offline who hold similar views. I am finally, finally feeling less alone. Thank you. <3

    • Lily

      You’re not alone! I’ve had very similar feelings… but we are not alone!

  • Jessica Skubal Rowan

    Thank you for this.
    I’m so frustrated by all the discord – I just want to hide in my house! I feel constantly sad, enraged, discouraged, and afraid…are all people hate-spewing morons?!?!

    You remind me that people are all scared and struggling too…and worth knowing and fighting for…even if they make it so hard!!

    Strength for another day…one step at a time…

  • Shannan Martin

    “I feel like the Church is missing it – missing out on all the ways the very people whom they fear or exclude or deride or judge are often the very people with whom Jesus would be spending all of his time.” This. And then the part about misfits. You and I see through a very similar lens. Thanks for pulling out the soapbox.

  • Cristi

    I am both a lifelong Christian (actually I was raised in the Roman Catholic tradition) and a self-proclaimed feminist. Feminists are not pro-abortion. That is a term used by people that are judging feminists & feminist ideals. Most feminists are pro-choice (though some are pro-life). There is a very real difference between the terms pro-abortion & pro-choice. Most feminists believe that women should be able to choose for themselves what to do in regards to pregnancy. That includes keeping a child as much as it includes aborting one. Just to clarify most of the feminists I know (& I know a lot of them!) would find it incredibly difficult to have an abortion unless absolutely necessary due to some sort of medical emergency. But as a Christ-follower I never want to judge another woman for feeling like she has to make this heartbreaking choice.

    Also, just to clarify I went to the Women’s March and I was NOT turned away for being a Christian or for my personal views on abortion. I literally walked arm in arm with women (& men) from all religions, all races, and on all side of the pro-life / pro-choice debate. It was honestly THE MOST INCLUSIVE & NON-JUDGEMENTAL ENVIRONMENT that I’ve ever been apart of.

    I think it’s important to dispel the myth that the march was not inclusive. It absolutely was. And please do not think that being a Christian negates you from being a feminist- And vice versa.

    • Sylvia Mitchell

      Pro chice means you get to CHOOSE to keep or kill your baby (ie) legalized murder.
      Last time i read the 10 commandments it said no murdering allowed.

      • Cristi Monica Fisher

        Please do not assume I am ignorant simply because I hold a different position then you. As I clearly stated I am NOT pro-abortion – I am pro-choice. It is very easy for people to stand in judgement of others when they haven’t had to walk in their shoes.

        Let me tell you the story of why I became resolutely pro-choice to begin with. My friend and his wife were EXCITED about the little baby they were pregnant with. They were even more excited when the time came and they found out that it was a girl. They moved out of the tiny apartment they were in and into a larger one. They began preparations for a baby shower. They were talking about little girl names. They are Christians and they were thrilled with this blessing.

        But then their entire worlds were turned upside down.

        It was supposed to be an ordinary doctor’s visit. Just a checkup to see how the baby was progressing. An ordinary day that became a heartbreaking one. The doctor did an ultrasound and told them that something was wrong. Very wrong. They had to have another doctor’s visit with a specialist to determine exactly what it was.

        The baby was malformed. She had NO brain. And was missing HALF of her head. Not just her scalp but HALF OF HER ENTIRE HEAD simply never formed. She had no features, no eyes, no nose. Nothing was forming correctly. From her limbs to her organs. She literally had no chance of survival outside of the womb. Neither did she have any chance of making it for another several months in the womb.

        They went home and prayed. And then they saw two more specialists. Each one telling them the same thing. This baby would not make it until the third trimester. And the longer they waited the more risk of mom’s life being in danger.

        With love and sadness in their hearts they decided to have an abortion. Not because they didn’t love their child and certainly not because they didn’t want their child. They simply wanted to end their child’s suffering.

        I’m not going to come from a place of self-righteousness and judge them for making the most difficult decision imaginable.

        I love them for what they have gone through – Not in spite of it.

        It has been 15 years and they now have two children. A girl and a boy. They are still Christians.

        And I’m still not going to judge them.

      • Cristi Monica Fisher

        I’m going to copy and paste here what I said to someone else above in the comments….

        Please do not assume I am ignorant simply because I hold a different position then you. As I clearly stated I am NOT pro-abortion – I am pro-choice. It is very easy for people to stand in judgement of others when they haven’t had to walk in their shoes.

        Let me tell you the story of why I became resolutely pro-choice to begin with. My friend and his wife were EXCITED about the little baby they were pregnant with. They were even more excited when the time came and they found out that it was a girl. They moved out of the tiny apartment they were in and into a larger one. They began preparations for a baby shower. They were talking about little girl names. They are Christians and they were thrilled with this blessing.

        But then their entire worlds were turned upside down.

        It was supposed to be an ordinary doctor’s visit. Just a checkup to see how the baby was progressing. An ordinary day that became a heartbreaking one. The doctor did an ultrasound and told them that something was wrong. Very wrong. They had to have another doctor’s visit with a specialist to determine exactly what it was.

