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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Reclaiming Your Life - Let's Talk Feminism


"In all of her tasks she seeks to further him as a man. His work of dominion is her work; she embraces his vision as her own as she promotes and enhances his life pursuits." -Stacey McDonald, Passionate Housewives Desperate for God

When you read the above quote, what comes to your mind or fills your heart? Do you feel angry, sad, happy? Think about it for a minute.

Is there a part of you, whether large or small that says, "wait a minute, what about my pursuits and dreams? Am I supposed to only follow his visions? What if he doesn't have any, or have any worth supporting?! What about me?"

Let me propose this: if even a smidgen of you thinks or feels slightly shafted by the content of the quote, there is more than likely a root of *feminism in you. Hear me out...

I know something about feminism.

I was raised by a feminist, and then made the decision in college that I too was a feminist - just not a radical one. I reasoned that one could be a feminist and still hold firmly to a Christian mindset. I was fooled. The fact is, feminism is all about striving for equality. God has a different pursuit worth striving towards: becoming like Jesus Christ, the ultimate servant.

"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30

Friends, I have a feminist root, and it keeps pushing through new laid soil. Perhaps if I cover it up enough with truth or good intentions and righteous ambitions it will die. Let me tell you, a feminist root does not die easily. It must be dug up and completely removed. If we do not rid it at the source, it will continue to snake its way up through the good soil, producing what looks like a flower, but is actually just a weed that will eventually take over and destroy the beauty.

Please join me tomorrow as we look into how to reclaim our lives without holding onto the weeds.

*Feminism - Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.


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41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting. A few questions come to mind.

Are all women destined by God to be married?

If not, (or if married but he leaves), then who is the he they promote the vision for?

My maker is my husband.

Is that feminism? And equality is what we are in God's eyes. Equally reflecting Jesus.

L Harris said...

I want to read that book.

I want to be that woman, and most of the time, well, at least more than half the time, I am successfully.

When I read the quote I am pleased, proud. Today. Last week, my answer would have been different, because that weed was growing again.

I am so blessed that for the most part, all I ever wanted was to be at home, serving my man and raising our children. I don't have a problem with following his pursuits; he's allowing me to fulfill mine.

What gets me, is that the world pushes and makes me feel like I need or should what to be free from my children and my home. It is when I've been so influenced that the weed grows.

I have a feminist root. I think, a little one at least. That I try to beat down and cover up.

Looking forward to tomorrow's post.

LivingforGod said...

My reaction to that quote: I feel blessed. I am truly blessed; God chose me to be my husband's helpmeet. It's an honor and privilege.

To answer "Anonymous" (Sarah Mae, I hope you don't mind), single women are to promote their father's vision. That's what my daughter is doing. Husbands and wives/men and women are positionally equal in Christ but we are given different roles.

http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/servingtheKingofkings/

heidi jo said...

well, i have no problem with the basic definition that the sexes are equal. but to me, that really is rooted in the foundation of my belief that God values ALL of us. i am secure in that truth so it doesn't hurt my girlie heart to support the vision of my husband. His dreams ARE my dreams. my WORTH or VALUE (or equality) doesn't come from my husband, it comes from the Lord. the more i keep that in focus, the less pressure i put on my husband and the easier it is for hubby to TRULY value all parts of me. he sees my individuality (dreams, goals, plans, desires, jobs, pursuits, hobbies, joys, etc.) and encourages me in my personal endeavors. we BOTH benefit when we do that for one another. when he succeeds, i succeed.

i also believe that quote is intended for wives. and LivingForGod said it well that single women are to be about the Father's business. she has dreams, goals, jobs, hobbies, responsibilities and she works at them well. she loves her family, her friends, her children, her neighbor... she grows in her security of the depth of God's love for her and her life reflects it. of course, all of that should apply to each of us regardless of our marital status. we are all valued and love more than we can imagine - by our Maker and Creator.

Debbie said...

I am so excited about this. I too have a root of feminism in my life that fights God's plan for me and for my family at every turn. It is something I embraced for many years - an attitude, a lifestyle - of self-reliance and independence. Even from God. And that is where its roots have done the most damage.

God set forth the plan for marriage. The roles are clearly defined. One is NO LESS important than the other - and within marriage, each is necessary to achieve God's perfect plan.

Am I completely submissive? No. Am I completely yielding? Not yet. It's a work God is doing in me.

When I align myself with my Father God, aligning myself with my husband comes easier because I know my place and my value does not change. But the enemy's lies whisper deceit and speak to my pride and it's a battle I face daily.

