August 9, 2016
Immersed in talk of Christian values and speeches ending with “God bless America,” the US Presidential election has been debating Hillary Clinton’s qualifications for the nation’s highest office. There’s also been a lot of conversation about Hillary being a woman, the supposed pros and cons, and the impact it could all have on her leadership.
Maybe a conversation about feminism and the Christian faith is needed. After all women are the most discriminated against group in the world.
Catholic theologian, Rosemary Radford Ruether defines feminism as “the affirmation of the full humanity of women.” https://feminismandreligion.com/rosemary-radford-ruether-on-feminism/
Working for a world that reflects God’s values of justice, equity and love, Christians follow the teaching that all humanity is created in the image of God. Female and male, both created in God’s likeness. (Genesis 1:26-27). Seems that faith and feminism have something to say to one another.
Further in Genesis we learn that a Divine purpose for woman was to be the ‘suitable partner’ - the ezer kenegdo. In the Old Testament, the word ezer appears 21 times in 3 different contexts: the creation of women, when Israel applied for military aid, and in reference to God as Israel’s helper for military purposes. This is an image of great strength and confidence. As ones who come alongside others in their journey toward a full life.
Christian faith and feminism seem to dance together. Not in competition or opposition, but working together toward a vision of human flourishing.
Jesus kept the dance going with his openness and affirmation of women. With the Samaritan woman at the well, encouragement of Mary to be herself apart from convention and appointing a woman to be the first evangelist of the resurrection. It makes me smile to think of Jesus as a feminist. Certainly he was an egalitarian - advocating for the fullness of life for all humanity.
Jesus - a first century Palestinian Jew who affirmed the full humanity of all, women and men.
What are we waiting for?
in love and solidarity,