        The baby was malformed. She had NO brain. And was missing HALF of her head. Not just her scalp but HALF OF HER ENTIRE HEAD simply never formed. She had no features, no eyes, no nose. Nothing was forming correctly. From her limbs to her organs. She literally had no chance of survival outside of the womb. Neither did she have any chance of making it for another several months in the womb.

        They went home and prayed. And then they saw two more specialists. Each one telling them the same thing. This baby would not make it until the third trimester. And the longer they waited the more risk of mom’s life being in danger.

        They wanted a family. In order to one day have a family – Mom would need to be alive.

        With love and sadness in their hearts they decided to have an abortion. Not because they didn’t love their child and certainly not because they didn’t want their child. They simply wanted to end their child’s suffering.

        I’m not going to come from a place of self-righteousness and judge them for making the most difficult decision imaginable.

        I love them for what they have gone through – Not in spite of it.

        It has been 15 years and they now have two children. A girl and a boy. They are still Christians.

        And I’m still not going to judge them.

      • cristi

        I want to give a meaningful and biblical response to your statement so I have turned directly to the bible in regards to the Greatest Commandment:

        Matthew 22:36-40

        “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
        Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
        This is the first and greatest commandment.
        And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
        All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

        All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments: Love God & love your neighbor.

        That is my takeaway. Those are the words that envelop me throughout my days and nights. If my reactions to something spring from self-righteousness or judgement than I know that I have strayed from the words of God.

        If you are interested in understanding why I became Pro-Choice to begin with then please see one of my previous posts where I detailed what two of my very good friend’s went through and the heartbreaking choice they were faced with.

        There are many reasons why people choose to get an abortion. Personally, I would never choose to get an abortion unless absolutely medically necessary – Which is exactly what my friends did.

        Thankfully, I have never been in their position. But I would hope that if I were that others would show me that same sort of care, compassion and consideration. I would hope that they would reflect God’s unfailing love and not stand in self-righteous judgement.

      • Peggy

        I’m curious what you think about American soldiers or police officers who have killed others? Are they held to these same standards?

    • Linette

      Christi, have you heard Gianna Jessen’s story? I encourage you to read her story here: http://julieroys.com/gianna-jessen/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork.
      Or here a video of her testimony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0Wwgh7kdKM

    • Linette

      Or here is a transcript of Gianna Jessen’s testimony:

      Good morning,

      My name is Gianna Jessen, and I would like to thank you for the opportunity to testify here today. My biological mother was seven and a half months pregnant when she went to Planned Parenthood, who advised her to have a late-term saline abortion.

      Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 4.19.06 PMThis method of abortion burns the baby inside and out, blinding and suffocating the child, who is then born dead, usually within 24 hours.

      Instead of dying, after 18 hours of being burned in my mother’s womb, I was delivered alive in an abortion clinic in Los Angeles on April the 6th, 1977. My medical records state: “Born alive during saline abortion” at 6 am.

      Thankfully, the abortionist was not at work yet. Had he been there, he would have ended my life with strangulation, suffocation, or leaving me there to die. Instead, a nurse called an ambulance, and I was rushed to a hospital. Doctors did not expect me to live.

      I did. I was later diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, which was caused by a lack of oxygen to my brain while surviving the abortion. I was never supposed to hold my head up or walk. I do. And Cerebral Palsy is a great gift to me.

      I was eventually placed in foster care and later adopted. I forgive my biological mother. Within the first year after my birth, I was used as an expert witness in a case where an abortionist had been caught strangling a child to death after being born alive.

      Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, said the following: “The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.” – Margaret Sanger, “Woman and the New Race”

      Planned Parenthood is not ashamed of what they have done or continue to do. But we will have to give an account as a nation, before God, for our apathy and for the murder of over 50 million children in the womb. Every time we falter in courage as individuals and fail to confront this evil, I wonder how many lives have been lost in our silence, while we make sure we are lauded among men and do not offend anyone? How many children have died, and been dismembered, and their parts sold, for our ego, our convenience, and our promiscuity? How many Lamborghini’s were purchased with the blood of innocent children? The blood that cries to the Lord from the ground, like that of the blood of Abel. Not one of them is forgotten by Him.

      I would ask Planned Parenthood the following questions:

      If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine? You continuously use the argument, “If the baby is disabled, we need to terminate the pregnancy,” as if you can determine the quality of someone’s life. Is my life less valuable due to my Cerebral Palsy?

      You have failed, in your arrogance and greed, to see one thing: it is often from the weakest among us that we learn wisdom – something sorely lacking in our nation today. And it is both our folly and our shame that blinds us to the beauty of adversity.

      Planned Parenthood uses deception, the manipulation of language and slogans, such as “a woman’s right to choose,” to achieve their monetary aims.

      I will illustrate how well they employ this technique with the following quote: “The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan.” – Adolf Hitler

      We often hear that if Planned Parenthood were to be defunded, there would be a health crisis among women without the services they provide. This is absolutely false. Pregnancy resource centers are located nationwide as an option for the woman in crisis. All of their services are free and confidential, and they can be reached by texting: “HELPLINE” to 313131. There is access to vital exams for women other than Planned Parenthood. We are not a nation without options.