Hope said...

Just this morning did I realize how much my weed has been growing. That I have fooled myself into thinking I am all about submission to my husband. When I really 'hear' my own thoughts I am ashamed of how deep my sin really is - how much I am really thinking about myself and not my husband. Thank you for this post. It came at just the right time for me. I look forward to learning more.

Sarah said...

This is a wonderful topic to be discussing, because for me, true feminism should be becoming all that God created a woman to be. To celebrate the differences and at the same time realize that we all have the same value in God's heart.

To say that my husband needs a 'helpmeet' puts me in a position of strength, too. Have you ever asked someone for help, unless they had something to give?

Robin said...

As women, we are all Eve's daughters and have the root of feminism in us. As Christian women, we need to strive to be daughter's of Sarah (1 Peter 3:5-6). We will fail at times, but by the grace of the Lord and renewing of our minds daily we can stamp out that feminism and do it daily until the we take our last breath!

Is it easy? No way. Is it pleasing to the Lord? Yes. Does it that make it easier? Yes. Does it bless those around us? Yes
What a beautiful way to serve the Lord!

christinnjon said...

Very, very good!!!!! I look forward to hearing your insights on this! I've touched on this subject in the past and am looking forward to learning more about it. Check out Ladies Against Feminism (if you haven't yet--I imagine you've been there already, though!). SO much to glean!

Kristy K said...

Interesting topic! I'm not sure if I struggle with feminism or just plain old selfishness.

Sometimes I take on the attitude that "if momma ain't happy, no one is happy." So even though I'm serving my family, I'm doing it the way I WANT rather than what God wants or what my husband wants. So maybe it's a little bit of feminism and selfishness.

Thankfully, God is teaching (convicting) me lately about what it means to be a true humble servant. I'm trying to carry that out in all aspects of my life... but it seems like it's hardest to do within my own family.

L.H. said...

I wrote a blog post at: http://www.virtuouslivingrocks.blogpsot.com about this same topic called "Being His Crown." I too was a feminist (although I didn't really realize it). However, I agree that being a godly wife means letting go of alot of feminist ideas because the role of a christian wife is to support and help her husband, not to be preoccupied with my own advancement.

After reading, Mary Pride's "The Way Home" I realized just how much feminist ideas are a belief system, that is not in alignment with the bible and that feminism is so woven into society its hard to see it seeping in sometimes!

MamaHen Em said...

When I read the quote I feel like that is exactly what I want to be about. I think usually it is, although I know that sometimes it isn't.

Looking forward to what you have to say and the discussion!

Kristin said...

I'm REALLY looking forward to this. I was quite the feminist as well, although possibly more so than you were. I was a member of a couple of feminist groups until a few years ago. I guess it comes along with being a pretty hardcore liberal, another characteristic that no longer defines me.

I know that what I now believe is not something that I could have come up with myself...it is ALL GOD because I wouldn't have been willing to hear it had it come from any other source. I would have taken it as someone trying to 'hold me down.'

The real testament to how feminism was like a weed on my life is that when I began to embrace femininity instead of feminism, my marriage improved immensely. As in, I didn't know it could be that good.

It's absolutely amazing how being in the place God has designed for women (mentally, physically, and spiritually) can finally make life actually make sense! (lol!)

Thanks so much for tackling this tough subject. I hope it is approached with open minds from your readers!

-Kristin

Let'sMakeADifference said...

Amen!

Proverbs 27:19 said...

I found myself feeling convicted of not fulfulling my role well.

Catch up with ya' tomorrow, thanks.

smooches,
Larie

Chrs said...

I'm not convinced that your ideas from college are wrong--they may be, I just don't see the logical necessity.

For it to be wrong to be a feminist, "being" one must involve adopting the attitudes that have been prevalent among them. However, isn't the common sense of "being" a member of some political cause more popularly indicative in a belief in what they stand for?

To take socialism as an example, most adherents in this country are not looking forward to a revolution of the noble blue collar worker. They do not imagine that anyone else has a right to their possessions except when this is enforced by the righteous engine of beneficent government. In fact, they have abandoned most of the attitudes that marked socialists ninety years ago, yet they retain the core beliefs of that system of government.

The same definition plagues us where leagues of people call themselves Christian because they believe on an intellectual level the teachings of the church, yet they are not disciples.

So while your inclusive definition of beingness may be perfectly valid, it is not universal.

Stephanie said...

