This was troubling to me – I’d always imagined feminists to be outspoken, anti-male activists who supported things like the ERA (I had no desire to be drafted into the army!) among other radical steps towards gender equality. I was no activist and happy with my world as it was – full of hope and opportunity.
Then I read an article that made me more aware of the benefits I enjoyed due to the work of previous generations of feminists:
- the right to vote
- the freedom to be educated
- the liberty to choose my own career and to work outside of the home
Ever since, I have wrestled with the idea that I just might be a feminist.
Miriam-Webster online gives a “simple” definition of feminism as “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”
An International Feminism
For the great majority of my life, I have engaged with other cultures and international destinations. These international adventures have given me a unique perspective on women’s rights. In so many places around the world, women are treated as second-class citizens at best and as disposable flesh at worst.
Women are particularly vulnerable in places that experience great poverty or great conflict. We see the across the globe, in developed and under-developed countries.
This is where my Christian sense of justice meets my latent feminism!
Was Jesus a Feminist?
When we read the Gospels, we see that Jesus had a special degree of compassion for women, to the extent that the male authors of the New Testament commented on it.
- His first miracle was at the request of His mother (John 2)
- He healed women suffering from severe afflictions (Matthew 9, Mark 5, Luke 13)
- He raised a widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7)
- He had a number of women who supported His ministry – which tells me they agreed with His ministry (Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23)
- His special friends were Mary and Martha, with their brother Lazarus (John 11, Luke 10)
- He forgave the woman caught in adultery (John 8)
In Matthew 25, Jesus gives clear teaching about the Kingdom of God:
Righteous: Master, when did we find You hungry and give You food? When did we find You thirsty and slake Your thirst? When did we find You a stranger and welcome You in, or find You naked and clothe You? When did we find You sick and nurse You to health? When did we visit You when You were in prison?
King: I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother or sister hungry or cold, whatever you did to the least of these, so you did to Me.
Today I call myself a Christian Feminist. I’m not sure if the concept exists anywhere outside of my own head, and it’s a concept I have not yet fully defined for myself.
However, as Christ’s disciples, we are commissioned to bring His compassion and justice to the world. What are you doing to fulfill that commission on behalf of “the least of these”?
If you would like to learn more about the condition of women around the world, here are a few articles to get you started:
The stories of Yazidi sex slaves rescued from ISIS
A video of Ravi Zacharias speaking on Biblical views of gender
Reports and Statistics