I am a Christian. I am also a Feminist.

Posted in : Faith, feminism, Healing, Inspiration on by : Sherrie-Lee Chiarot , freemiumfreemiumfreemiumfreemiumfreemium Comments: 0

Sometimes I feel like I am basically a walking contraction.
I thrive off of teamwork and being around other people, but I am an introvert that experiences social anxiety regularly in large-group situations.
I love being awake early and feel more accomplished when my day runs from 7am-10pm, but I do my “best thinking” in the wee-hours of the morning.
I dream of love, but when it has been in my vicinity in the past, I have pushed it away.

Other times, I feel like my personality just makes sense.
I give people a lot of trust to start with, but that trust can quickly turn into distrust.
I am a sexual assault survivor, and I want to spend my life either educating the public about issues surrounding sexual assault, or working to empower those who have had that horrible experience.
I am a Feminist.  I am also a Christian.

I am a Christian.  I believe in Jesus Christ and would quite possibly not be here without His saving grace.
But, I am also a Feminist.  I fiercely believe in equality.  Studying topics that are often categorized as “Women’s Issues” has helped me find my voice, after having lost it when I was 14.
These two categories don’t always go together.
And I’ve argued, and almost lost friendships with people, because they don’t understand how while being a feminist, I can identify as Christian.

I have doubted God, absolutely.
But, I don’t think that makes me any less of a Christian.
In fact, it is in doubting Christ that I think I have become a stronger Christian, because it is through my moments of doubt that I have remembered the endless amount of things that He has done in my life.
A professor of mine once commented that there is a point in every year where he questions his faith, but is always taken back to the fact that he has seen and experienced too many things to continue in that doubt.
This is true for me as well.
Things like the story of my father’s heart attack dream (http://www.sherrie-lee.com/dads-dream), and of the date that I got hired to World Vision. (http://www.sherrie-lee.com/catching-up/)
These things are God reminding me, sternly, that He is very, very real.

It is important to know about my story, is that it was the same year that I became a Christian, that I started really throwing myself into feminism.  My active and passionate participation in working towards equality is what it is because I believe it is what I have been put here to do; it is my calling.

Something else that I should note is… everyone has their own interpretation of the bible.
Some people view it as absolute law and truth.
For me, personally, the bible is a guide.
But much like any guide, such as my biological parents or university professors, it is me who makes the decisions.
I have to choose to take course A instead of B, or do job X instead of Y.
My parents understanding of the world is contextual; they are a few generations older than me, and with that alone tends to come specific opinions on certain topics.  I choose for myself what opinions of theirs I want to take, and which I want to leave.
This is similar to the bible.  I believe it is contextual.  And some parts of the bible I will take, and some parts I will leave.

I read Proverbs yesterday.
Proverbs 31:10-31, specifically.
And as I was reading this, I was thinking about what it means, to me, to be a Christian Woman, and what it means to be a feminist.
How do I define the two?
Do the words that I put to the characteristics match, or oppose?

For me, being a Christian Woman means following the example that Jesus put forth; that is, loving and caring for everyone.
Proverbs 31:24-26, and 30, for me, says some very important things:
   24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
   25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
   26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
   30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

So, I’m going to keep the same format, but with my (perhaps more modern) interpretation.  This, to me, is what it means to be a Christian Woman:
   24 She works hard for what she has,
but is also a giving person.
   25 She is resilient, and respected;
and she appreciates moments of lightness.
   26 She is knowledgeable,
and capable, and willing, to be a leader.
   30 Charm may not be genuine, and physical beauty is temporary;
but a woman who lives her life for others is to be celebrated.

To me, being a Feminist means not just caring about equality, but actively participating in educating others about the dangerous of inequality and the benefits of fair treatment for all individuals, regardless of where they identify on the gender spectrum.
For me, it necessarily mean being “pro”everything-stereotypically-“feminist”, but making decisions about your stances on social issues after critically thinking about the different standpoints of people both directly and indirectly involved.
Feminism, in my opinion, goes beyond just gender-equality.  It is equality regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation, ability, physical stature, academia, class, and so forth.
It means equality simply because we bleed the same blood.

I can’t imagine myself being a Feminist, nor a Christian, if I didn’t so firmly believe that I have been called to live a life so much bigger and more meaningful than I would ever be able to do on my own.

I am who I am because I am a proud Christian, as well as a proud Feminist.

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