I am SO excited for these series! I truly need to be reminded daily that I am here on this Earth to be a servant to all (namely God, my husband, and my future children). Thank you for speaking the truth so boldly. As I continue to seek to lose myself, I find myself feeling "scared" as to whether or not I can truly live a life of servanthood. I go back to God's truths and ask him to equip me. I can't do it on my own merit. I too was raised by a feminist (a great one :) and so those feminist thoughts tend to sneak in and produce confusion, which often leads to guilt!

Thanks for the encouragement!

Steph

Reborn said...

I always thought primary distinction of feminism was denying the DIFFERENCES between the sexes. I believe that as created beings, men and women have equal value and worth; however, we have different strengths, weaknesses, and callings (not just collectively as "men" and "women" but also individually).

The attitude of feminism is really just one aspect of a broader humanistic worldview that believes each individual is the ultimate decider of his/her own destiny and does not need to submit to, concede to, or consult with any other human or diety.

No one, male or female, can live in obedience to God while rebelling against their God-ordained purpose. For many women, their primary God-given purpose is to serve as daughter, mothers, and wives.

Unfortunately, in our fallen world filled with sin, there WILL BE women who have neither a husband or father to follow, even though they desire to have such. Does this make them feminists? Not if they are continually submitting their hearts and lives to their Heavenly Father's will! It is an unfortunate situation because it is not God's ideal plan, but I believe that God, in His grace and mercy, will provide a way for these "uncovered" women to live a fulfilling, obedient lifestyle.

Anne Basso said...

I have some thoughts about this, and hopefully will be able to share them in further detail soon on my blog http://whitewashedfeminist.com

I have just finished Passionate Housewives, and will be doing a round-table discussion with Stacy McDonald and a few other women who have graciously agreed to participate.

Feminism is one of the things I'd like to discuss. I was also raised by a feminist, and have issues with setting aside my own wants and desires and submitting myself.

But that said, I'm of the opinion that all feminist ideals do not have to be thrown out with the bathwater.

One of our former contributors wrote a great post about the different forms of feminism.
http://whitewashedfeminist.com/2008/07/08/many-forms-and-faces-of-feminism-a-mini-lesson/

I personally related to first-wave and third world feminism. But not the more radical ideals that I believe try to strip women of what makes them feminine.

I have heard that, first-wave feminism especially, are really just Christian ideals. And that's true, or at least it should be. But the sad truth was that, at the time, women really were being treated like property.

As we submit to our husbands, so must they submit to God and to the needs of the family whom they lead and care for. And when this second part doesn't happen, women must have some form of recourse, otherwise there is a huge potential for abuse. This is what first-wave feminism corrected, and I'm just fine with identifying myself with those ideals.

Mike said...

Don't know exactly what feminism is. All I know is I stay home to take care of my two kids, my wife works—and I'm proud of it.

Mike
http://somethingaboutparenting.typepad.com
Twitter: AboutParenting
Photo ideas? 100 Portrait Ideas

Simply Dawn said...

It makes me feel good about the decisions I am making to be about the Father's business.
There is a lot to digest on the feminism issue and the comments about being ness got me thinking.
All too often we sit in a grey area in our being ness, so that being something isn't really being, but sitting on a fence. All this is rooted in a failure to commit and put our whole hearts into something.
I will choose to commit to Jesus and put my whole heart into becoming the woman, wife and mother he has called me to be!

The Park family said...

Love your post! I was raised by a feminist who was fooled into believing that God designed her to be this way. I took up some of her ideals...... In highschool I was the defender of women's rights and debated the subject frequently with 'the feable minded men' (Oh I was so decieved) My plan was to complete medical school and marry a man who didn't mind being second place to my career & would be a stay at home Dad. Praise God I woke up and realized my true calling as a wife/mom/nurturer who married a man who desired to provide for our family! God is so good to turn our pre-conceived notions into a wonderful testimony. When the potter has full control of the clay and WE are pliable, we can become such a beautiful piece of art! However, when we want what we want and chose not to turn our ideals completely to HIM, we chose to limit the masterpiece HE wants to create us to be! Keep on writing!

Kristina said...

I'm glad you brought up this subject. I have to admit I do have a little feminist in me. It is hard for me at times to submit to my husband. Sometimes I beleive I have a better answer or better soultion. Someone in one of my bible studies said submitting to our husbands is glorifing God because He has placed my husband's authority over me. Isn't my purpose in life to glorify God? For me, it's realizing this is God's will for me & I can not follow my own desires. I may have to write a post on this...

Kristina said...

okay, I misspelled believe...

Sandee said...

