“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

 

I am a wife and I am a Jesus feminist.

In the game we were taught, we had assigned roles.

I am a woman. I am the church.

You are a man. You are Jesus. ???

You get to be Jesus in this story?!

Have you ever played an imaginary game with your kids? Or did you play as different characters when you were a kid? What did you love to play? Were you the hero? Were you the parent in charge of it all? Wasn’t there always one kid who took the best role, the best character, and demanded you be like … the pet… or the baby… or Robin to their Batman?? That just sucked, didn’t it?

If you are a younger sibling, this was probably your life-story for a time. 🙂 Well…

Imagine being a woman in the church.

Imagine being told, from the day you started to form a true identity, that your role is to be the sidekick. Even when you were on fire, you were never the hero. To fulfill someone else’s vision, someone else’s hopes and dreams, someone else’s ambitions… this was your life’s work; not as a choice or a calling, but as an assigned character to play in someone else’s game.

People with a desire to lead need followers. Kingdom builders need servants. If men see themselves as leaders, it is very convenient and logical to have a built-in support staff ready to go; they can even grow their own army from scratch. There is nothing evil in this, this is logical for a leader to believe… and men are told they are leaders, they alone have the vision from God, and they have been assigned subordinates.

The difference and the problem we often forgot is that at the heart of Christianity is the design that all leaders are to be servants. And when I see Jesus, he is being a servant – always. He invites people to join him but never demands.

The issues we have between men and women in the church often come down to a differing picture of who Jesus actually is to us all, the church.

Now, there are amazing theologians talking about men and women and Jesus and the church. I am no theologian. But, I do have as much access to the Spirit of God as anyone else and here’s what I know….

Jesus empowers the church.

Jesus empowers the church. Jesus serves the church with his life. Jesus dies for the church. Jesus invites the church to do the work of His Father. And He does all this with excitement and always at our sides.

Jesus says, YOU go and do. I love you and I support you and I am always with you, now GO and be brave and be bold and tell the world the Good News that everyone has access to God and New Creation has started.

Men, today, did you cheer your wife on to boldness and bravery? Dads, did you encourage your daughter to pursue the dreams God has put in her?  Did you empower her to go after her calling to share Love in the way her gut tells her to?

I never saw Jesus tell the church to stay put so He could go out and do great things. Actually, Jesus did nothing but empower others to do great work and be more fully alive, healed, joyful. It’s embarrassing sometimes just how much Jesus trusts us all. Jesus trusts us to pursue our lives and dreams all in His name. He used all of his strength and power and love to make a way for His church to be free and powerful too.

Every encouragement, every hope and reminder to the church in the New Testament is an encouragement and hope and reminder to you too – regardless of your gender. Our gender does not dictate our level of freedom in Christ. We are all the church. Jesus is the only Jesus.

What if we stopped playing the old version of “Jesus and the church” where men always get to be Jesus and women always have to be the church that silently serves? What if we started playing a new game where we are all the Church living free and brave under the power and wild encouragement of our servant-king, Jesus?  Jesus changes everything. Everything.

We are all the Church. Jesus is the only Jesus.

It makes no difference whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a freeman, a man or a woman, because in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King,
you are all one.  – Galatians 3:28

I am a wife and I am a Jesus Feminist.

Us Again

I am dedicated to making sure the world knows how beautiful the present and future are for everyone, under Jesus. I am dedicated to loving my husband in the way that makes Him more human, more brave, more free, more himself. He is dedicated to doing the same for me.  This does not diminish him, this makes him more of a leader and more of a man after God’s own design.

We can both be heroes. We can both be Batman.

We cannot both be Jesus. Only Jesus is Jesus.

*****

This piece of my story has been written as part of a synchroblog to celebrate the amazing Sarah Bessey’s new book, Jesus Feminist. It’s not what you think. It’s a book about love and hope for all people – even you, even me.

Jesus Feminist