I don't think I was born a feminist. I think I was born into a family that my parents shared responsibilities for raising two twin daughters that wanted to swim, dance, or play basketball all the time. I don't think I was born with the intention to carry the banner for women but it all changed as I began to change to ask the question why?
I think that there are certain small moments that stand out in my childhood and teenage years that I look back with a small smile and my heart warming. I am grateful that I was allowed to ask that question of why. I somehow found myself in a very traditional Christian undergraduate University. There I was beginning to find out what it 'meant' to be a Christian but I found it that it didn't suit me so well. I remember wrestling with simple textual verses that tried to explain that women needed to be kept silent in the church and or they could not preach in the congregation. I wrestled because I wanted to believe the 'truth' or what was so conceived as the truth. I was told this is the way that it has always been.
For such a long time I was wrecked, I began to carry anger and I was so violently angry towards those that didn't believe in equality. I knew that women and men needed to be on the same playing field. That the argument that they can raise the families, wash the laundry, cook and clean, were not something that I could ascribe to. I couldn't wear that on my skin. I was ready to burst. I was ready to see so much more than the word had to offer. I began to realize:
What always has been isn't always what is.
I began to wrestle. I didn't start with verses but the whole chapter, than on to book, and now am at the point that when I engage with the text as a whole. Instead of why I am beginning to understand the what. What does freedom mean? What does togetherness really entail? What does it mean to wrestle with the questions together? I am sad when we want to separate the male and the female. That a man has a dominance or power over the woman. What I see is the perverseness of power and the desire for strength and influence. We are missing out on the togetherness and what we can learn from one another in a communal whole. Why do we separate the strengths? I don't think a healthy feminism is female over male and certainly we have seen what happens with male over female. Something ends up missing. Something becomes separated.
I think we are missing out on the beauty of wholeness and what it means to strive to work together. I meet some really healthy relationships where the couple works together. There is no keeping score. There is no one upping, or keeping tabs. I am ready to move in all my relationships with the vision of community and grace. This is struggling with people, hearing what they have to say, wrestling with traditions that define us as human beings. We put these labels on ourselves. Are we wiling to redefine the labels?
This week has reminded me of why I am a feminist and that I am made to fight for the voice of women. I feel really blessed in this gifting and really hope and pray that the path laid out for me is a quest that I am able to endure. I hope that I can be a part of changing definitions, to live in a space that is ready for change, for definitions to be revised, and the partnerships to be strong in time.
Unity and Equality are so important. When we see one another as the same, as equal, we will begin to see those that are so different than ourselves as so much the same.