True Power

True Power

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

FEMINISM the "F" word of Christianity


I recently heard a Christian radio broadcast and later read an article in which both men accused women of feminizing Jesus and the Bible. They explained women were making Jesus and the Bible warm and fuzzy and loving; tolerant and caring about all people. Women were making Jesus touchy, feely, with sensitivity and emotions. It was suggested when women read the Bible they skip over the masculine battles and anger displayed by God and only read his examples of love and mercy.

They went on to explain how manly Jesus was when he overthrew the money lender's table and so on and so on. A call was given, I guess to Christian men, to stop women from feminizing God and the Bible.

After years of the church telling Christian women how admired they would be for being the essence of femininty: dressing modestly, speaking softly, being seen and not heard, a "yes" woman for her husband, a patient kind, never stressed mother, who teaches the little children's Bible class, now they wonder why she only sees and dreams of clouds and unicorns.

Get real. Only the wives of dominating, over-bearing Christian men are feminizing everything they touch with lavender and roses. You created the monster, now enjoy. Christian women who actually study the Bible and discuss it with other men and women in and out of the church understand and know Jesus.

I found this statement offensive. It is just another way to silence women in the church. The best weapon that has been used against women who ask questions and think for themselve is to use the scarlet letter "F" FEMINIST. I lived in fear for years of being labled a feminist. Glad I grew out of that. In my book "When Will Eve Be Forgiven?" I examine how some of Paul's views and statements about women were formulated and misinterpreted. Below is an excerpt from the book.

Many feminists bristle at Paul’s treatment of women in the Scriptures. At this point I will not claim or disavow whether I am a feminist or not. I will say I am not in agreement with the definitions of Feminist Theology and those that are labeled correctly or incorrectly as feminists. I do believe more dialogue should occur between the members of Christianity and those belonging to Feminist groups. I will always advocate dialogue between any two opposing parties because it leads to growth. But, before we label anyone, let’s get an understanding of who we are talking about.

Feminist Theology (contextual theologians) became prominent in the second half of the twentieth century. A variety of theologians reflected theologically while taking into account the experience of women. The primary focus was on the “experience” of the women, specifically the oppression of women in male-dominated societies and churches. Liberation is the primary focus of the oppressed woman, oppressed people, and the oppressors. All feminist theologians agree their experience in a church and society dominated by males is significant.

Protestant feminist theologians tend to focus on the reinterpretation and recovery of Scripture. This form of theology is not atypical. Black theology, also a contextual theology and also developed in the second half of the twentieth century, looks at the oppression of persons of African descent enslaved in America. African American women, conscious of their double oppression and exclusion as black and female have developed their own form of black theology, “Womanist theology.”
Black theology has been thrust into the forefront of the twenty-first century mainstream due to the election of the first African American President in 2009, Barak Obama. President Obama’s religious association with his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and Wright’s controversial stance and belief in Black Theology, has stirred debate and renewed conversation regarding Jesus and his Gospel message.
Is there any room in the Good News for freedom for the oppressed? Are women truly oppressed by the Scripture? While Paul was setting the Gentile’s free, was he enslaving women?

Don McWhorter has divided Feminism in religion into distinctive segments such as, Radical Feminists, Moderate Feminists, “Christian” Feminists, and “Biblical Feminists.” He explains the Radical Feminist disavows any connection with religion as he labels it and they sever themselves and their ideology from the God of heaven and from the Bible; in essence they have formed their own religion. Radical Feminists, according to McWhorter, are violently anti-male.

Moderate Feminists are more affable towards marriage, home, family, and motherhood. They do not endorse traditional marriage but make concessions in the areas of co-habitation and childbearing.

Christian Feminists find almost everything about Christianity an enemy of their true cause which is the elevation of women to roles of authority in every area of the church. He insists the primary interest of the “Christian” Feminist is the names and images of deity. Instead of the male pronouns used in the Bible, the women prefer to use female names, pronouns, and metaphors.

The last category of “Biblical” Feminist differs in the interpretation of the passages in the Bible dealing with the roles of women. These particular women argue whether Paul had anti-woman prejudices or that he has faulty interpretation of the principles laid down in Genesis 1 and 2. McWhorter adds the primary focus of all of the segments of feminists is to challenge the principles of Genesis 1 and 2 in regard to the spiritual roles of men and women and the authority of God to speak to modern man through the Holy Scriptures. Many of the above defined feminists would have a few choice words for Paul and his passages regarding women.

My youngest daughter asked me with all sincerity whether I was a feminist. After a moment of reflection and the awareness of the impact my reply would have on my teenage daughter, I answered with pride, “I am a feminist in the sense I embrace the way God created me. I am a feminist in regards to the fact God gave me free will and free choice as he did with man. I am a feminist in the essence of the “label” that, I, in the image of God, was given the freedom and the capacity to make choices for myself and no person or institution has the right to take my free will or free choice from me because it was given to me by God. I exercised my free will and free choice when I served my country in the Army during the first Gulf War. I exercised my free will and free choice when I decided to become a mother (this argument will be addressed later in the book). Whether I choose rightly or wrongly, my right to choose was given to me by God and this is an area of Feminism many people forget.”

My final answer? I left it for her to decide whether or not her mother is a feminist.
It is imperative for each Christian to chart a course of trying to continually uncover truth within the Scripture. It takes courage and maturity to set out to find that truth and to practice the truth that is found. The leadership in today’s church will gladly do the thinking for its congregation and set the perimeters of truth for its members. This should not be the mode of operation for any church. Honest inquiry leads men and women to break new ground with Bible study that can enrich the entire Christian body. Many churches spend a majority of time promoting doctrine, which continue to separate them from their religious neighbors. Any scholarly effort to understand the nature of God and the nature of man as God created him should be encouraged within the Christian community with an atmosphere of open dialogue.


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