One of my favourite aspects of blogging – and I have many –is the blogging community. You are a significant part of my life: your criticism, your push-back, your conversation, your stories, your shared laughter, your “you, too? Me, too!” all makes me feel a little less alone in the world.

Blogging has helped me feel a little less crazy for questioning, for doubting, for wrestling, for noticing the little moments, for celebrating, for learning, for changing, as I wrote my way through my life and you wrote your way through yours. Some of you have your own blogs and others are long-time commenters who have walked a lot of life alongside me and my family over the years. You’re each very dear to me.

I’ve cooked the recipes you shared, I have watched your babies grow up, I have grieved with you in the midst of loss, I have prayed for you so often. I have bought your books, I wrote post after post based on your prompts and synchroblogs. I have tried on your writing voices as I struggled to find my own. I have made many friends and a few enemies. I even found a few life long soul sisters. You’ve changed my mind, softened my heart, toughened my hide, expanded my horizons. You’ve comforted me and angered me. Our little communities, scattered around the world, matter to me.

So during this release week for my first book, I wanted to make a space for us – the bloggers, the commenters, the online communities – to have our say on this subject, too.

I want to hear why you identify as a Jesus feminist – tell us about your family or maybe about your marriage or your friends or your church.

Tell us about the people or the places or the thinkers who formed your theology of women – there is room for the healing and for the hurt.

Tell us about your neighbourhood or your travels and they way they changed how you saw the women around you.

Perhaps tell us about the man or the woman or church or preacher who changed your mind about all Jesus stuff or the feminist stuff.

Five participants will be randomly chosen to receive a signed copy of my new book, “Jesus Feminist.”

Here’s how it works:

Write a post on your own blog based on this prompt: “I am a Jesus feminist because….” And tell us your story. Tell us why you identify as a Jesus feminist – perhaps tell us about your church background or family influence, tell us about the men and women in your life who helped form your theology of women, whatever you like.

(Or if you’d rather, you could write a post based on your “I am a ________________ and I am a Jesus feminist” sign.  Based on our popular community sourced photo project, take a bit of time to tell us about your sign. Why you wrote what you wrote, why you participated, why you chose that identifier instead of another, why it matters to you.)

Publish your post. Then submit your link through the tool at the bottom of this post here that says “Submit your link”

If you don’t have a blog but want to participate, just leave your response to the prompts in a comment on this post.

Then take a bit of time to click around and read other people’s thoughts on the subject, leave a bit of comment love in your wake, make a few new connections, enjoy the community of people who are tapping away at their laptops in coffee houses and kitchens all around the world.

We’ll draw a winner on Tuesday 12 November 2013 at midnight so that gives you a week to write your post and link it up or leave a comment. We’ll pull two winners from the commenters and three from the synchrobloggers – everyone gets to participate and everyone has a chance to win.

EDITED TO ADD: Because the UK & Ireland edition won’t be out until the end of November, I’ve reopened the synchroblog for the next month or two so that everyone who wants to participate can do so!

Why I wrote Jesus Feminist (+ giveaway)
In which I am a bit of a dork and I don't even mind
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  • Yay, how fun! Blogging has done the same for me. What a powerful medium it is. And…huge congrats on the release of Jesus Feminist! So happy for you!

  • Deborah Hudson

    I find the same from blogging and am so happy for you and this book that was birthed from your heart as you have listened to Jesus’ heart in your life. Loved Preston’s review of it too. Congratulations!

  • Paige G.

    So I don’t have a blog. Yet. I don’t think I have anything to write. Yet. I think I feel some things inside that might want to get out, but I’m not ready for it. Yet. But I have to tell you what reading your blog and others has done for me. When I was in my early 20’s and feeling like the whole patriarchy things was being brought to the text instead of being brought from the text, there seemed to be precious few resources I could draw on to learn more. I read a few books and found a little information online. But I still felt like I was buying into some fringe belief that more than anything was just trying to “explain away” the couple of verses that were used to put women in their places. But sometime last year I found Rachel Held Evans. Then she led me to you. Then you led me to… And on and on. The Junia Project, CBE… This community of people have helped me see form my understanding of Scripture. But more than that, you have helped me not be afraid. How to not be defensive. How to reach out in love to those who do not see it the way I do and feel threatened by my interpretations. You’ve not only encouraged me in what I already believed, but you’ve made me a better Christian. I’ve gotten in “trouble” for sharing some of what I’ve been discovering (I’m a minister’s wife), but I’ve kept reading and that has helped get through some difficult days. I’ve come out on the other side of that storm of people disapproving of me knowing that even more important than how we think God views men and women is Christ’s sacrifice and his call to treat others the way we want to be treated. I’ve been able to do that because I was connected to this community of believers through your blogs and other writings. What you’re doing matters. It’s mattered to me. Thank you.