      Planned Parenthood receives $500 million dollars of taxpayer money a year, to primarily destroy and dismember babies. Do not tell me these are not children. A heartbeat proves that. So does 4-d ultrasound. So do I, and so does the fact that they are selling human organs for profit. Do not tell me this is only a woman’s issue. It takes both a man and a woman to create a child. And to that point I wish to speak to the men listening to me: You are made for greatness, not passivity. You were born to defend women and children. Not use and abandon us, nor sit idly by while you know we are being harmed. I am asking you to be brave.

      In conclusion, let me say, I am alive because of the Power of Jesus Christ alone. In Whom I live, move, and have my being. Without Him I would have nothing; with Him, I have all.

      • Cristi Monica Fisher

        I have heard many stories like hers. Please do not assume I am ignorant simply because I hold a different position then you. As I clearly stated I am NOT pro-abortion – I am pro-choice. It is very easy for people to stand in judgement of others when they haven’t had to walk in their shoes.

        Let me tell you the story of why I became resolutely pro-choice to begin with. My friend and his wife were EXCITED about the little baby they were pregnant with. They were even more excited when the time came and they found out that it was a girl. They moved out of the tiny apartment they were in and into a larger one. They began preparations for a baby shower. They were talking about little girl names. They are Christians and they were thrilled with this blessing.

        But then their entire worlds were turned upside down.

        It was supposed to be an ordinary doctor’s visit. Just a checkup to see how the baby was progressing. An ordinary day that became a heartbreaking one. The doctor did an ultrasound and told them that something was wrong. Very wrong. They had to have another doctor’s visit with a specialist to determine exactly what it was.

        The baby was malformed. She had NO brain. And was missing HALF of her head. Not just her scalp but HALF OF HER ENTIRE HEAD simply never formed. She had no features, no eyes, no nose. Nothing was forming correctly. From her limbs to her organs. She literally had no chance of survival outside of the womb. Neither did she have any chance of making it for another several months in the womb.

        They went home and prayed. And then they saw two more specialists. Each one telling them the same thing. This baby would not make it until the third trimester. And the longer they waited the more risk of mom’s life being in danger.

        With love and sadness in their hearts they decided to have an abortion. Not because they didn’t love their child and certainly not because they didn’t want their child. They simply wanted to end their child’s suffering.

        I’m not going to come from a place of self-righteousness and judge them for making the most difficult decision imaginable.

        I love them for what they have gone through – Not in spite of it.

        It has been 15 years and they now have two children. A girl and a boy. They are still Christians.

        And I’m still not going to judge them.

      • Cristi Monica Fisher

        I have heard many stories like hers. Please do not assume I am ignorant simply because I hold a different position then you. As I clearly stated I am NOT pro-abortion – I am pro-choice. It is very easy for people to stand in judgement of others when they haven’t had to walk in their shoes.

        Let me tell you the story of why I became resolutely pro-choice to begin with. My friend and his wife were EXCITED about the little baby they were pregnant with. They were even more excited when the time came and they found out that it was a girl. They moved out of the tiny apartment they were in and into a larger one. They began preparations for a baby shower. They were talking about little girl names. They are Christians and they were thrilled with this blessing.

        But then their entire worlds were turned upside down.

        It was supposed to be an ordinary doctor’s visit. Just a checkup to see how the baby was progressing. An ordinary day that became a heartbreaking one. The doctor did an ultrasound and told them that something was wrong. Very wrong. They had to have another doctor’s visit with a specialist to determine exactly what it was.

        The baby was malformed. She had NO brain. And was missing HALF of her head. Not just her scalp but HALF OF HER ENTIRE HEAD simply never formed. She had no features, no eyes, no nose. Nothing was forming correctly. From her limbs to her organs. She literally had no chance of survival outside of the womb. Neither did she have any chance of making it for another several months in the womb.

        They went home and prayed. And then they saw two more specialists. Each one telling them the same thing. This baby would not make it until the third trimester. And the longer they waited the more risk of mom’s life being in danger.

        They wanted a family. In order to one day have a family – Mom would need to be alive.

        With love and sadness in their hearts they decided to have an abortion. Not because they didn’t love their child and certainly not because they didn’t want their child. They simply wanted to end their child’s suffering.

        I’m not going to come from a place of self-righteousness and judge them for making the most difficult decision imaginable.

        I love them for what they have gone through – Not in spite of it.

        It has been 15 years and they now have two children. A girl and a boy. They are still Christians.

        And I’m still not going to judge them.

      • cristi

        Yes, I have heard her story & others as well.

        Please do not assume I am ignorant simply because I hold a different position then you. As I clearly stated I am NOT pro-abortion – I am pro-choice. It is very easy for people to stand in judgement of others when they haven’t had to walk in their shoes.

        Let me tell you the story of why I became resolutely pro-choice to begin with.

