Sarah Bessey was a welcome discovery through Jen Hatmaker, who I hope to blog about next week. Sarah has a blog and wrote a book called Jesus Feminist. I know, the title alone is just about blowing your mind, right?
Let me explain what this book is not:
- Ø An angry scream-fest from a hard core modern-day feminist; it’s quite the opposite, in fact, Bessey being pro-all life and in favor of reclaiming the word feminist within the church as many early feminist were Christian women seeking justice for others.
- Ø An irrational argument for what women should or shouldn’t be or do;
- Ø A book simply meant to be controversial with no other purpose.
Bessey discusses feminism, what it is now, what it was in the beginning, and the idea behind a Jesus feminist, which is the belief that Jesus likes women as much as men and gifted them to serve the Kingdom of God. That statement either sounds very obvious or extremely inflammatory, probably depending on the church/family/religious beliefs you came from.
I appreciate that Jesus Feminist made me look at what being a Jesus-following female means to me. I was raised in a family of girls with a dad who never treated us like he had gotten handed the second string team because there were no guys. We were taught to learn everything we could, take care of ourselves, and my dad was so heavily invested in our lives and activities that many times he was the only dad at the girl events or milestones. It was quite the confidence builder.
As far as how I felt about women in relation to God and the Bible, I had never thought about it much. I knew Jesus had some very important women in His life when He was on earth, that He loved them. He defended women, He chose women to spread His word, He didn’t let them get mistreated. I know there are passages in the Bible about women that are still confusing to interpret. I know certain people who have tried to use passages out of context to abuse power, damage women, not hold up their end of God’s expectations as to how women should be treated. And I know others who pour over the words about women in the Bible, trying to embrace what is said and what is seen throughout the Bible and the New Testament. People who just want to know more about what Jesus has in store for women. Bessey is one of those.
I have never really doubted that God has a special plan for my life, and I have never felt it limited to a “girl job”, though I do feel in my life right now the call to raise a house load of Jesus-following kids, centered and certain of who they are and whose they are. I also feel God lets me write because I like it, and I hope it brings something to His glory. And I work outside of the home part-time. And I co-partner with Dennis in every aspect of our crazy lives, though he always takes out the trash and I do the laundry to the point he can’t actually turn the machine on. Not sure how that happened. And I feel a call to serve, follow up on opportunities God is pulling my heart towards. I’ve never once felt being a female should hinder me in any of this.
But I did not choose these jobs or callings because I felt the Lord saying this is what all women do, and this is ALL I CAN do. I did what Bessey discusses and makes the case for which is follow Jesus. Men, women, follow Jesus. He’s going to tell me where to go. He’ll point out my gifts and my place and make sure I end up where I belong. More than anything He will end the pointless arguments, the useless words that keep us all from doing what God created us to do: serve Him, seek justice, be a voice for those without one. My loving Father has plans to use me for His glory, wherever and however He chooses.
I am re-reading Jesus Feminist right now. This blog post is completely inadequate in describing the profound and thoughtful way Bessey has handled this topic. If you can get a hold of this book, read it. If you can’t, email me. I will find one for you. I can think of no one who wouldn’t be better off after reading and thinking on, discussing and studying Bessey’s strong Biblical perspective on what it means to be a Jesus feminist.