    • Paige, this is such a gift to me today. Thank you for sharing it, for taking the time to write it here. You’ve encouraged me – and no doubt, many others! – with your words. (And I wouldn’t be so sure that you don’t have anything to write… *smile*) Bless you.

  • AlissaBC

    A huge congratulations on the release! Thanks for all the hard work that went in to pouring your heart out into that book for us. I’m delighted that you invited us all to celebrate with you!

  • Kristin

    I am a Jesus Feminist by accident. I was raised in the Salvation Army, where men & women, husbands & wives co-pastor as ‘Officers’. Women preach, care, lead, sing, organize….anything and everything. It wasn’t until I left ‘the army’ as a young adult that I realized how much of a rarity this could be. I am so thankful that I grew up in a church culture that made what I mostly see now (men behind the pulpit) to be weird instead of normal.

    • The Salvation Army stood out so often in my research as a beacon of hope in this regard. Thank you for sharing this, Kristin!

  • Jaimie Bowman

    And here is the sad part of this story for me. I am afraid to link up. I am afraid to call myself by this title – because I know that if I do, I will lose out on more ministry opportunities when I have worked so hard for the few ones I already have. I know that I will be misjudged by the men (and also many women) in my life, who don’t understand this term. They will read it the title and make more assumptions that are not true; more assumptions than I have the energy to fight against. This is a subject I am passionate about, but unfortunately it can get so misinterpreted that I know it will cause some steps backwards for me in some of the ministries I am involved with. Does anyone else worry about that kind of backlash, or is it just me? This battle tires me out.

    • Paige G.

      Oh yes! I tried to do a Jesus Feminist picture and put it on the FB site for the project. But I had to do it in a way that no one could see it. I couldn’t figure out how to finagle FB so that only I and the Jesus Feminist page could see it so I finally gave up. All because I will get more grief than I can handle if others were to see it. I am more afraid of other Christians than anyone outside the church. I’m just really hoping no one winds up seeing my comments here! Jaimie, you are not alone. It’s sad, but you’re not. I think there are a lot of us in the same boat. At least we’re in it together!

      • Yes, together! So much better. Always a journey.

    • T

      I completely understand as I work in a very conservative institution, and I’m the sole provider for my family. For some of us, working quietly to change things behind the scenes, there is an element of risk. (I know it kind of sounds like the cliche first-world-problem thing, but still.) But, like you, I am reading and learning and loving and encouraging and working–even if it’s not as public as I would like at this time. Hang in there!

    • I understand, Jaimie. The battle tires me, too. I don’t think our self-identification with a label needs to happen for us to catch God’s heart for humanity. You’re already there – no pressure here.

  • Katherine

    6 years ago I was serving dinner in a downtown SF mission to many homeless or at risk people. I was just beginning my search for answers regarding women in ministry. While the people were eating, a woman who I was told was a regular volunteer at the mission got up in front and started preaching to those seated. She spoke eloquently to all of us, urging us to give our lives to Jesus. It occurred to me then that those who would cheer her on in this setting probably would not support her speaking to a group of middle class people in a surburbian church. The hypocrisy of this stance made me feel indignant. I began to see through the paper tiger of patriarchy and those who would wish to keep women silent. This incredible woman of God was preaching to the precious, lost souls of the SF streets, those whose lives were no less precious in God’s sight then those of us who would sit in a pew on Sunday. That is when I started my path to becoming a Jesus Feminist!

    • Yes! That is such a powerful story, Katherine!

  • Ally

    I am a Jesus Feminist because I am a disciple of Christ and He was a feminist. Of course, I didn’t know this. I just knew that I was a women called by God to work in ministry but struggling to find my place in a patriarchal church environment where I was allowed to develop the discipleship ministry for a church of 5,000… only to hand over the materials to the pastors – aka men – to teach. I knew something wasn’t right; that I was created, even designed for more, and so I set off to study graduate-level theology and ended up doing research for a professor’s book, Finally Feminist. Ironically, it was this man, Dr. John Stackhouse, who has been one of the most influential person in my life as I explore my calling as a women in ministry. Under his mentorship, working on his book, and doing my own graduate work on the role of women in leadership in ministry (all parts of my discipleship journey in Christ), led me to be a feminist as Jesus so evidently was. Perhaps more than any other time in all of history, Jesus and His disciples were feminists. Which is to say, they believed that women were created equal to co-create and co-labour in restoring Shalom, in all arenas, in all roles, restoring God’s kingdom on earth. Thank you, Sarah, for contributing your voice to this incredibly important issue. I look forward to reading your book!

