Dear One, thank you for taking this journey with me. My sincere hope is that this last post will provide you with a few words to hold onto when you feel that your femaleness is not enough. In the first part of this series, we discussed the importance of holding Paul’s declaration of submission against how Jesus treated women. We looked into the cultural context of the letters Paul wrote and finally asked- “why are we telling women to submit to anything other than God?”
Submission.The word alone causes my heart rate to increase and my eyes brim with tears. I find the theology of submission in a religion that promises freedom in Christ absolutely maddening.
I’ve spent many hours attempting to tame my language in this series. My sincere hope is that my passion for women comes across without too much scorn for submission. Honestly, I tried. My desire is that you read through this series with an open mind, knowing that my only goal is to argue for a new understanding and not against any one person or people.
Is there anything better then opening the cover of a new book? The anticipation of learning something new, the excitement of starting a new journey. Over the last decade of my spiritual quest I’ve collected and devoured numerous volumes of theology, spirituality, and memoirs. Some resonated with me, others did not. I’ve put together a short list of my very favorites for you. What are some of your favorites?
When I was 14 years old I went to the beach with some friends from my youth group. Once unpacked, we laid our towels down on the sand and spread out, soaking up the glorious Florida sun. We laughed, passed fruit around, and talked about Jesus.
About 30 minutes in a man came up to us. He pointed up to the pier and told us that there was an old white dude taking pictures of us. When we looked in the direction he was pointing we saw the man quickly put his camera away and walk briskly in the direction of the parking lot. How long had he been there?
My dance of faith and feminism began when my mother-in-law suggested I read Sue Monk Kidd’s Dance of the Dissident Daughter. This book ripped my heart wide open and threw a freaking hand grenade in. My faith and my identity blew up. Everything I was so sure of was ripped from me. I was left with fragmented pieces of faith, sorting through what I wanted to keep and lighting on fire that which I no longer needed. At times, I longed for the security of ignorance.
I participated in my first true act of patriotism on November 12, 2016. I marched through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, from MacArthur Park to the Federal Building. I marched with 8,000 other women and men. I attended the march on my own–I didn’t go with a group of friends, I didn’t meet anyone there, I didn’t bring my husband along. Months before I flew to DC for The Women’s March, I knew that this was something I needed to do on my own. It was and is a solemn exercise for me, a private act of public defiance
I started this journey over 10 years ago. In that time I have fought for a faith I can claim as my own. I wrestled with God and misogyny, and often I couldn’t tell the two apart. And I have the deep wounds to prove it. I have clawed my way through patronizing institutional patriarchy. I’ve lost friends, lost my mind, and lost my way more than once. This dance- it’s hard, and brutal, and beautiful, and exhausting.
I’ve been in church for as long as I can remember. Sunday School, Missionettes, youth group, summer camp, bible study, and even tent revivals (if you are unfamiliar with tent revivals it is exactly what you are picturing in your head)- I’ve been to it all. I grew up in a small evangelical church, in a small town where women raised small kids while their husbands worked in the larger (but still pretty small) city. A minivans and bake sales kind of town.
And for the most part, I liked being a part of that community. I have beautiful memories of my home.I can look back and say that I loved my church, loved my community. Loved the people there, loved the pastor.