        My friend and his wife were EXCITED about the little baby they were pregnant with. They were even more excited when the time came and they found out that it was a girl. They moved out of the tiny apartment they were in and into a larger one. They began preparations for a baby shower. They were talking about little girl names. They are Christians and they were thrilled with this blessing.

        But then their entire worlds were turned upside down.

        It was supposed to be an ordinary doctor’s visit. Just a checkup to see how the baby was progressing. An ordinary day that became a heartbreaking one. The doctor did an ultrasound and told them that something was wrong. Very wrong. They had to have another doctor’s visit with a specialist to determine exactly what it was.

        The baby was malformed. She had NO brain. And was missing HALF of her head. Not just her scalp but HALF OF HER ENTIRE HEAD simply never formed. She had no features, no eyes, no nose. Nothing was forming correctly. From her limbs to her organs. She literally had no chance of survival outside of the womb. Neither did she have any chance of making it for another several months in the womb.

        They went home and prayed. And then they saw two more specialists. Each one telling them the same thing. This baby would not make it until the third trimester. And the longer they waited the more risk of mom’s life being in danger.

        They wanted a family. In order to one day have a family – Mom would need to be alive.

        With love and sadness in their hearts they decided to have an abortion. Not because they didn’t love their child and certainly not because they didn’t want their child. They simply wanted to end their child’s suffering.

        I’m not going to come from a place of self-righteousness and judge them for making the most difficult decision imaginable.

        I love them for what they have gone through – Not in spite of it. Just as Christ does with every one of us. He loves us where we are and as we are.

        It has been 15 years and they now have two children. A girl and a boy. They are still Christians. And no, they do not regret their choice.

        They wish they had never had to have made it in the first place. But they did the best they could at the time. I’m not going to judge them for it and neither should anyone else.

        There are many reasons why people choose to get an abortion. Personally, I would never choose to get an abortion unless absolutely medically necessary – Which is exactly what my friends did.

    • Linette

      My heart breaks for your friends. I am literally sobbing. For you see, I have a daughter that was born with a very rare condition called Schizencephaly. Large portions of her brain are described on her MRI as “gray matter.” We were told by her doctors that she would likely not walk, may never talk or at the very least have limited speech, and that cognitively she would have issues. But like my favorite saying goes … I have a mustard seed and I’m not afraid to use it. Today she is a senior in high school and will graduate with honors in English and History. She not only walks but can run with her own unique gate. Her dream is to be a lawyer or historian. I could NEVER ever judge your friends. I don’t dare judge anyone. For I have SO many planks in my own eyes. I’m literally shaking as I type now. And struggling for words. And still sobbing. I can’t rely on emotions or even personal stories – not even my own. There will always be horrific stories of struggle and suffering because of the fall of man and satan’s prevailing evil in our world. I’m reminded of Christ’s suffering on the Cross. So this leaves me with no other recourse in surviving in this broken world than to run to God’s Holy Word. It is my only comfort! And I can only cling to the whole of God’s Word which includes Jer 1:5 where God clearly says that He consecrates all life to be sacred before it even enters the womb. God and God’s Holy Word is our only refuge even when facing such horrific trials as these.

      • cristi

        That is wonderful for both you and your daughter! I love hearing these stories of encouraging miracles. THANK YOU FOR SHARING IT.

        I truly wish that it could have been for my friends as it is for you and your daughter. I know that they wish for that too. Unfortunately their child had no limbs, no brain and was missing several other organs as well. I would never claim to know the exact right thing to do in that scenario as I (thankfully!) have not had to face it.

        All of life is sacred. I agree completely. That’s why I will never stand in judgement of those that feel forced to make such a horrible choice. I recognize the sanctity of their lives as much as the sanctity of unborn children. It is a seemingly impossible choice that some people are forced to make. And it is horrible.

        Unfortunately, there are no easy answers when it comes to abortion. There is no one size fits all. I just wish for more understanding – on all sides – we are so much more alike then we are different.

        Thank you again for sharing your daughter’s story. I think we could all do with hearing more examples of faith and miraculous healing.

        Thank you again for sharing your heart.

