Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Holy Week 2017 Book Review: "Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women" by Sarah Bessey

Feminism is a divisive concept for a lot of people. It seems like no one can quite agree on what it is. Is it women marching in marches wearing pink hats and "standing with planned parenthood"? Is it women who think that they should be paid the same for doing the same job as a male coworker? Can you be prolife and be a feminist? Do you have to hate men to be a feminist? Are these things mutually exclusive? Here's how I define feminism for myself (and it's also the subtitle of the book #convenient): It's the radical notion that women are people too. You know who else thought women were full blown, totally developed, worth talking to people? Jesus. And that's why we are here.

Women were CLUTCH in Jesus time here on earth. From the very beginning to the very end. He was born to a young woman who, in her time and place in society, was pretty inconsequential but through her willing obedience to her God changed the world. The women at the tomb were the first people that Jesus appeared to after his resurrection. Not his anxious, overwrought disciples that were hiding in a room. The woman who at great personal risk wanted to show their love for Him by finishing his burial preparations. He raised Peter's mother in law from the dead. He frequented Mary and Martha's house and mourned with them at the passing of their brother Lazarus (I mean, it had a happy ending so that was good). While Jesus was in agony on the cross He makes sure that his mother is taken care of ("Behold your son, Behold your mother").

None of these are actions of Someone who thinks that women are ANY LESS than anyone else.

You also can't deny the incredible women who have been moved to do amazing things because of their love for Jesus, here's a teeny tiny teeny tiny list. Including links to their wikipedia pages in case you haven't heard of a few like me: Mother Teresa (duh), Amy Carmichael, Dorothy Day, Corrie ten Boom, Gladys Aylward, Evangeline Booth. (There's even a shoutout to Susanna Wesley, my namesake, who I've never run across in print before and that made my heart so happy). And those are even talking about the organizations mentioned in this book that are trying to end modern slavery, giving Haitain mothers safe places to give birth amid their shaken country, AND it doesn't include the women of great faith who are pillars in our own lives: moms, sisters, friends, coworkers, teachers, counselors,on and on and on. 

Or as the author says:
"Right along side stories of David and Moses and Pail, of Luther and Calvin, of Bonhoeffer and our dads, we could tell the stories of our own patron saints, our church mamas, our Kingdom midwives, the women of the Bible and the women of the Word walking among us right now".

There is so much more in this book that I just don't have the space to go through it all, but you could do worse than a couple of hours with this book in one hand and your Bible open in front of you. And frankly, I hope none of this shocks you. Jesus loves everyone, so of course he loves women. Jesus' words of the Gospel work through everyone, so of course it works through women. Humans were lovingly created in God's own image, so of course it includes women.

But you know, reminders are good.  

It boils down to essentially this: women make up half the church and half of the world. The untapped potential should be frightening. Make the opportunities for yourself to do big, glorious things if the opportunities are not made for you.  


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