Feminist Journey: Jesus Feminist Chapter 1
Chapter 1: Jesus made a Feminist out of Me
Based on the women Sarah Bessey has chosen to highlight, she makes some valid points; Jesus broke social norm at the time and spoke directly to women versus their male-headships. But what she doesn’t take into consideration is the social status of the women she mentions. Most of these women were social outcasts, they most likely didn't have male figures in their lives supporting them. Adultery - John 8.3-11, Never ending period - Matthew 9.18-26, Mark 5.25-34, and Luke 8:43-48. She lists many other similar verses all with the same recurring theme, social outcasts with a deformity or issue that can't be solved.
The exceptions being Mary and Martha - Luke 10.42 Mary however undermines Martha’s authority by staying at Jesus feet and having him defend her. Imagine a house full of people and the one person who's supposed to help you serve these people is sitting at the feet of a man. I understand why Martha would say something. Why didn’t Jesus instead invite Martha to join or offer her assistance to ease the pressure of house guests.
The woman of Samaria - John 4.7-30 This encounter happened at a city well. Jesus was thirsty and she was there. If you are standing by a well and there's no bucket to get water and someone walks up with one would you really not talk to that person? It makes sense for him to acknowledge her presence.
Slightly Off Topic RANT
In her number notes for this chapter note #2 leads you to a website called Feminists for Life. The websites tag line is "Women deserve Better" I was so excited to find a feminist website. I love finding new feminist stuff. But as I dug in I realized this was not the website for me. This is a bit off topic, however as the book supports this site, I feel it is relevant enough to discuss. More so you understand where the author Sarah Bessey is coming from.
The first thing I always look for on a feminist website is what their stance is on Abortion. Abortion is one of those things that is either black or white. There's very little gray area and if the website has gray area, I see it being unreliable because they won't state an opinion. I especially like websites that support the belief that "It's a woman's body, her choice her decision, pro-life or pro-choice we support", you don't find those often.
First thing I found was Pro-Woman Answers to Pro-Choice Questions. It's an e-course, though you can't really find exactly what is covered in the course. It did however have a list of links from there. As I started to read, things started to go downhill. I am a firm believer that children should be taught sex education early on; how, why, the purpose, the pleasure, protection options, abstinence, birth control options, condom use, and abortion. It should not be taught from just a male-female relationship view and it should not be from a biased opinion or religious perspective. Just cold hard facts, these two articles show statistics and stories about why starting sex education young is a good idea, A Closer Look At Uptopia and Let’s Talk About Sex Education.
Planned Parenthood is all over this website. And while Planned Parenthood is a fabulous option it is not the only option. This "feminist" (and I use that term very lightly) website only supports Planned Parenthood. And while the definition of Feminist varies from person to person, this website does not fall into my definition of a feminist.
However they did have some interesting articles that I have decided to list.
Read through the articles if you are interested and make your own decisions. I will only say two things. 1. As a person who takes extreme measures to ensure I don't get pregnant, if I did somehow end up pregnant, I would get an abortion. Reading through the "What if she just doesn't want it" article frustrates me. There is nothing to address my kind of scenario - a woman in a healthy relationship not wanting a baby, getting sick at the thought of an alien inside her. They "oppose abortion in all cases because violence is a violation of basic feminist principles" Violence is definitely a violation of basic feminist principles. But for someone who has sex as a way of connecting, emotionally and physically with her partner in life the organization’s principles have nothing to say. There is a lot of violence in this world. But not every pregnancy - unwanted or wanted - comes from a violent act. They need to be broader in their terms and definitions. 2. In regards to the "What about the "life of the mother?" They bring up an interesting point "At this time uterine transplants to re-implant the baby into the womb are not possible. (But if this becomes a viable option, it would have enormous ramifications for the entire abortion debate, since becoming un-pregnant would not be the same as having an abortion!)" My goodness what an interesting concept. I know three couples that have tried to have kids but can't! To have the ability to remove a child from someone who doesn't want it and place it in someone who does would be amazing! Interesting concept that's for sure.
Other things to note: I don't mind their stance on aborting a fetus just because it has a disability. If you choose to get pregnant and there is something wrong with it, while yes you have every the right to do whatever you want with your body, I don't want a person's only reason to have an abortion to be because they couldn't handle a disability. In regards to the fostering, they blame the system and yes the system is partly to blame however most of those people on that wait list want the perfect babies. Not the disabilities, not the different color, not the scarred, not the older teens. Again they need to be allot broader.
Discussion Questions and My Answers
1. The title of this book comes with some big feelings for all of us. What feelings does “Jesus Feminism” bring up for you initially? Putting Jesus Feminism together brings a smile to my face. Mostly because I think it’s rather silly, pretending Jesus has anything to do with feminism. Maybe by the end of this book she will have changed my mind. I would love to have proof that Jesus supports women.
2. What women in scripture do you identify with most? How does (or might) Jesus interact with them? At this time I don’t identify with any woman of the bible. But I have not researched into the ladies mentioned here enough. I am disappointed in Eve for not standing up for herself in the Garden of Eden. Esther is pretty high up there based on my previous knowledge of her. She went to save her people, at great risk. But I have not reread that story in years so I do not know how it stands now (can’t wait to get to Esther in my bible project!) This question makes me want to study the women of the bible more closely which has a high potential of being my next project (but first I must complete a project!!).
3. Does it seem radical to you that God believes women are people, too? No, but I don’t believe in God. Do I think men need to treat women as people, yes. Are we slowly turning into a society that understands this? Yes, but it’s going to take many years and a lot of strong souls to make that happen.
I would love to know your thoughts on everything I have written here today! Please leave a comment, however please behave with honesty, integrity, and allow for other people’s opinions. Thanks for reading!!