The false binaries can grind a girl down.

While I was growing up in third-wave charismatic circles, women were often cautioned against “the Jezebel spirit.” (I think I just heard half of the old crowd barf on their shoes at that old label, but oh, I’m going there.)

Yes. Terrible Queen Jezebel of the Old Testament was a warning to women in my circles, the death knell for any woman in leadership, carrying the accusations and implications of female bitterness, manipulation, emasculation, power, idol-worshipping, hyper sexuality, layers upon layers of pet sins encapuslated in one woman’s ancient story of Israel. So sure, let’s just take it at face value, perhaps Jezebel was a whore and a power hungry idol worshipping prophet killing madwoman. Even so, when a woman in the church betrayed the slightest bit of leadership or giftings or callings, it became the quickest way to silence that feisty woman in question: accuse her of a Jezebel spirit. An unrelenting, power-hungry, manipulative spirit.

She has a Jezebel spirit.

Bury her at the whisper of it, she’s done, the final verdict, the final silencing for many a legitimate woman of God.

I think about that old accusation of a Jezebel spirit when people talk about feminism or women in the church or whatever-term-you-want-to-call-it-now. We think you can be a feminist or you can be like Jesus, you can be a feminist or you can be in a happy visions-of-Christ-and-the-Church marriage, you can be a feminist or you can be a mother, you can be a feminist or you can be mutually submissive, you can be a feminist or you can be servant-hearted, you can be a feminist or you can be a Jesus-follower committed to the whole last-shall-be-first, least-shall-be-greatest thing. We might call you a feminist or maybe we’ll call you Jezebel or maybe we’ll say you’re angry or bitter.

Usually we’ll just say we love Jesus and believe the Bible more than you.

How damaging. Not only to the Kingdom but to the souls and lives of people around us, to our own selves.

I believe we serve the both-and God, the God-with-us-God. The Lion and the Lamb, the Judge and the Father, the Love and the Justice. And I believe you can be a feminist precisely because of your great love for Jesus. I believe you can be a woman and be a leader by God, I believe you can be a man and be a servant, I believe you can be both a servant and a leader, and I believe false binaries make us feel more right but they rarely make us more right in the sight of God.

So the false binaries – either/or – of most faith discussions grind me down. What an adventure in missing the point….

For instance, regarding women in leadership: there is a vast difference between a Jezebel Spirit and a Deborah Spirit. Just as there is a vast difference between David and Saul. (Just because two individuals share a gender doesn’t mean they share a story or a prediction or a precedent.)

Deborah was a general in the ancient armies of Judah. She was a prophetess and a warrior; she helped lead the armies of Barak into battle and, at the time the ultimate degradation, she was seen  as responsible for a major military triumph. Plus another woman, Jael, was responsible for the death of the opposing forces leadership in her tent. Two women, two warriors, a song in Scripture.


We haven’t even talked about Priscilla or Junia, about Hannah or Anna, about Mary or Martha.

And yet women who showcase leadership in the Church today are more likely be accused as a Jezebel than celebrated as a Deborah.

This is the thing I believe about the Kingdom of God: it’s for all of us. It’s for the powerful and weak, it’s for men and for women, it’s for the outliers and the insiders. It’s for all of us. And so there is no neat and safe and tidy box: instead there is the wild and untamed and glorious riches of Christ Jesus, there is Deborah and David, there is Junia and Paul, there is Martha and Lazarus, Esther and Sarah, and there is you and there is me. In Christ, oh, hallelujah, there is room for us all. Don’t let anyone scare you from the battle, Deborah. God has called you, Esther, for such a time as this.

People cloak it in spiritual language. But don’t be deceived: anything that steals the very essence of God’s calling on you, God’s shalom, God’s justice, God’s way of life and living as a warrior, as a prophetess, as a mother, as a teacher, whatever-your-vocation-or-calling as a woman after God’s own heart, is a liar. There is a big difference between choosing silence and being silenced.

There is room for all of us in this story of Jesus. The Kingdom of God isn’t created by fear or shame or narrow name-calling or false binaries. The Kingdom of God is created in the rising up, in the singing of the song, in the battle of the every day justice, in the daily mundane gorgeousness of servanthood and leadership, regardless of gender.

