As the Jewish people around the world are revisiting the story of the Passover in their weekly Bible reading today and I am enjoying our yearly IAMCS Rabbi’s Conference, I was stopped cold when our friend, Pastor Jim Garlow, challenged our views on “Biblical Feminism.”
My whole family got lit up! Now would I be brave enough, finally?
What is Biblical Feminism? Well, when I asked my rabbi, Jonathan Bernis, about his thoughts on me taking a stand for Biblical values for our children – that was a term I planned to unpack to describe even myself these days. I had finally realized that my heart for children was not born out of a need to save children only – but my heart’s cry to free the daughters of God in particular.
My daughter and her friends and my colleagues are strongly urging me to stop hiding what the Bible ACTUALLY teaches about females. First, please let me start by sharing an article I wrote in August 2, 2017. Forgive me, but when women are silent, children are endangered. Then, after my rant, take a deep breath, and let’s try to start a healthier dialogue – shall we?
I believe our general malaise has sparked a new fire in the hearts of the mothers of America – like me. I simply cannot believe we live in a country where turning the “family channel” into the “freeform channel” is another common rebranding. After a decade of degrading fatherhood in sitcom after sitcom, even the word “family” isn’t politically correct? What kind of future are we handing our children?
Life in America for growing families seems overrun in webs of virtual relationships and overarching scheduling conflicts. The voice of faith in our country is growing strangely silent under the constant threat of political correctness. And, sensationalizing terrorism is seen as free speech! You are just as likely to see live murders on the screen as you are to see Hollywood zombies eating brains. You can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys, but thankfully, the cat videos are more popular than murder videos, that is… I hope they are.
I am 50 years old and have three children. I am happily married and work hard to be a good person and help others. I realize there is a God and I am not Him – period. If you are thinking, “wow, me too,” lend me your ear. I am a Yeshua-loving woman who found her faith married to a Jewish guy. We found a bridge between our faiths when we realized that Christianity was birthed out of Judaism and that the same schism between our natural families was a microcosm of the division between our native cultures. We found a way to make peace with our faith and each other in order to raise healthy children.
Today, religious freedom is on trial in the court of public opinion. It is on center stage, but the three ring circus unfolding before us daily is keeping us distracted while our “freedoms” are ebbing away. So let me make it easy. We live in the United States of America, and you can believe whatever you want about the Creator – even deny His existence entirely. You are free to do that.
But in the United States of America, you are not allowed to kill me in the name of YOUR faith. The amazing thing about the Ten Commandments is that they apply to people of all faiths who want to live together in peace. The Judeo-Christian Bible has themes like: love God and each other, honor your parents, rest one day in seven, don’t kill each other or lie or steal or take what someone else loves. Can we just agree about that?
This new breed of MOTHER RISING is best described as a “Bible Suffragette!” We want the freedom to raise our families around the Bible again. We want the violence to stop, the confusion unmasked, and we demand that we not be forced to compromise our “family” values. We will NOT remained shackled while our children are denied their religious freedom. They must be free to love God with their whole heart and feel safe at home, at school, and on the playground. That is the greatest legacy we can leave to our children, from a generation who knows their God.
After nearly 25 years trying to find my true value in God, I know that I have never – nor will I ever – desire to usurp the power of or to become a male. It is my heart for God’s daughters to see that they have the freedom to become everything God created them to be. Some of the obstacles we face are built into our culture. If you look closely at the Scriptures – the foundation of a Biblical world view – the misperceptions about the ‘fairer sex’ are somehow hardwired by poor translation practices. That is part of why I am so grateful that the TLV was created by a community of men and women, Jews and Christians, theologians and practitioners, teachers and parents alike.
As we enter a time of self-awareness as God’s daughters, we are being called to proclaim freedom! Let me challenge you to read the scriptures for yourself and you will find these words:
‘Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness! Let them rule…”
‘God created humankind in His image, in the image of God (Elohim) He created him, male and female, He created them.” [from Genesis, chapter 1]
“Then ADONAI Elohim formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils a breath of life – so man became a living being.”