        • Linette

          Thank you Cristi! Seriously thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement. But I’m struggling so badly over just two of your words. I can’t get them out of my mind! Here I find myself sitting at my computer with your response open on my computer and I can only see those two words – “feel forced.” I was actually spending a little quite time in God’s Word when the email notification rang for your response. I stopped to read it and soon wished I had waited until after my quite time. I couldn’t stop thinking about those two words. My mind was plagued. I begged God to take them out of my mind if it be His will. I continued, or tried to continue, on with my study but I had to give it up. Those two words just keep making my stomach turn sour. I can’t stop asking “who makes them ‘feel forces’?” Where does their source of hopelessness come from? Where does this feeling of force come from? I do not want to share ‘some’ of the thoughts that came to mind when I read your response. But I can’t stop thinking about them and those two words. I asked God to allow me to forget. But alas, here I am still plagued and still not wanting to share. God knows how much I don’t want to share. I’m typing everything but those thoughts so far. Don’t know if anyone can relate or not? I hope so. Just a simple click on a fb article a couple days ago and now here I find myself. I need you to know that I too will never stand in judgement of anyone and their choice. For that is NOT for me, but only God. I feel like I want to throw up because as I’ve shared, we know what it’s like to have the doctors predict the horrific fate of your beloved baby. Not only was our beloved daughter diagnosed with Schizencephaly but also Microcephaly at her 4 months check up. No one can imagine unless they have gone through something similar!! It was hell on earth for a time. I couldn’t handle the overwhelming profound constant worry. So I found myself for about a week just immersing myself in God’s Word. I read every second I could. And I will never ever stop being amazed over where I found myself at the end of that torment. It was the story of Job. A story about a man that lost EVERYTHING including all his children. We know the story. Satan goes to God declaring that the only reason Job loved God and chose to live righteously was because God had blessed him with so much. But satan believed that if God allowed him to take all that away that Job would lose his love and devotion for God. So God allowed the test. So in one day Job lost everything that was dear to him. I can’t fathom!?!?! What plagued Job was the “why?” Oh how I could totally relate. For a while his friends tried convincing him that it must have been his fault, a consequence of his sin. But Job knew deep down that was not true. Finally a friend suggested that God might have been allowing it to purity Job. I love a little side note in my bible that says “it is better to know God than to know answers.” Job’s faithfulness just seemed incredible to me! It seemed almost impossible to me. But some how, some way it awakened a part of my soul that allowed me to live the mustard seed life when it came to my daughter. When she was 2 she had the only seizure she’s ever had (and THAT IS a miracle from God – only ONE when the doctors told us with certainty that she would struggle with seizures her entire life). But a loud voice woke me up from dead sleep that night and I ran to her room to find her having a grand mal seizure. Three days later in the hospital I asked her if she remembered anything of that night? Did she feel odd or anything? I will never forget her reply, she only remembered the glowing lady that sang beautiful songs to her. I’m bawling as I always do when I think of her replay. You see, for reasons we are not meant to understand, God allows things to happen to us that we can’t fathom making it through. And here is the part I didn’t want share. That even means allowing some children to be born with deformities. My daughter has cried many a times, as she struggles with the “why God?” You talk about breaking a mama’s heart! If I could only take on her burdens I would in a heartbeat. I’m sure your dear friends struggled and still may struggle at times with the “why God?” Why didn’t you just allow the pregnancy to miscarry? But God didn’t allow it to miscarriage. God willed the pregnancy to carry forward. This is so so hard to say, and it most definitely is not out of any form of judgement whatsoever. God knows. But if God chooses for such a pregnancy to carry forward, how can we decide against His will by ending that life ourselves? That was so hard for me type because it’s full of profound emotions!!! Incomprehensible emotions! A sorrow like Job’s. But we all know that Job’s story doesn’t end there. Because of his faith, God got Job through his sorrow and blessed his life three-fold. I’m emotionally exhausted. I feel so exposed – not my comfort zone. Even if this blessed just one person, it was worth it though. All Glory goes to God!

          • cristi

            Thank you again for your carefully considered response. Your story and experiences truly bring tears to my eyes. The work God has done through your family’s story does not go unappreciated!

            I know it can be hard to get all of our stories and emotions across online. There is so much more to each of us than a few keystrokes can express.

            As for the words “feel forced”…Those were mine and not anything my friends have ever actually said to me. My intention was only to try and communicate that the desires of their hearts (to have their very first child!) didn’t align with the medical situation they were in at the time. For the mom, her life was literally on the line. For the sake of brevity, I didn’t give a full breakdown of her medical condition before.

            It was during their second doctor’s visit that she was diagnosed with
            pre-eclampsia. Her blood pressure and her protein levels were both off the charts.

            They immediately admitted her to the hospital and began giving her magnesium sulfate to try and stop the seizures and / or stroke that they believed were soon to come.

            That’s when they brought in the third doctor who confirmed what the other doctors had already communicated to them. That the baby would not live to term and neither would my friend if the pregnancy were to continue. The reason they came to that conclusion was because my friend’s kidneys had already begun to shut down. They monitored her closely as my friend and his wife spent the next day in prayer (in the hospital).

            By the next afternoon her kidneys had completely shut down and for the first time in her life she experienced seizures. Her hands and feet had painfully swelled and she had gained 11 pounds in the matter of a couple of days. She was told that she would soon die.

            I don’t know exactly when they chose to have an abortion. But I would assume that it was either sometime that night during prayer or sometime the next day after her kidneys had shut down completely.

            Obviously, I will never know the conversations they had as a couple in that room. But I know the quality of people they are. And they would never have made such a decision lightly.

            Unfortunately this was not a circumstance where they were blessed with time for a miscarriage to naturally occur. They had to make a decision or both of them would have died.

            I will never pretend to understand all of God’s will. I only hope and pray that good comes out of every horrible choice that we might have to make in our lives. I’ve seen that play out in my friend’s lives with the two children that they now have (YAY!!!). Children that would never have been born if they had made another choice.