I look forward to the day when women with leadership and insight, gifts and talents, callings and prophetic leanings are called out and celebrated as a Deborah, instead of silenced as a Jezebel.


In which I share what I'm into :: March 2013
In which I have circles of friendship - and a Lobster
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  • Woah – these are powerful words to absorb over my morning coffee. Thank-youuuuuu Sarah! And those with you – Those who have begun calling out the lies that have been used to keep women silenced for fear of being a Jezebel rather than recognising the power of the Holy Spirit in us can take even the Jezebel-ish parts of us and start redeeming them for good. Thank-you for clearing a path of truth in order to make way for the many Deborah’s coming after you! Dang, I love it! xoxo

  • Jen


    I’ve lived this. It sucks so much I can’t even say. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Larissa

    Amen & Hallelujah!! So so true!! This “Jezebel spirit” label has become too liberally thrown around that it’s almost become the fallback of name calling of those women to whom God has given powerful callings and strength in the Christian community. As soon as someone (female) threatens the status-quo and forces others to really think about their own relationship with Our Father, she is automatically labelled as a Jezebel – not cool!! Thankyou for calling *it* out in this post!! Definitely something that many Christians need to read, and think about in regards to their own attitudes and opinions when it comes to strong Christian women in the church.

  • The Jezebel spirit that came after Elijah was sent to silence and kill the prophet. Is it any wonder then if the prophets are being falsely accused in the name of this spirit?

  • Grace

    I really love this post! It’s so full of wisdom, truth, and encouragement… thank you!

  • This is beautiful. Thank you.

    I love this line: “Usually we’ll just say we love Jesus and believe the Bible more than you.”

    I’m living in a very conservative Christian woman’s home in the States right now. Being a sorta (read: very) bleeding heart liberal feminist Jesus-lovin’ warrior woman from Canada (whew) means I don’t always fit in. By their definition, it sometimes doesn’t even make me “Christian”–or perhaps I’m just “misguided” when I stand on a different side of those false binaries you speak of. At least, that is the vibe I get.

    Personally, I think in that home we’re ALL somewhat misguided–how can we not be? We’re all 20 year old humans. We’re grasping at straws and judging others like it’s our job (when our job is really the opposite), because 20 year old humans sometimes do stuff like that. But we’re really strong, Christian women, all of us. And we’re all a little bit of Jezebel, and a little bit of Deborah…we’re all virgins and mothers and whores and all the rest, depending which page you open to and how you read it, depending what day you talk to us.

    And we all have a lot to offer to the church and to God, if we’re allowed to offer it.

    (..yeah, I think I REALLY needed to read this. Thanks, Sarah.)

  • “the jezebel spirit” . . . that phrase really brought me back. i have wondered often where so much of my baggage with leadership came from . . . i think this post just opened some stuff up for me. you, my friend, are a deborah for sure.

    • There’s a lot more to this, obviously. I’d like to explore a bit more the whole thing of how we’re conditioned to demur from leadership, be suspicious of women who put their hand up to lead etc. Yeah. I’d love to see you talk about that a bit in your writing!

      • pastordt

        Yes. Even still, I backpedal. These remnants of the curse are tough to shake. Tough.

      • A couple of women in my Story101 group mentioned a few weeks ago wanting to tackle this concept in a synchroblog. I think it would be incredible to hear you both talk more about this.

  • Wow! Thank you for sharing this today. I so needed to hear this message and I know some others that will appreciate your powerful words also so off to share it!

  • lots of deep food for pondering and prayer here …

  • I have been blessed with a Deborah figure in my life.
    My sister is named Deborah and she embodies the spirit of the biblical Deborah–a strong, feminine leader. I got to grow up being reminded of the Deborah spirit every time I looked at her or said her name. The Debbie in my life is a rock powered by God.

    Let’s celebrate the Deborah’s in our lives and see the Deborah within ourselves.

  • Rebekah

    Yes! YES TO IT ALL! That we would move beyond gender roles, name calling and intimidation and say YES to the Spirit and the unique calling He has for each one of us and ENABLE them to move freely in the Spirit. LOVE this!

  • Jen Hatmaker

    BOOOOOOOOOOM. You KNOW I’ve been called a Jezebel, so just, YES.

  • What brave and insightful words. I lived this lie for over 27 years, and no foolin, lost my soul. I am writing a book about my ‘demise’ and my journey back to knowing and loving the big, expansive both/and God in whose image I was created. I cheer you on!

