My best friend Janie says I have the ability to gracefully navigate groups of people with widely diverse opinions and viewpoints. When she first said that to me, I thought she was spouting crazy talk. Best friends have a tendency to make your behaviors seem more noble than their original intent. Sometimes I end up tiptoeing around ideologies I disagree with to avoid discord. At the same time, I believe passionately there’s a lot of gray in a black and white world and all of the different perspectives out there are desperately needed and beautiful.
Then I thought about my different groups of friends and the diverse nature of the worlds and the vocation of making a living in the creative world. I realized if you put all of my friends, colleagues, church lady-kindreds, and online buddies in a room, it would either be one heckuva party or have record potential for some perhaps heated and passionate discussions.
I love that diversity. I love the melting pot of all those viewpoints and passions and opinions. That concept is at the heart of Jesus Feminist–that ALL women are valued and loved and full of unique thoughts and ways of thinking, and that’s just how Our Creator made us.
I’ve mulled over and over exactly why I love this beautiful, needed book so very much. As I thumb through Sarah’s lyrical prose, it’s difficult for me to pinpoint just one or two things. I love all of it –the way Sarah weaves together thoughts and feelings and positions and reminders of how we as women are valued and important and capable of so much more than we sometimes think.
“Patriarchy is not God’s dream for humanity” (p. 14) felt weighty and important the moment I read it; a weight in my chest actually lifted. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but that statement has always been hard for me to say in the presence of my theologically conservative Christian friends. Sarah helped me remember truth is truth. If I agree to disagree in my beliefs with certain fellow believers, that’s more than ok.
Chapter Four struck another chord with me. I’ve read the theology, had some uncomfortable debates, and wrestled with the passages of Scripture that don’t seem to make sense in my mind. The actions and words of Jesus didn’t seem to line up with the tough talk that Paul and others espouse in “those” difficult passages. Sarah reminded me that “Paul’s intention was to restore order to the community of God. And that order didn’t include the silencing of women.” (p. 66)
Sarah’s last chapter of commissioning was a favorite of mine and brought tears of joy to my eyes. It also helped me see how so many of us need encouragement and, dare I say, permission to reach out from the pews. As my hands and heart tremble at the beauty and gift of this online space, I offer my own words and invitation to the Jesus Feminists in my life– to women like my Godmother Laura, my best friend Janie–and to each woman reading these words in the online world: from the beginning of Jesus Feminist Sarah talks to us over a figurative bonfire where all are welcome.
I understand not everyone may have loved this book as I did. I have always thought of myself as a feminist and have been a Jesus-follower since I was a young child. So for me, these two words belong together. Sarah’s book helped give me a vocabulary to do so. However, I know other women may not have had this journey and are reconciling this book’s message in their lives.
Let’s sit down on this beautiful, virtual Red Couch that SheLoves has provided and let’s talk about the ways Jesus Feminist makes us think and offers a new way to take action in our lives.
Questions to Consider
- Does the Christian community need to discuss Patriarchy?
- How should we talk about the roles of women in the church? How can we make room at the table?
- What practical ways can we live out Sarah’s commissioning in our daily lives?
- What chapters challenged you? What are your takeaways?
We’ll be reading Desmond Tutu’s God Has A Dream in February. Come back Wednesday, Feb. 5 for the introduction to the book. The discussion, led by Kelley Nikondeha, will be Wednesday, Feb. 26.
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