This week I read Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey. Even before I finished it I texted my friend and told her to take a break for thirty seconds and go read this book. This was such a healing way to encounter the idea of feminism as a Christian.
Sarah Bessey starts off by inviting us to join her by the fire–glass of wine in hand–to talk about this thing to which no one has all the answers. She writes with humility and grace, and asks us to listen and lean into this moment–to respectfully wrestle with the known and unknown.
She weaves her story in and around her premises. One premise is that Jesus’s interactions with women were revolutionary in and of themselves. He included, taught, protected and loved them. He loves women and He created them uniquely to stand alongside men to love this fallen broken world. We should look to him as our author. Another argument she makes is that when Scripture was God-breathed and inspired and then written down, the writers wrote to a specific time, place and people. Paul and the others wrote within a context so they used the systems in place to create a better way within the system that the world offered. She argues it’s similar to how the writers address slavery. Of course God does not want one human being to own another–but it was socially acceptable at the time, and while hope wants it to change, it seeks to create a new and better relationship in that fallen dynamic. She argues that Paul was writing to a patriarchal society and that this was a man-made design that Paul worked within, while hoping for the day when men and women would walk in the knowledge and design that they are no longer male and female or Jew and Greek, but all one in Christ. Being a feminist and a Christian are not mutually exclusive. I “grew up” in a complementarian church where arguments were presented and the case was closed. In this book, Sarah Bessey offered some insights giving me the opportunity to wrestle with both sides of the equation.
And in the end, her purpose is not more power for women, but to globally change the position of women in the world–so that we are all united in our human-ness. Worldwide, women and children are still the most exploited of all humankind. And that’s an impossible task for the Church to tackle when half of the population’s gifts, talents, and voices are silenced, quieted, or hushed. There are places and spheres where women have very limited options, where they are excluded, persecuted, and hurt because of their gender. The Church is called to stand in this gap and be a voice for those who have none.
God is so much bigger than our gender, race, or sexual orientation. Sarah Bessey writes us into this discussion and invites us to live in this messy place where there are no easy answers. To me, this reads like a love letter to women inviting them to bring all of themselves to the table–not for ourselves or our own rights and power, but to do the work of the kingdom of God. To make this happen requires that we work as one, with each part operating at full strength.
Available December 31, 2012
the Dark (A Kin Series novella)
Mary Anne Moore
doesn’t know what she is. She can’t explain why she has lived so long.
Or why she never gets sick.
Or why the dreams she has come true.
She has hidden herself as a lowly servant to the households of Dublin’s English elite for decades, until the night that changes her life. Now her sole purpose is the child she never expected to have. She will do anything in her power to keep the black-eyed monsters from discovering him and turning him into one of them.
For Kieran Moore the dark is an ever-present parasite, waiting to devour his humanity. His mother’s love and the girl in his dreams has kept it at bay for years, but the more time that passes—the longer he has to wait for her—the more it grows. When tragedy strikes, it is all he can do to keep from being consumed by the darkness that infects him. He must continue to hold on to the hope of peace her presence will bring him, because it’s not just his fate on the line, but that of the entire world.
**Note** This novella takes place both before, and concurrently with events that happen in the One. It is highly recommended it be read first.
I can’t wait to read this!!
On Friday I got a new tattoo. This will be my third. It is also the one that is most significant to me. The first tattoo I got was because I was 19 and wanted a tattoo. I walked into the shop, told the guy what I wanted and walked out a few hours later with my permanent flowery anklet. I don’t love it. But I don’t hate it. And I don’t regret getting it, although I wish it meant more than “I’m 19 and want a tattoo.” The other one is a cross on my wrist that I got in North Africa. It’s small, a symbol of my faith and I love it.
