Speak this word in a crowd of conservatives and you will instantly feel the tension rise. You will see faces suddenly distort, and grown men shift uncomfortably in their chairs. I’ve never understood how a word I found to be so liberating and inspiring could cause such anger and discomfort among others.
If you read my recent post, “My Husband, My Companion,” you noticed that I identify myself as a Christian feminist. For years I was told these two labels are a contradiction, and that if I tried to identify with these two labels, I would find my faith and my activism at odds with one another.
In my first couple of years as a Christian, I encountered some individuals who claimed women were subordinate to their male counterparts; implying that the differences in our sexual organs sets forth a hierarchal framework that I am to adhere to.
Then, as I began to explore the realm of feminism, I found some who felt religion had no place within the movement. Because of the patriarch history, many feminists feel that this masculine side of faith disqualified the interconnection of the two.
After learning these cases against faith and feminism, I did find my faith and my activism at odds with one another. The extremists for both sides were communicating for the entirety of each movement, claiming that there was no such label as a Christian feminist.
So then, who am I?
I was left asking myself this very question. Instead of accepting the extremist perceptions of each movement and divorcing these two labels, I chose to search for further understanding. I have found that many individuals who claim that Christianity and feminism are at complete odds with one another seem to have an incredible misunderstanding of themselves and each other. I believe Dr. Helen Hunt stated it perfectly when she wrote:
“The more I thought about it, the more it became clear to me that religion and feminism are different expressions of the same impulse toward making life more just and whole. When we cut the connection between spiritual values and values of social justice, we weaken both our vision and our power,” (Faith and Feminism: A Holy Alliance, xxiii).
I believe that we are doing ourselves a disservice if we try to sever our activism from our faith. For me, faith and feminism are so interconnected that one simply cannot exist without the other. Each movement propels me towards a further understanding of humanity.
If you have found yourself identifying with either of the extremes that I touched on, I invite you to join me as we further cover this interconnection of faith and feminism. Many voices will be present, both male and female, covering topics such as historical Christian feminists, relevance of feminism in faith, Jesus the feminist, as well as personal testimonies of this interconnection.
My desire is that you, dear reader, will find further understanding of the two labels, Christian and feminist. If, at the end of this series, you still believe in the separation of the two, my hope is that you will at least bestow grace upon those who believe in this “holy alliance.”