    • Dr. Stackhouse’s book was so influential for me, as well. So glad you mentioned it!

  • Jo

    My name is Jo and I’m a Jesus feminist…
    Whether someone “believes” or not…just simply love them for who they are. Embrace their uniqueness . Spirituality is God given. An awareness deep within that when you make a wrong choice.. you recognize it. Its a conviction of self. Its that nagging thought or sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. It’s what you know to be your conscience. A division of self from your creator. ( I refer to it as ‘the great divide’)
    God is love. The purest of all. We as humans were given the ability to love in many different ways. We were given the ability to offer our selfs to one another. Freely.. Two as one… Until the end of time. Just a glimpse of what is yet to come. A preparation for eternity. You cannot demand love. It must freely come to you. Just as God intended you to freely come to him.
    If you were told that you could read any books in a library except the red one on the top shelf… So would you listen or would you not?…that is the Question. Probably not … because we were born sinners. We were already predisposed to the challenge. That’s what makes us human.
    Temptation is in us all. A creeping vine..looking to latch . An apple waiting to be bitten. Our time on earth is measured. It is but a blink of an eye to God. Eternity offers no boundaries of time. An everlasting love. Perhaps an understanding of our existence… Who knows.
    We are fueled by faith. Faith is a strong belief in a supernatural power that controls human destiny. It is believing in what you can not see.
    (Jesus replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”)
    God is with you. Trust your maker will never leave nor forsake you. A heavenly connection . Just you and GOD. The ability to ‘move mountains’ … The ability to believe, to trust, to love GOD .. yourself and others.
    Love, Jo

    • Yes, our God is love, the purest of all. Such good reminders, Jo. Thank you!

  • pthweatt

    I am a Jesus feminist because…I see Jesus respect and value women. And in his day, that was an exceptionally radical position. I too was raised in Sarah’s background. I am 58 years old and I have always thought I had something to say. I, like Sarah, am no shrinking violet, but in my childhood, I sat and observed with interest, what women did (or shall I say, did not do) in my church. My turning point was when, as an adult, my friend and I ran an entire VBS program for our rather large congregation, and then watched as the male education director stood before the church and took credit for our work. I remember how angry that made me feel. Not because we received no public recognition (the people who worked the VBS knew full well who was responsible for pulling it off), but because of the ridiculousness of the notion that we could not stand before the church and talk about our ministry. Because he was a “he”, he was given the opportunity to speak about something that he was not even involved in. I think from that point on, I began to see the “hole in our complementarianism”. That has been some years ago and I am grateful for the women and men who are talking about this and bringing this issue to light with scripture as their sword. Blessings to you as we all journey toward becoming the people that God intends us to be.

  • womanalive
  • Dr. Kim Eckert

    I am a Jesus Feminist because when I took a spiritual gifts test in high school, it said my #1 gift was Pastor. and I was angry. Because why would God spiritually gift me for a job I wasn’t allowed to have? I am a Jesus Feminist because every morning of my child and adolescent life I saw my mother reading her Bible at the kitchen table with her coffee when I stumbled downstairs for breakfast. I am a Jesus Feminist because when I was 15 years old, my youth group leader Sonya Waters prayed out loud with me as she held my hands and met with me every week for a Bible study and taught me to how to fall in love with the Word. I am a Jesus Feminist because despite all the conversations about what women should or should not be doing in the church, the people I saw over and over who were about being the hands and feet of Jesus were women. I am a Jesus Feminist because, as much as I love and value music and children’s ministry, women can do so much more than that. I am a Jesus Feminist because women are gifted teachers and preachers. I am a Jesus Feminist because now I get to pastor in my work as a psychologist and as a writer. I am a Jesus Feminist because when I talk about “feminism” to students at the Christian college where I teach, so many of them shrink back in horror, and my heart breaks. I am a Jesus Feminist because of those same students who insist that sexism doesn’t exist any more, and my mouth drops open. I am a Jesus Feminist because I am a mother, and nothing prepared me or enabled me to love like Jesus more than becoming a mother. I am a Jesus Feminist because I am a wife to a strong man, who would want and settle for nothing less. I am a Jesus Feminist. Thank you for giving me the words. I just finished your book tonight, Sarah. What a gift. Thank you.