  • Just to add another spin, the Kingdom of God is not protected or defended by fear and shame. The Kingdom needs no guardians. It’s advancing too fast to be defended.

  • I lived a lot of time believing that Jezebel was the inevitable fate for women who come by (not even aspire to) any sort of leadership. In the last few years, I’ve finally seen a shift in my heart…and now I’m excited to see what kind of Deborah or Junia or Lydia or Tabitha I could be.

  • Mary1912

    Here is a counter-commentary: I have been the victim of a woman who was allowed to act with impunity; to tread into areas of authority that were not hers and because the staff so valued the leadership of women, they were hesitant to provide correction and direction to her behavior for fear of being sexist. Because she was an emotionally wounded woman, no one wanted to call her behavior to the carpet and she was thus allowed to continue behaving in this manner. This caused a great deal of pain and grief in our lives. Just because a woman is acting in a leadership role does not automatically mean that she is acting in a godly manner and is immune from godly correction.

    • Becca Schwartz

      This is a great point. My husband’s mother is very emotionally wounded, and is very manipulative toward everyone in her life. After my husband and I went through quite a bit of counseling to work through the crap she has put us through, the counselor started talking about how to defeat a Jezebel spirit. We really feel strongly that that is what we are dealing with, but it is made more challenging by the carelessness with which the church has thrown around that phrase! If we try and talk about it with anyone they instantly write it off because like Sarah points out: it’s just become a label to shut people down. It’s making it very tricky to know how to deal with this spiritual warfare situation because no one takes that label seriously.

  • Chantal

    so freeing. thank you.

  • I find it really interesting and coincidental that this post published on the same day that Emily Wierenga’s on servanthood and feminism posted on Prodigal. I’m with you, Sarah, in being done with false binaries and labels and oversimplifications. Keep preaching!

  • Powerful! Thanks, my friend!


  • Debra

    Thank you, Sarah. I can attest to all the ways you’ve mentioned above used to silence women and marginalize us to the fringes of the Church. I’m grateful that you and other younger-than-I women are writing and speaking truth that bonds us together and emboldens us to be ourselves. Honestly, there have been times when just my name, Debra, and the story of Deborah (as skewed as it often was toward “an exception” or “when there’s not a man around to lead”) gave me dignity in the onslaught of either judgmental accusations or “nice” exclusion.

  • Nish

    I love you. But you knew that. I’m so proud of you.

    And to hell with false binaries.

  • I think Jezebel gets badly treated by the text. Leaving out names, she’s a fiercely devoted believer in her god who supports holy men and builds temples throughout the land; she’s the mother of royalty – two sons who are kings and a daughter who becomes a queen; she’s powerful and unafraid of confrontation with the prophet of a god who opposes her faith; she faces her killers (and the killers of her children) with pride and a quick wit.

    And then consider: She wields power over men, but so did Deborah and Huldah. She schemes for the sake of her husband, but so did Rebekah. She manipulates her husband, but so did Esther. She is a foreigner, but so are Ruth, Rahab, and Tamar. She is responsible for the murder of men, but so is Jael.

    Jezebel just happens to be on the wrong side of the Israelite story tellers – consider how she would be talked about by the Phoenicians. Her name in Phoenician is a religious appellation to Baal (Where is the Prince?) but in Hebrew means “Where is the Shit-Pile?”. Talk about heavy handed.

    Do we penalize her because she was raised without the knowledge of YHWH? Do we fault her for her zealously devoted faith? Do we condemn her for wielding the power she was raised to wield?

    • All good questions.

    • Kristen Rosser

      Indeed. She was actually honored by the new king at the time of her death as a “daughter of kings.” The Old Testament text actually never faults her for acting like one. It’s what she did, not that she as queen dared to do anything, that is faulted. And the one held most responsible was Ahab, who directly disobeyed God’s command to not take a wife from an idol-worshipping nation.

  • “Usually we’ll just say we love Jesus and believe the Bible more than you.”

    Yeah, that sucks.

  • YES. And to hell with false binaries on other labels too.

