“Beloved Disciple” in the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene; by El Greco ca. 1580
Many in our society and world use the Bible to tear down women, ensure women have certain roles and use women’s bodies as they please.
They refer to the story of Adam and Eve when noting that women were responsible for the downfall of humans.
They use Eve’s missteps as a way of saying that women should be in pain during her pregnancy or any reproductive issue.
They overlook the part of the story when Lot offers his daughters as sexual goods, and they believe that women’s bodies are not our own.
They look at the story of Jacob and his two wives, or Abraham with his wife and concubine, and they think it’s okay for women to fight over men and for women to make each other jealous.
They take the story of Jephthah’s daughter as a story of obedience instead of a story of child abuse.
They look at David’s sin as having an affair with Bathsheba instead of ogling her and using his power to seduce her.
They use Proverbs 31 as a way to keep a woman as a subservient type of wife and mother.
They take Hosea’s account of God using “whore” for a woman as permission to call women whatever names they want.
They say that since only men were Jesus’ disciples, only men can be true leaders in faith.
They use 1 Timothy 2 to keep women quiet in faith, giving all power in churches to men.
I don’t know about all of you, but I’m tired of this. I’m exhausted from having to hear that women deserve pain because of a stories written thousands of years ago. I’m tired of hearing women called slut, whore and other horrifying words in an attempt to control or demean them. I’m disgusted at television shows where women fight over a man or continuously bicker with each other. I do not want to feel less than human or a woman because I don’t have children or I’m not married, and I don’t want to be told that I’m sinful because I’m a female leader in faith.
Instead, let’s join together to use Scripture to strengthen women and stand for their rights.
Let’s remember that Paul recognized Phoebe and Lydia as women leaders in the church every time Christians use 1 Timothy to quiet women.
Let’s take the story of Mary Magdalene rushing out of the garden after the resurrection as a woman being the first one called to share the good news.
Let’s take the story of Proverbs 31 woman as an empowered women who is full of wisdom, takes care of her family and stands for justice in her community.
Let’s take the story of Vashti not as a disobedient wife but as a women who stood up to the patriarchy and her body being used by powerful men.
Let’s take the story of the Syrophoenician woman as one who stood up to Jesus to make sure her family had their needs met.
Let’s take the stories of the woman with the hemorrhage and Judah’s daughter-in-law Tamar as ones where women stand up for their reproductive health and rights.
Let’s take the story of Zelophehad’s daughters as one who stand for their financial rights.
Christianity does not have to be a religion that reduces women but can be one that strengthens the lives of women all over the world. Let’s remember the verses and narratives that empower us as we bring liberating words of hope to women, finding ways to strengthen their body, mind, soul and voice.