  • Sara

    It started with “Junia is Not Alone” a slight little book (or long essay) by Scot McKnight – I picked it up because he was a professor of mine back in college and I was so surprised to see something of his outside of the denominational bookstore. Reading it was like eating chocolate for me – sweet, savored and so mind-altering that I wondered whether it shouldn’t be classified as a controlled substance. It was so exciting to learn that there is more of a biblical justification for allowing women equal place in church leadership than what I have ever seen or experienced! And now, after reading your blog (and others) I’m so encouraged and excited to read this book… sure hope you’ll pick my comment so that I might win your book and also be counted among the ranks of the Jesus Feminists.

  • Kathryn Dettra

    I am a Jesus Feminist because I have never known anything else. I grew up in a North Eastern Blue US state ina church that had a man AND a woman pastor. I was raised that Jesus loves us all and that God calls women just like he calls men. I was empowered that with the love of Christ I can do anything. I honestly didn’t even know there was churches still spouting patriarchal drivel and holding women down until I was older and got out into the world.

  • So, I did it. I linked up. And while it is called “I am a wife and I am a Jesus Feminist” – it is most of all about how I am a hero regardless of my gender. Thank you Sarah for reclaiming the word, Feminist, so that we can all be brave. -Nicole

  • RC

    Just yesterday, I gave my son pages to read in Jesus Feminist and told him to forgive my radical new prayer for his fiance’ and himself. My prayer: “Lord, let Brian and Sally dance”. Yes my son’s name is Brian. Their wedding date is next July. I’ll let you guess what pages and chapter I gave him. I will dog ear this book, highlight and hide it in my stash of books because I am married to a staunch complementarian of 26 yrs. I will buy three more copies of this book to give to my son, his fiance’ and my daughter. I am and have been egalitarian without knowing the word. My daughter came home from a university semester two years ago and said she was egalitarian. I did not know what that was. Now I do. I really do. Having lived a very fruitfilled life in spite of the misguided ways of patriarchy in the church. The Lord Jesus blessed me with a career that gave me 30 years of ministering to people outside of the walls of organized religion here in the U.S. Now after studing and reading about complementarianism, egalitarians, biblical equality…etc. I guess I am enlightened in my old age…well, middle age. Will pray diligently for women across this globe who meet more pressure in circumstances that I do not have to face. And men to let them dance and be warriors alongside of them. Tomorrow and the next and the next I will go about my work thanking Jesus for placing me in a market or sphere of influence in which I can be all He needs me to be on this planet. And on Sunday when I walk through the halls of the building that calls itself a church, I will pray for the women to break free and take a chance, to challenge themselves to read, study, learn something for themselves. Oh, my daughter asked me what books I am reading. I showed her Jesus Feminist. She was not surprised. She actually thanked me for the influence I have been in her life. For raising her and her brother while demonstrating that a mom can be: coach, supporter, financier, educated ( they watched me get an M.S. and board certified in a specialty area ), entrepreneur ( they watched me move through years of founding a 501c3 and later an LLC ), and more. Yes, all along attending a church that is legalistically patriarchal and married to a man who is sold on everything opposed to what Jesus really desires for women who love and follow Him. Your book Sarah Bessey, is and will be a blessing to women of all ages. I will be praying for you. Thank you from a fellow sister on this side of eternity, RC

    • RC

      Oh, btw I am a Jesus Feminist. Sorry for not reading all the instructions. RC

  • Shannon

    I am a SAHM and a Jesus Feminist. I didn’t know until a few years ago that egalitarian was even a thing. But I did know that while I always said I wanted to submit to my husband (when I was a single woman longing for a relationship), my marriage didn’t look like that. My husband wasn’t the final say of the discussion. We made decisions together. It took so much off my shoulders to realize that it was ok that I view us as equals instead of him above me, that if our marriage didn’t look like the marriage books, it didn’t make it a bad marriage. I feel so much better not trying to jam a square peg into a round hole to make myself be something I’m not.

  • Jane Halton

    I just linked up and my photo came in upside down! Haha. Oh well!

  • Jemelene

    I’m late to the party but I just had so much to say!

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  • Amy Hunt

    You wrote this, Sarah — He charged you with the task — and yet, He’s given so many of us a passion for the message and scattered us all around the world, and WE are charged to do something . . . to lead. And this is our worship: to spread the message that it is worship to live as we are called, to not shirk back or doubt His purpose in us. to trust that He empowers and will enable us just as we are, and that our faith grows in our doing this life we’ve been given. (I’m SO with you.)

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