  • Theresa

    I love the post and completely agree with it happening. I like to point out that I was raised that men can have this “J-Spirit” too. I haven’t actually heard that term in a LONG TIME!! lol. I’d also like to point out that I preach and my husband and I are pastors with the Assemblies of God. Were Latinos so we battle against many in the latino church either for women pastors or against. Either way we are eglt. and both submit humbly to EACH other and live lives of FREEDOM as co-heirs with Christ. What I am saying is that in my conservative upbringing we (my 5 sisters and I) were always taught that in HIS image we were created and CALLED and QUALIFIED to do ALL HE calls us too. We were raised to see that in marriage it is a equal partnership BOTH advancing the Kingdom of God. I consider myself feminist because I advocate for EQUAL rights to ALL especially women in EVERY sphere (church, home, professional) I do that because I was taught that the Bible teaches we are created and called by God. A lot of times people want to say that all conservatives are against “feminism” (and that depends really on the definition being used) or men in conservative circles NEVER encourage women (their sisters in Christ) to preach, teach, and pastor…etc. That is simply NOT TRUE. I am conservative (NOT ultra, maybe a little more moderate) and grew up that way, and in that I have been SURROUNDED by men who have ALWAYS encouraged me to rise up about the status quo (especially in the church) to teach, to preach to men and women, to pastor, to lead, etc. I have always been encouraged by my brothers. Even on Holy Thursday I was surrounded by brothers telling me how great I preached and how they are excited that their sisters are standing up, preaching along side them. Just don’t discredit the conservative circles and throw us under the bus, because a lot of us are advocating for women, the pastors, the prophetess, the worship pastors, the leaders,etc. to stand up so that we can all celebrate what God does through all of HIS image-bearers, Christian or not. God Bless. (:

    • What a blessing! Loved reading this.

      • Theresa

        Thank you! loved reading your post!

    • Amen, sister! I’m Assemblies of God too! It’s such a blessing to be part of a fellowship that supports women in ministry. I have many women friends who hold credentials with the A/G and I hope to do the same one day.

      • Theresa

        Keep pressing through girl! Preach, Lead, Teach, do all that you are called to do for the kingdom. Don’t let anyone put doubt in your mind. We are the church, the called and the Free!! (:

    • pastordt

      YES! This is the story of my life the last 25 years, too. Still centered in the gospel of Jesus, but equally called and gifted, commissioned and ordained. Thank you for this lovely comment. And God bless you as you and your husband continue to partner in the kingdom.

      • Theresa

        Thank You sister!! May we as the CHURCH rise as ONE to advance HIS kingdom in love and holiness! God Bless (:

  • #fistfreakinbump ALL over that!!!!

  • …truly love this. I often wonder just where our Christian faith would be without women like you and so many others.

    I was reminded this past Sunday about this simple truth as the scene in John 20.8-18 is pretty clear. “The disciples “went back to where they were staying” & yet it is Mary who God reveals himself to. Or, maybe she recognized him because her heart was not concerned about who ran the fastest to the tomb but about the One whom she sought with all her heart…and in this, I begin to see that I have so much to learn.

    Thank you for your voice Sarah.

    All is Grace…

  • Dan McM

    Great post, Sarah – I was saying ‘amen and amen’ all the way through.

    The one thought I had…. is it really more likely to be called a Jezebel today than a Deborah? The only reason I had any doubt is that I’ve never that term used the way you describe in my 30-ish years of being involved in/around church leadership. But, I’m also not a woman, and based on the multitude replies you’re getting in the other comments, I guess it has been prevalent, even though I was unaware.

    Still a long way to go, but positive change is obviously in progress in the church (at least to me it is obvious; guess I’m a ‘glass half full’ kind of guy?) Thank you for ‘preaching the word boldly’, just as God is calling you to do — in a way, you are part of the evidence that positive change is occurring in the church.

    “This is the thing I believe about the Kingdom of God: it’s for all of us. It’s for the powerful and weak, it’s for men and for women, it’s for the outliers and the insiders. It’s for all of us…..In Christ, oh, hallelujah, there is room for us

    Amen and amen.

    • I agree – I have a lot of hope. I see so much goodness.


    Holy crap YES!!! Talk about speaking to my soul. Thanks Sarah!

  • SortaCrunchy

    Amen and amen. Let us all pause and think on that.

