Jesus the Feminist

I get confused when Christians object to feminism and claim it's incompatibility. For me, the more I have studied and the longer I let the stories of Christ settle in, the more plain it becomes that He was clearly an advocate for women and their right to be treated as equals. He saw women as humans, created in His image, and He engaged with them as equals.

Many times people quote the story of Mary and Martha to try and keep women in their "place". They emphasize how disrespectful Mary was to her sister and to social conventions. But in that story, what we see is Christ placing Mary at his feet and treating her as another disciple. In that moment he elevated her about her gender, her social standing, and her vocation. She went from serving in the home to engaging in learning and growth, that for men, would lead them to become rabbis and teachers.

Another great example of the feminist Christ is his interaction with the woman with the bleeding condition. She provided a whole other set of problems. Her condition made her unequivocally unclean. An open "wound" meant there was no way that she could worship at the temple, and her friends and family would need to avoid her in order to stay clean. Socially she was poor and an outcast, having spent everything she had to try and get well. She believed that Jesus could cure her, that he could restore her status as a whole person.

And that's what happened. Not only was she healed but he addressed her and declared that she go in peace. That her suffering was over. Potentially, he could have had her punished for the violation of reaching out and touching his clothing, but he didn't. He acknowledged that she sought his power to be made whole, and he praised her for it. Her faith, her intention and action, had healed her.

Over and over Jesus interacts with women in ways that erase status, heal wounds, break boundaries, and rewrite norms. He sees women as a full expression of God's creation and interacts with them with dignity and grace, even when the culture at large did not treat them that way. Jesus knew that women mattered and that they could change the world.

And He still does. We are his daughters and co-heirs. We get to prophesy. We get to speak and pray and teach and preach the good news to all of creation. For this is what the daughters of the King do. We further the kingdom, raising up the future, defending the defenseless, reaching out to those who are unclean. Much like the Feminist who came before us, we are called to bring about the kingdom on earth, for all humanity - men and women included.