            Thank you again for sharing your story. I envision only a beautiful future for you and your daughter! As you correctly stated….All Glory goes to God!

          • Linette

            Cristi, why did your reply get deleted? And it is saying my reply to you is now to “a guest”? Glitch in the blog perhaps? I was telling my daughter about sharing our story and she was hoping to read it all for herself. And why is this saying I am replying to myself? So weird?

          • cristi

            eeks….I’m not sure!

          • cristi

            You’re right – It is weird. I think it’s some sort of glitch….

      • Linette

        Cristi, why did your reply get deleted? And it is saying my reply to you is now to “a guest”? Glitch in the blog perhaps? I was telling my daughter about sharing our story and she was hoping to read it all for herself.

  • Lily

    Sarah, sometimes I feel like you’ve crawled inside my brain, taken all the miscellaneous thought threads, and said everything I wanted to say but couldn’t. Thank you.

  • JHC

    I came from a Protestant and evangelical background and over the past couple of years have come into the Catholic Church. It is the most truely pro-life, social justice for all, pro-feminist (in the loving, not radical way) church I have ever been a part of. I feel that I have finally found a home in the Catholic Church. I would highly suggest you learn about the church’s teachings. I would say most non-Catholics don’t Iike the Catholic Church because of what they think it is, not what it truely is. I know I have been pleasantly surprised through my journey into the faith.

  • Vic Christian

    This author’s second paragraph illustrates where she is at – trying to straddle the fence between believing something about Jesus yet being filled with the hate of feminism and denying the authority of the scriptures and the roles God gave for the home and the church. She is rejecting the truth, and attempting to confuse herself and other women with the lie of feminism.

    • Sylvia Mitchell

      There is a verse that comes to my mind… even the elect will be decieved in the last days…!!

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  • Helene Burns

    Yes! ‘Yet I choose to be a feminist in the way that I believe Jesus would be a feminist.’ Love you Sarah xo

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. I’ve been feeling so lonely over the last week and months, really. But I decided this weekend that I don’t care – I’m not leaving the church. They don’t get to define my politics. And I’m not leaving feminism. They don’t get to define my faith.

  • I’ve been a Christian for as long as I can remember, raised by Christian parents.

    I’ve been a feminist for as long as I can remember, raised by feminist parents.

    For the most part, feminists have been a lot more understanding and inclusive of my faith than Christians have been of my quest for gender equality. In response to my writings, Christians have called me a so-called Christian when being nice and a false Christian spreading heresy when being rude. And then there are the Christians who say I’m going to hell.

    Non-religious feminists, on the other hand, are more likely to ask how I reconcile my beliefs. We engage in thoughtful conversation.

    Jesus treated women with dignity. More Christians ought to follow His example.

  • Amy W

    <3 Thank you, this is beautiful and spot-on.

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  • Kaitlin Bailey

    Hi! So first of all, thankyouthankyouthankyou for this post – you put words to such a hard feeling this week and they were so needed! Second – I need a definition. Like, one or two sentences to pass along when people ask me what a Jesus Feminist is. I know what it means to me, and I know that looks different to everyone, but when you coined this term and gave us this champion cry, what did it mean to you? A clear and concise definition would help a lot in communicating this concept, I think. Thank you!!!

  • Erin

    “81% of evangelicals who voted for a candidate who is racist, sexist, xenophobic, protectionist, a serial philanderer, and corrupt.” I almost didn’t read past this line because it is ridiculous and ignorant. Just once I want Hillary supporters to admit they voted for one of the most corrupt politicians to ever run. Just freaking once! BOTH candidates were so morally and ethically corrupt it’s mind blowing. Feminists please tell me why you voted for a candidate who takes money from countries that beat and kill women and gays just for walking outside. I didn’t vote for Trump because I liked him or thought he was a man of character. Heck no! I voted for him because I didn’t want most of Hillary’s promised tax increases to be implemented, I wanted the ACA repealed because it has affected me negatively, she promised to continue to get rid of the coal industry which personally affects my family and home state, I didn’t want her setting up the Supreme Court for the majority of my life, and that is just a few reasons. Those reasons affect my life. His dirty mouth and stupid tweets does not affect me! Most hated the choices this year but some of us had to vote on issues. Shocking, I know.

    • Sylvia Mitchell

      AMEN!!!!!

  • C B.T.

    I wasn’t going to say anything, but I figured, why not? I just wanted to encourage you to keep writing and sharing (not that you need any encouragement!) I appreciated what you said and I enjoyed reading it. Thank you for expressing your thoughts on what it means to be both a Christian and a feminist. It’s something I think about and react to frequently, with my husband attending a conservative theological college for ministry training!!! He and I would certainly identify as feminists, but this is not always the most popular or understood view around there. So, just to say, thanks for what you are sharing. Whatever God has asked you to do, keep doing it.

  • Barrett PK

    Thank God for Christian feminists. If the country is going to make any progress toward reconciliation, it’s going to take people willing to “cross the aisle” and open up discussion with others who are different from them as a means to find common ground. The unity and renewed vigilance inspired by the recent marches are great steps forward.