  • Amy Englemark

    That was so beautiful and powerful. Your words have empowered me even more to sit down and WRITE xo Thanks, Amy

  • I was never interested in leadership as a younger woman so it took me a while to even realize that many women have struggled with these “false binaries.” I’m so sorry for all the faithful, strong, gifted, humble, warrior women who have been slandered instead of encouraged. Ride on Deborah!

    • I’m similar, Christiana. Never interested in preaching or teaching or leading my own self (to be honest, still not that interested).

  • I was a part of that third wave, Charismatic culture and experienced exactly what you write here. I was accused of being a Jezebel spirit myself, but even more gross—I thought it was my job to identify the Jezebel spirits in other women and correct them/root them out of the church. Unbelievably hurtful. I am so ashamed. I now am a woman pastor and leader myself and have received so much healing and affirmation from both God and male colleagues. I wish I could go back and undo the damage of those years. Thank you so much for your writing. You are such an encouragement to me! (I have a daughter named Jael, by the way 🙂

  • TransformingWords

    Hey, Sarah, in the interest of my treading lightly on this: What do you mean when you say “feminism?”

    I’ve heard several men and women use the same word to mean completely different things.

    • I use the word at the purest core of it’s meaning: a belief that woman are people, too.

      • TransformingWords

        Well, that’s kind of why I asked, because Complementarian Theology believes and confesses that too.

        I mean, every Complementarian I know confesses that women have equal dignity, value, and worth. The only thing they don’t confess is “sameness” when it comes to roles and functions, but those roles aren’t what gives us worth, being made in the image of Christ does. And those who “Lord their authority over women” simply aren’t being Complementarian at all, much less following Scripture.

        So, the reason why I’m asking this: I grew up in Charismatic circles too, so I can identify with much of what you’ve written, and find it equally obnoxious. But the only exposure I’ve had to feminism has been that of secular feminism, which is completely unattractive and I obviously don’t see the gospel in it. Then I come across you, Joy, Tamara, and other female writers who claim to be feminists, but with the exception of being concerned about teaching and preaching in church, I don’t see any resemblence to feminism.

        In fact, if it weren’t for the teaching and preaching bit, it would seem that you’re just trying to get men to actually be men of the Bible and treat women with the dignity and respect Scripture commands, even inside of a Complementarian framework.

        Granted, this may not be the best place to work through all of this, but it’s been on my mind for a couple weeks now, so I thought I’d throw it out there and see what happens, lol.

  • Yes, yes! A good friend of mine {who happens to be a woman too} and I have talked about this VERY thing, for a few years now. You hit it on the head. And how strange that the true Jezebel drew men unto herself {so many that even Elijah thought he was the lone man standing}. But if you notice how these modern day accusers of “Jezebel” usually accuse women who are REPELLing {religious} men and women {at worst} or plainly speaking about God {at best} . Usually, the prophetesses AND prophets of these modern times aren’t much different than the old ones. They tend to feel very much alone and separated, cut off from others. That doesn’t sound like the true Jezebel who had 400+{false} prophets to do her bidding. But like Elijah, they are not alone. There are others.

  • LLLLLLOOOOOVE! Amen. May it be so!

  • Wonderful reflection. It’s kinda hard for the guys, though. In the rush to turn David back into a paragon (and talk about HIS “Jezebel” spirit!), they got carried away! Classifications can be really deadly–but, wait, Jesus changed that paradigm!

  • Deanna

    Oh my goodness! Sarah, thank you so much for this! Being accused of having a Jezebel spirit was the worst. It is considered a demonic spirit and the accusation of having it was not just based on someone’s opinion about you but it was ‘discerned’ by insight from the Holy Spirit. What defense could you possibly have to God Himself revealing to your spiritual oversight that your heart and motives were demonically influenced? It was about two decades ago for me, and I wasn’t told I had a Jezebel spirit specifically – I was told I was ‘manipulative’, which is one of the main features of a Jezebel spirt, and that I needed deliverance. It turns out what I actually needed deliverance from was the terribly controlling church I was in, but to this day that accusation causes me to doubt myself. I am crying tears of release, relief, and new hope for understanding who I am as a woman in Christ. Thank you!

  • Love this! I didn’t hear about Jezebel spirit until I was an adult, but t’s really similar in concept to the Salem witch trials, just thankfully at least without the torture and murder! On to be a Deborah….