I feel it is for freedom Christ has set us free. And God does not put us in boxes, but in a relationship with Him. Some of our life paths will lead to being a wife and some not. And a relationship with God and a purposeful life is found in both.

Being fully surrendered to God will lead us to the life plan He unfolds. And some of those plans can be surprizing and not typical.

Before the curse, both man and woman were in relationship with God and each other. Whether single or married, as one poster stated, the relationship with God is paramount.

God is not surprized by our current culture, and where it puts many women. "Uncovered" as one person stated. Our Maker is our husband and He is our covering.

Speaking as a single mom, I am raising my son's NOT to leave, if they make the commitment of marriage. I am raising my daughters (as well as my sons) to follow God closely, regardless if they marry or not.

It is hard, lonely, being single, but it also has opportunities for a greater dependency on God.

Our Father is wise...and so vast and has good plans for each of us.

Joye @ The Joyeful Journey said...

Have I told you lately how much I love your blog??

Thank you for this candid post!! So much truth here!

As you said, we are to strive to be like Jesus and HE WAS THE GREATEST SERVANT OF ALL!! The Bible even states this about Jesus, "who being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped." (Phil. 2:6)

If Jesus didn't seek equality, why do we?!

entrustedwith said...

I think Feminism appeals to our selfish natures because it glorifies one of our favorite people in life- ourselves! Biblical views of manhood and womanhood require sacrifice- the husband lays down his life for his wife and the wife submits to her husband. Feminism seems freeing on the surface, but at its core it is more binding to follow any mentality that goes against Scripture. True freedom is found in submitting to God's design.

Jacque said...

I think you summed this up very well. Feminism DOES have strong and very very deep roots, and the pervasiveness of it into the church today does not make it any easier for a Believer to get away from it and be free from its clutches.
Many of the versions of the Bible today also reflect a feminist view, which means that much of what is taught and studied is subtly reinforcing "our rights".

God, being a God of order and a God who is the same yesterday, today and forever, has ways we do not understand. Applying the world's ways and those of society and our own understandings may make us feel warm and fuzzy about our rebellion, but it does nothing for the truth of God's Word, and does nothing for us in "Training the younger women to love their husbands and children... so that the Word of God is not brought into disgrace," as is told to older women in Titus chapter 2.

May God strengthen you, my friend. May he deliver you and give you HIS Words and HIS meanings so that you may overcome what is contrary to his perfect will for woman.

Amanda got me Jennie and Stacey's book for Mother's Day, and I am looking forward to getting through it. I also love Jennie's site, http://ladiesagainstfeminism.com

Blessings and Shalom, and you keep seeking him and he will keep leading you...

Composing Hallelujahs said...

i think fighting modern feminism is bigger than we normally think. it is such a huge part of the way women are raised and we don't even realize it.

i think the concepts of biblical submission {and really any other biblical standard} can appear to be a burden or confining and restrictive. well it is... our flesh wants to fight to do it our own way. but there is such FREEDOM when we do things God's way. there is security and hope and satisfaction and fulfillment and so much more.

can't wait to read more of what you have to say!

Heather said...

This is going to be an interesting series! I wouldn't characterize my family as feminists, but I do come from a long line of strong willed women. The idea of submitting to any man, for any reason, repulses me. To be honest, reading the beginning quote made my blood start to boil. Yet I am a Christian, and I know the verses that speak of submission, so clearly I am in the wrong. I look forward to what you have to say about this topic that is so difficult for me.

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

Excellent post Sarah Mae! I do believe I have a streak of feminism myself and I struggle with submission. But the Lord helps me to keep improving! I am loving that book myself and I look forward to more on this subject!

Sarah Mae said...

Anonymous- I don't suppose all women are destined to be married, or they would be. The should promote the vision of God. If they submit to God's authority, He will lead them.

Robin- Yes! Of course you are right - we ALL tend towards feminism because of Eve and the curse - to desire (want to control) our husbands!

Chrs- I have no idea what the heck you said.

Anne- I cannot wait for the discussion and I am so honored to be a part of it!

Sandee - I just love that you love God and are pursuing Him!

Heather - you have been hurt, and I can relate. Don't give up!

Thank you ALL for the thoughtful comments! I look forward to more discussion!

Nicole Wick said...

Provocative thoughts. First of all, I am a working mom and love it. In fact, I work full time and my husband is a FT stay at home dad. It works for us better than when we both worked and much better than when I stayed home. I was miserable! Our decision has raised a few eyebrows and is admittedly somewhat progressive. It has also been commented that it must make me a Christian feminist. I disagree.