    In this event, those who claim Jesus were mostly not leading the way. Frankly, I wish the faith commentary here was framed less in terms of pro-vs-anti-abortion and more in terms of cradle-to-grave sanctity of life. Much can be said about taking action to aid the vulnerable far beyond the womb. In fact Jesus uses this as THE means of sorting sheep and goats in Matt 25.

    Jesus followers are obligated to wrestle with how to position ourselves in light of that calling. These would seem to be just a few starting points of common concern for feminists and Christians (and Christian feminists):

    1. Better access to birth control and sex ed has dramatically decreased abortion rates. In the past, these programs have been put forth by Democrats and opposed by Christians. No one here is striving for a higher abortion rate.
    2. With the current administration, cuts are coming to many programs that provide health care and other relief for the most vulnerable in our country and around the world. How do we stop this change or make realistic efforts to make up the difference?
    3. Our national leadership may be on a path toward war. What does war mean in terms of causing death and injury on both sides? What about civilians who would be harmed and families that are left behind?
    4. How to deal with increased social marginalization of our neighbors. Yes, in our society these do include foreigners (immigrants), women, widows, children, orphans, elderly, poor, minorities, gays, etc. Are we compassionate neighbors? Are we working toward making the last first?

    Thank you, Sarah, for your openness and being willing to step into the tension publicly. There’s a few of us Christian male feminists around too.

    • Sylvia Mitchell

      I object to my tax dollars funding abortion. Fund education birth control you name it but federally funded abortion means im paying for it.

      • Barrett PK

        May I ask if you also object to tax dollars going to fund war?

        But I’m glad we’re finding some common ground.

      • Peggy

        Tax dollars don’t fund abortions. The Hyde Amendment has banned that for the past 40 years.

  • Izz

    O, my goodness, I am so grateful for your blog. I often totally confuse my Christian friends and I identify with what you write in all of my Jesus -loving being. Thanks for being a voice to those of us who find ourselves, in that “I don’t fit” – much like Jesus and his disciples didn’t fit – spot.

  • kellysalasin

    Hi Sarah, I really appreciate your voice at this intersection in time. I find myself so disheartened by the push back I see among my women friends (on FB) after the women’s march.

    I never realized how much dehumanizing and divisive venom was spewed about “liberals,” “feminists,” etc. It hurts my heart.

    As someone who votes progressively and who doesn’t consider herself Christian (though I love Jesus and was raised in the faith), I often call my like-minded friends on the ways they similarly dehumanize/degrade Christians (or lump them together.)

    When I was young I found feminists too harsh. I hadn’t realized that they represented me, not personally. At 53, I’ve looked back on my life and I see that I have hidden from the many, many ways in which I was marginalized because of my gender. Trump helped wake me up: https://kellyandlila.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/where-are-you-alone/

    I’m babbling which means your post did its work. I’ve shared it in countless places already.

    You’ve kindled my heart,
    Kelly

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  • n-nickie-n

    Sarah, I will definitely get this book. I wish I had seen it before. I’ve been torn for a while, now, and I’m disappointed that some family members have chosen to castigate me (meh… I’ll live. Truthfully, one in particular was a self-absorbed jerk even before they reamed me out). I grow more hopeful each time I see another Christian who is supportive of ideas that are deemed “liberal.”

  • Kristy Pyke

    I love this so much.

    “Here you are. Stuck in the middle with me.

    Maybe we have more in common than we think. Maybe.”

    I have spent most of my adult life feeling like an ‘outsider’ – becuase I too believed that Jesus made a feminist out of me – until others like you have started to speak out. The reality is that I am not a label. I’ve never fit into a category. And that can feel really scary. So it is so comforting to know that there are others who stand up for equality and yet have had a personal encounter with Christ, so much that we refuse to give that up. So thank you for speaking out. Blessings to you.

  • Thank you, sister, once again, for penning my heart here. I hear you. I concur. Me, too. Here, here! All in, too! Because in Christ, there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free…we are all co-heirs with Him…so to that end…

  • Bainwinslow

    Are those nazi lightning bolts and why

  • Carolyn Aylis

    Thank you for speaking truth and love and light when it seems hard to find any right now. Sarah, you are always someone I look to for guidance, even if we don’t share every view. You are a beautiful sister in Christ and I thank you for sharing your words in such a vulnerable way.

  • Exit Only

    Just wish to make a theological point. When Christ was on the earth, he was adamant about not being identified with any political movement or ideology. He declined to join with the Jewish Zealots who wanted to overthrown the Roman occupiers, or the Herodians who supported Herod as King, or the Pharisees and Sadducees who made themselves keepers of the law of Moses. Christ has too often been treated by many as a social reformer and shaker and mover. He was not. His mission was to save the world from sin through his atonement and teachings to live the spirit of the moral law. He was the Son of God, not a community organizer with good intentions to inspire worldly organizations to march, protest, or become politically engaged.