  • Preach, Sarah, preach! I became a feminist while attending a conservative Christian college, so my faith and my feminism have always been connected. My faith is the reason why I’m still a feminist; I wouldn’t be able to pursue my calling into pastoral ministry if it wasn’t for feminism. Amen to everything you’ve said here.

  • Amazing post – totally agree with you Sarah, need more people speaking out about these kind of things. Gives us more of a taste of your book too. So often scripture gets twisted to suit our own agenda but the truth is often somewhat different, as you say. Thanks for sharing this Sarah – bold and courageous…and true.

  • pastordt

    Can’t thank you deeply enough for this one, Sarah. Because I’m feeling mighty ground down this morning, by another blogger whom I love, who seemed to be saying almost the exact opposite of this. I am exhausted by this rhetoric – just plain done in. It does not have to be leader and submissive, it does not have to be feminine or masculine, it does not have to be women-shut-up-so-the-men-will-come, it does not have to be. It just. does. not. I couldn’t find the words or the will to try and combat it today — the lovely, wonderful events of this past Holy Week (in which BOTH male and female led in worship) have left me darn near empty. Wish I could send every reader of that one right here, right now.

  • all of this. i’m raising my hands and lightening my load here, friend. thank you for singing a better truth again and again and again. love to you, sarah.

  • the Blah Blah Blahger

    I’ve got a lighter in the air and I’m swaying…you are a ROCKSTAR, Sarah Bessey!!!

  • I love all of this so much. This term was very much in use when I was growing up.

  • Well said, as always. Not to mention which, there are plenty of men around who are manipulative, bitter and all those other thing. It’s a false binary whichever way you look at it.

    In Christ there is no man or woman, free or slave, black or white, Jew or Gentile, Republican or Democrat, etc. There are only those who have accepted the forgiveness of God, and those who have not but whom we hope will. Heck, I don’t even look down on people not from Texas. 8^)

  • Oh my. I’m chewing hard on this one, Sarah. Thank you! Having grown into my faith in a church with a woman pastor, I have never seen this condemning “Jezebel spirit” business in action, though I can imagine how inflammatory it is to the women who HAVE experienced it. My struggle is with the word “Feminism”. For me, that word carries such negative connotations. I have a physical reaction upon hearing it, and as I read your words, I’m considering the possibility that feminism could be aligned with women of the bible, who rather than rejected their roles in society, or their natural design by their maker, embraced their unique God-given gifts and callings to lead and serve their King–even into battle, which was a predominantly male thing to do. And even as I write this, I’m thinking of the scripture in Ephesians about putting on the full armor of God, which conjures up, a very military image, and yet this scripture is applicable to men and women alike, and in a sense, reminds us we are all on the battlefield and in some capacity or another, women are called to various roles of leadership, be it in their own homes or out “in” the world. Now, I’m rambling… I originally just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate you challenging me to think about this. Clearly, I had more to say than I realized.

  • I’ve been called Jezebel, too, sister. The shame is terrible. I love you so.

  • This is wonderful! Thank you so much for writing this. I have always loved Deborah. Always 🙂

  • J. Collard

    “People cloak it in spiritual language. But don’t be deceived: anything that steals the very essence of God’s calling on you, God’s shalom, God’s justice, God’s way of life and living as a warrior, as a prophetess, as a mother, as a teacher, whatever-your-vocation-or-calling as a woman after God’s own heart, is a liar.”

    This is so helpful and so true. I’ve believed all kinds of terrible and damaging things that have been cloaked in spiritual language. Some of them didn’t come from other people – they came from myself or they came from the childhood abuse. Introduce some damaging ideas young and watch what happens. The net result is the same: Call it what you call it, but shit is still shit. I wish I could say that there hasn’t been a lot of shit in evangelical upringing I had, but there was… and a lot of it is still there. I really like this post as it empowers people (myself included) to call shit what it is instead of believing the lie that it’s something else.

  • Tim

    Although I understand what you are saying, is it possible that this is being attributed to treatment of women when in church organizations, there is an inner circle that when challenged says ‘sit down and shutup’… to anyone? what is the difference?

  • Oh, darling friend? Did you hear that ripping noise? Old as Temple Curtain? Did you hear it tear again when you clicked publish?