“Then the man said, “This one is called woman, for from man was taken this one. This is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife; and they become one flesh.
Now both of them were naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed.” [from Genesis, chapter 2]
The serpent spoke to the woman. She made a mistake. Together, they hid from God. God questioned the man, and he blamed his wife. These were God’s first words to a woman in the Bible:
“ADONAI Elohim said to the woman, ‘What did you do?’ ” [from Genesis, chapter 3] She admitted her fault. God cursed the serpent and promised to save us, by causing us to hate evil. God promised the woman children by pregnancy and labor, and a desirable husband to protect them. God rebuked the man for ignoring His direct command, promised him provision through hard labor and a full life.
Here is honestly what I think Biblical Feminism is: Biblical Feminism is the freedom – before God – to choose the path to faith in the God of Israel for myself. Will I exist as a whole human -female inside and out- fully complete in Messiah’s love and according to all the Biblical truths afforded frail humans? Or, will I choose to join myself to a man I believe was created just for me, as imperfect, and yet fearfully and wonderfully made in the same image of God through which I was created, too? Will I walk this journey according to the Bible as the infallible Word of God, including resting in the comfort and shelter He provides under the safety of my parents’ love and my husband’s name? Will I remember that ‘the hidden things belong to God’ and teach them to my children? Will I recognize the relentless strategy of the serpent to trick me into rebelling against God’s command and his plot to make me forget to fear my God? Will I remember that ANYTHING or anyone that tries to divide my marriage, my family, or my children from one another is just another wicked strategy to destroy the faith of the people around me?
We have much to unpack in the days ahead. For me, like the suffragettes of years ago, Biblical Feminism is the belief that female is defined by the standards of Biblical sexuality and practice. It stems from belief that the words that describe humanity find their origins in the Bible from 3500 years ago where the word ‘gender’ was originally used to describe male and female words – nouns and verbs. The origins of Biblical sexuality, like language, find their lowest common denominator in a binary system – not a gender less one or a neutered gender. Literary homogeny would only serve to attempt to make One God equal to one human. Humanity must be binary – or free will would afford no choice, and God would be horribly impotent – IMPOSSIBLE!
Therefore, I believe embracing Biblical feminism as a choice today celebrates the binary option we have been afforded by God to choose to NOT join ourselves with a man to be made whole. A Biblical female is free to choose daughterhood as her highest gift attainable and describable. The only real mystery is how we can figure that out before the decision is ultimately made for us by a society bent on destroying our self-image from birth! Why? Because to be a ‘woman’ is to willingly ask a man to cover us – to protect us – to value us more than his own life.
Why would any man do that if we were not designed by God to benefit one another? Somehow, while men don’t cycle monthly, and can struggle with relationships with their wives and daughters, when Adam made the choice to leave Eve unprotected or uninformed (you choose), he hid. Cowards are a stench to God. That applies to both men and women, male and female. Touching the tree did not make Eve guilty; eating its fruit did. Eating of the tree was not the only thing that made Adam guilty; accusing God for giving him a wife did. Rebellion by action is bad enough. Accusing the Giver is worse.
I am a Biblical Woman because I follow God, love my husband, and live the Bible. I am also a Biblical Feminist because I was a female BEFORE I was a woman. Truly, I became a mother even before I became a wife. I became a wife before I ever recognized myself as God’s daughter. Now that I am a matriarch, I am committed to destroying the lies being taught about how women are portrayed in the Bible.
Females are not devalued in the Bible – we are hidden inside the heartbeat of our Father’s story, protected inside His eternal nature from ‘the beginning…’. More on that later. For now, embrace the concept – let Biblical Feminism be a viable -and truthful- response to gender neutrality and militant feminism.
Women are cyclical beings, waxing and waning over a lifetime filled with changing seasons we can’t fully identify. This is how gender language evolves in the Bible – female, then women, then mothers, then daughters. Thankfully, if we value one another as God’s DAUGHTERS and seek to find shelter and protection from Our Father – we will honor Him by representing His Strength and sharing His Love. Hopefully, we will do better together at ALL being sisters, too. 😊