I’ve been playing around with the idea of another tattoo for awhile now. I knew I wanted this one to be full of meaning and definitive of who I am and what I believe. So I thought about it and tried to come up with something. I saw other tattoos I adored, but I didn’t want to copy someone else. I wanted something that wasn’t just pretty to look at. Throughout the adoption process one word kept resonating over and over again with me: hope. God continually reminded me that my hope is in Him. This world is ugly, messy and hard. Without hope, we should all just stay in bed and pull the blankets up over our heads. But because He is my hope, I live and I breathe and I fight for the things I love. I decided I wanted that to be a part of my tattoo…Originally I planned on having the word written. In the interim, I read The Language of Flowers. The main character communicates with flowers–which was a very popular way of communicating in the Victorian Era. I liked the subtlety of that so I looked up what flower communicated hope. Several sites listed the flowering almond branch. Unfortunately, in the book the flowering almond blossom means something else, but I am taking creative license here.
I also liked the idea of a bird. I did my research and learned about the nightingale. I already knew it was a good omen for writers and poets, but that has begun to take on a whole new meaning for me as I am actually embracing that part of myself now. But I also learned that this bird is known for teaching it’s children to sing perfectly. My hope and dream for my kids is that they would be as God created them, and that they would sing wrapped up in His perfection the songs He has given them to sing. I want to teach them that their perfection is in Christ. Lastly, early Christians noticed that this bird sang with greater fervency as dawn approached. To them, it symbolized our soul’s response as Christ draws ever more near.
Thanks to some friends, I had a great reference for a tattoo artist. And I want to emphasize the artist part here. I feel like I am walking around with a piece of art on my back. She is so gifted. I don’t feel like words can do her justice. I emailed her some pictures of the branch and the bird and she came up with the design. Her name is Wendi Ramirez and you can find her at Dovetail Tattoo. She is worth the wait.
I finished reading “The Help” a few weeks ago. Since we’ve officially announced our pursuit of adoption, I’ve started to get a little nervous. Not of growing our family. Race (and racism) are a bigger deal than I ever realized. I’m a white girl. I have NO clue about the hatred, fear and suspicion that other people have to deal with on a daily basis. I’ve started doing my research on hair and skin, and apparently for brown babies, sandboxes aren’t the best idea. SANBOXES!? And I realize I have no idea what I’m getting myself into. So, yeah, I’m starting to get nervous. Not about adoption. Not about bringing our kids home. I’m nervous that I’m not cut out for this. I’m afraid that my learning curve isn’t going to be quick enough. Not only am I being confronted with deep sin issues on a daily basis that calls me to question my ability as a parent to the two kids I already have, but now we’re talking about kids who will have faced trauma that I can’t begin to comprehend, who have different hair and skin needs, and will grow up in a world that fears them, calls them ugly and notices first their skin color, and then their shining beautiful eyes. And I crumble at the first hint of rejection–how I can teach them to be strong in the midst of a life-long battle of racism?
So while “The Help” was addressing issues from forty years ago…some of what I read resonated with me in a whole different way. It’s not over. People are still judged by the color of their skin. It’s better. But there are still a whole lot of people out there filled with hate and anger. I’m a coward. If I’d lived forty years ago, I’m not sure I would have had the courage to fight injustice. I go with the status quo. Adoption feels normal for our family. Adopting some brown babies feels normal. I’m not doing something that feels like it’s going against the grain. But these brown babies will grow up to be men and women who have lost so much being raised in our family. First, they lost their birth parents. Then they lost their culture and community. Will we be enough? I don’t know. I don’t know if we’re ready. I don’t know how to be the mom of four kids.
So where do I find comfort and direction? In Proverbs 16:9, “in his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps, ” and Proverbs 19:21 “many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” We are on a journey. We hope it will lead to Uganda and to adoption. But it may not. Only God knows, and we are resting in His sovereignty. For now this is the direction we have set: we are praying some babies home–hoping that it’s our home, but regardless we are praying them home, wherever that may be. And for now, I am training to run a half marathon on October 23rd, the Chosen for Adoption Marathon. And I am praying daily for grace to love the two little ones that already call me mom, and trusting that if that number increases, grace will meet me there.