By definition feminism is a striving toward equality with men. As a Christian I understand that my husband and I are unequal and dissimilar by design. This unequalness is what keeps the nature of our married relationship in delicate balance. I understand that even though I bring home the check I still live in submission to the authority of God and my husband. Hardly feminist at all. Now, as a disclaimer I will admit that this works so well because my husband is a Godly man who does not abuse his role and lives in service to God and me.

Finally I think that there have historically been some practical, legal reasons for feminist organization. I want equal rights and opportunity under the law. But legal precedent has become the least on the list of feminist priorities and that is when I part ways with the "movement". I am very happy with my position in Christ and in our marriage and wouldn't want it any other way.

Plus I would never, ever, under any circumstances burn my bra. Those babies are expensive!

Muthering Heights said...

Ooooo, I'm looking forward to this! I WAS a hardcore feminist, raised by an extremely liberal family...and I am always interested in exploring the very subject you are addressing, now that God has opened my eyes!

Reborn said...

Sarah Mae, I thought I was the only one who couldn't understand Chrs's comment! I kept re-reading it because I thought maybe it was spam! LOL

HeathahLee said...

I always say that my heart is to be my husband's help meet, to submit to his authority. But I find more often than not that that little "what about what I want?" voice is right there in my head. Of course, that is probably more selfishness and the flesh more than feminism. Looking forward to reading how you address this, anyway!

Chrs said...

At very least, it wasn't meant to be spam! I notice on rereading that my comment has a couple of editing errors--in the thesis sentence, no less.

My proposition was that the philosophy, the core ideas, of a cause may exist entirely separated from the attitudes that people tend to attach to them. Does that help?

Anna said...

I had to think about this for a couple of days. I'm not sure that I understand exactly what feminism is(or white washed feminism either).
I don't want to throw out feminism all together, because I am glad of certain things that it has accomplished-- like giving women the right to vote-- but I think that it has gone to a dangerous extreme now.

I have attended church since I was a baby, and the only times I have heard talk of submission is to say that the wives should submit to the husbands. I have never heard any application of what that might possibly mean. I don't know if people are just scared to talk about it, or if I just don't listen very well. :)

I think that I see it as allowing my husband to lead and being supportive of the choices he makes. This doesn't mean that I have no input into things, but I am not trying to take control. Now that I have been married for 12 years, I have a better idea what it means. I just wish that I would have known more of these things before I was married! I had so much advice on what my wedding should be like and almost none on what my marriage should be like.

Part of what I have realized lately is that I need to have more of a servant's heart. Not just in my marriage, although that is one aspect of it. I have the part of doing things for other people down easily, but I have realized that I also expect something in return. That's missing the point.

Just the random thoughts that have been running through my head. Thanks for taking on such a thought provoking topic. :)

Anonymous said...

SarahMae-
You are SO SO SO SO SO on-track and Rock (biblically) - Solid!

http://visionarydaughters.com/
http://www.beautyfromtheheart.org/index.html
http://www.solofemininity.blogs.com/
http://deuteronomy6five-nine.blogspot.com/
http://girltalk.blogs.com/

These are some incredibly encouraging sites (blogs) for women to get some like-minded, Biblical womenhood encouragement! they are written for God's glory. (a truly refreshment)

gratefully,
HveHope (Jackie)

Hopeful Spirit said...

When I read posts like yours, I feel sad because it is clear that many Christian women do not understand what TRUE feminism is. If they did, they would never reject the concept. The reality is that the first true feminist was none other than Jesus Christ. And I am of the opinion that people who reject that reality are deceived.

I invite you to read:

http://www.hopefulspirit.com/2008/06/01/feminism/ and http://www.hopefulspirit.com/2007/10/16/gentleness-not-just-for-women/

There is nothing wrong with holding up your life partner in the manner described in the quote. The problem develops when it is a one-way street. Jesus never intended that for women . . . he valued them as no one ever had before his personification of the Divine Creator here on earth.

Blessings to you,

Hopeful Spirit
On the Horizon

heidi jo said...

hopeful spirit - you offer an interesting twist to this discussion and i quite like it. :) i read the article you linked to and thought it very appropriate.

the real key to this discussion is how we define feminism. i might be for or against the idea of feminism depending on the definition in context of the ones i'm having conversation with.

if feminism is women taking control of the world with no thought of others - i'm against it.

if feminism is being completely comfortable in my skin as a woman, secure in the love of my Father, and thankful for the rights and equality we all share, purposing to bless and love those around me with my unique womanhood, then i'm for it.