    So yes, while one can be a Christian and support or be sympathetic to a political movement or ideology, I would be very careful NOT to put the Savior’s name next to any earthly political or philosophical movement as assumed stamp of his approval or acknowledge, no matter how seemly a good cause it is.Christ came to change people’s hearts, not to promote or side with any worldly group or cause. As you stated, all such human run movements are prone to be hijacked or change by those who have their own agendas that are not in keeping with Christ’s teachings. When He comes again to rule and reign again on earth, all such political parties will come to an end, and only his law as King will stand.

    • KSmith

      You raise some excellent points. I sometimes struggle with how to articulate an understanding that Jesus was not interested in the social movements so much as the movement of the human heart toward God. At the same time, Jesus did come “to seek and to save the lost.” So, as we seek to be like Christ, our mission should not only be to seek the lost (no matter their social identity), but to see them saved. Ultimately, that is the greatest good we can do. It’s the stuff in between that gets in the way and convoluted the mission. 🙂

  • KSmith

    “It was precisely because of their deeply cherished faith that women were compelled to organize for the vote, for women to be declared persons under the law, for the rights of workers, for women to wear pants, for temperance even (because the victims of drunkenness were usually women and children), and so on.”
    I struggle with this, as a black woman, because the early principles of feminism were also deeply rooted in racism. The organization of women’s suffrage actually opposed the advancement and freedoms of negro and native women. From there, though the platforms of feminism are not all centered on abortion rights, much of what is proclaimed continues to put women of color at a severe disadvantage. (I wrote about this recently at seasoning salt.org.)

    The seeking for abortion rights has led to the legalization and support of things which now account for a large portion of black deaths each year. Even though many women fight against violence and injustice in the relational realm for girls and women around the world, more often our nationalistic view of American sovereignty rules the conversation. I’m with you on the labels thing…we needn’t label something as feminist, for it to benefit the female experience. But we do need to exemplify and glorify Christ in order for something to be labeled as Christian 🙂
    I totally respect your perspective and value your experience, but I’m continually troubled by those in the Church who neglect the heart and history of certain organizations in light of a few noble causes or for the sake of appearing to be ambiguously inclusive/tolerant. Marginalization and exceptionalism is at the heart of early feminism. Did Jesus not say that the heart is the place from which all things flow?
    We must be salt and light in all things. Sometimes salt has to burn and sometimes light reveals things we don’t like, but salt also brings out the richness and light also shines to show us the Way we should go toward what is good, noble, pure, and praiseworthy. I just wish more people in the Church understood these things. Thanks for sharing your heart.

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  • Janet from FL

    I think labels are misleading. I say now that I am a follower of Jesus, because I don’t like how many Christians behaved and voted in the last Presidential campaign/election. Also, I am pro-women&girls. I don’t like the way some feminists behave either, so I avoid that label,too. God made us all different, and that is what is beautiful about people! We are all loved by God! God bless us every one.

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  • lucy

    Thank you for this. God Bless.

  • Patty Martyn

    I’ve been struggling within my head to describe my beliefs surrounding women’s issues and my love of Jesus; this is as close as I’ve seen “me” put down on paper. Thank you! And thanks to Gabrielle Blair for leading me to your writing.

  • Kathryn Sutton

    This is a very thoughtful piece, but I can’t help laugh that it lumps “day care” in with the list of terrible things (abuse! man-hating!) that Christians blame on feminists. Who knew finger painting and nap time were so frowned upon by the religious?!

  • Jonathan Blackwell

    Thank you Sarah! I wonder… Am I in a cultural minority as a white male Christian Feminist? My wife shared your article with me and I’m grateful for the attention brought to the points you make. In Christ, Jonathan

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  • Tia Coffey

    This is so normalizing for me. Thank you.

  • Sheri Faye Rosendahl

    “Yet I choose to be a feminist in the way that I believe Jesus would be a feminist.” I love this. One of my favorite stories of Jesus is the story of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, like the act… So she is dragged in naked and I’m sure terrified and full of shame and what does Jesus do as they ask to stone her? He honored the women, who was guilty of doing something not very cool, by sitting and drawing in the sand instead of staring at her naked body in shame. That, and he saved her life with his witt. Jesus truly truly valued women 🙂 NotYourWhiteJesus.org

  • Kendall Vanderslice

    I am a few days late to the game in finding this post, but I am so so grateful for it. Thank you, Sarah! I’m always encouraged by your writing. I particularly resonated with these lines: “I feel like the Church is missing it – missing out on all the ways the very people whom they fear or exclude or deride or judge are often the very people with whom Jesus would be spending all of his time…And then there are people within the Church who think I don’t belong. They see me as the embarrassment to the Gospel. I make them feel angry. They think I’m doing damage to our witness in the world. They are pretty sure I don’t know Jesus, not really.” I’m trying to find my voice as a writer in the midst of this tension, and it is painful! I struggle knowing when to challenge those whom I think lose site of Christ’s call, and when to focus my energy on lifting up those who are marginalized because of my brothers and sisters in Christ. And when I need to listen to those who challenge me. I am grateful to have strong Jesus Feminists like yourself to look to for wisdom in navigating these tensions. Thank you!

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