  • Liz

    i love your truth-telling spirit, Sarah. Keep on keeping on – and know your seattle sister prays for your nourishment, because this road can be tough to walk on. Love it.

  • Profound and beautiful, Sarah. Just like you.

  • Lydia Mulligan

    So incredibly beautiful, as per usual Sarah. God bless you and your beautiful spirit.

  • yes! so many amazing lines in there, powerful stuff, thank you…

  • This is a good word, Sarah Bessey. A good word indeed.

  • gwallace

    Thank you so much for this, Sarah! Such a needed message for the Church today.

  • Thank you for writing true, challenging, and truthful words without the off-putting sting of an angry tone or any sense of a slap in the face to those who are being ‘called out’. You write in a way that highlights truth without making me cringe at the way you do it. I always find your words beautiful and healing. Not something that can be said of all…

  • Ruth

    I’m mentally on my knees with thanks for your article and the blessings my church bestowed, by not being vile to women. True, the pastor and elders were male, but 60 years ago, so…..BUT……women deacons and leaders of bible studies, then an ever increasing growth of formal involvement. Our church was full of women of every sort who were themselves, and to me, what I thought all Christian women were allowed to be. The racing car driver, the business woman, the missionary supporter, the most mothering, the grandmother, the nana, the caregivers, devoted leaders of groups, of bible studies, the gardener, the full-time home- makers, the teachers, members who stood up and made their contributions count at members meetings, the single or married working women, the strong widows. I could go on!
    The shock I got as I grew up and found I was in an amazing place with great women and men, not in what other churches were like , as I thought they would be. Of course we had those who did not like at all the way things were, as I learnt more about the world, but, to the marvelous women, and equally marvelous men who knew the true value of womankind, I can only say….Praise be to God and, yes, my mum for always allowing us to see what we are meant to be. That racing car driver also possessed the most wonderful soprano voice in the world!
    Now I’m crying because I remember and miss so much, but I also have so much. Blessed indeed!

  • Broox

    wholeheartedly agree, the Kingdom is wide open for everyone; yet, it seems it is a growing thing in a place where it is foreign. Godly women AND men will be rejected in certain places at certain times – even in some parts of the ever-growing body that is the Church. Change sometimes comes slowly as the Church emerges into new territory or is renewed there. If in some place, you are not received, gracefully shake the dust from your feet and move on elsewhere; they may simply be still growing and not yet ready for someone like you there. And that’s ok, because there ARE other places where you are needed and they are ready.

  • Amen, amen

  • Ann

    Yes! Yes and Yes! Thank you Sarah. Its just another means by which we shame and blame each other. My most recent observation of its use was against a sister who owned up to a marriage that was pretty empty. Instead of it being the catalyst for she and her husband to face the issue and be supported in healing and reconciliation she was completely marginalised by the “coalition of the holy” who joined her husband in claiming she had the Jezebel spirit. Its a dangerous game we play when we start thinking we love Jesus more than another. Your point about false binaries is eloquently made. Here’s to celebrating strong women who are vulnerable and love God.

  • This post had me singing Hallelujah! There has been so much pain and damage brought into the church because of fear and control. Keep speaking freedom for the silenced!

  • Jo

    This is awesome, thank you!!!
    “But don’t be deceived: anything that steals the very essence of God’s calling on you, God’s shalom, God’s justice, God’s way of life and living as a warrior, as a prophetess, as a mother, as a teacher, whatever-your-vocation-or-calling as a woman after God’s own heart, is a liar. There is a big difference between choosing silence and being silenced”.

  • YES!!! Amen and Amen…on and on. 🙂

  • Kara Hamilton

    I think this is so great! and really relevant to today. There is such a hope in the stories of the great women of the bible that is too sweet to silence. God calls women, along with men, to live out the gospel, and to do it boldly, loudly, and without shame. I love it!

  • Bev Murrill

    This is one of the most outstanding messages of good sense on behalf of the body of Christ that I’ve read for a long time. Fantastically written. I love the whole exposure of false binaries.

  • Amen. Glorious reading on a Saturday morning. Amen. amen. amen.

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  • steve hamric

    beautifully said

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  • Steven Hamric

    reblogged at thanks for the great blog!

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  • well said

  • Kate


  • Very often, after I read one of your posts, I sigh deeply. Your words and the spirit in which they are offered are nourishment for my soul. So I thank you.

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