This is simply a chance for me to share a few articles that have proved pivotal for me, game-changers in my process of thinking through the role of women in Christian evangelical churches, and in wider Western culture.
(And if you're not interested--that's okay. It's something I care about passionately, and love to discuss, but I'm not an angry feminist and I don't want to shove anything down your throat. I'm more interested in getting the thinking wheels turning).
Peruse as you please!
1. Ashley Judd's deconstruction of the media's treatment of her appearance:
"Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it. This abnormal obsession with women’s faces and bodies has become so normal that we (I include myself at times—I absolutely fall for it still) have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly. We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women.
2. Frank Viola's "God's View of a Woman":
"When Luke writes his Gospel, he refers to the twelve disciples with the shorthand phrase the Twelve. The Twelve lived with the Lord for three-and-a-half years. And they followed Him everywhere.
But Jesus also had a group of female disciples. Luke also used a shorthand phrase to refer to them. He simply called them the Women (Luke 23:55; Acts 1:14).
They were the Lord’s disciples also—the female counterpart to the Twelve. The Women followed the Lord wherever He went, and they tended to His needs. And He was not ashamed...
When Jesus Christ was taken to die, the Twelve fled. They checked out. All the disciples (except John) said, “See ya!” But the Women stayed with Him. They didn’t leave.
They followed Him up to Calvary to do what they had been doing all along—comforting Him, taking care of Him, tending to His needs. And they watched Him undergo a bloody, gory crucifixion that lasted six long hours...
And when He rose again from the dead, the first faces He met—the first eyes that were laid upon Him—were the eyes of women. And it was to them that He gave the privilege of announcing His resurrection, even though their testimony wouldn’t hold up in court. And He was not ashamed.
Sisters, take your high place. This is God’s view of a woman.
"It is hard for us to recognize it now, but Peter and Paul were introducing the first Christian family to an entirely new community, a community that transcends the rigid hierarchy of human institutions, a community in which submission is mutual and all are free...For Christians, the presence of the Household Codes in Scripture must be considered in light of Jesus, who made a habit of turning hierarchy on its head.
When his disciples argued amongst themselves about who would be greatest in the kingdom, Jesus told them that 'anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all' (Mark 9:35).
In the biblical narrative, hierarchy enters human relationship as part of the curse, and begins with man’s oppression of women—“your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16). But with Christ, hierarchal relationships are exposed for the sham that they are, as the last are made first, the first are made last, the poor are blessed, the meek inherit the earth, and the God of the universe takes the form of a slave.
What’s great about the Christian remix of the Greco-Roman household codes is that, when put into practice, it blurs the hierarchal lines between husband and wife, master and slave, adult parent and adult child.