25 May 2009

Feminists are not your friends

Feminism has not helped the Church. Ok?

Feminism was not something the Church needed to bring about the exorcism of some chronic, systemic sexism. Feminism's biggest problem as an intellectual system is that it cannot reconcile women's supposed subjugation because of what their bodies do with the fact that what women's bodies do is incredible, empowering, and exclusive. Does childbearing free us or bind us? Feminism will never figure it out, and a lot more scratching and hair pulling is in the works because of it. But the Church has always had this figured out. Male and female He created them, and it was very good. The Church is not and has never been sexist. She's a lady, after all. ;)

This is not to say that there have not been and are not now persons within the Church who are guilty of the sins of misogyny and chauvinism. But feminism cannot fix misogyny or chauvinism in the Church or anywhere else, because only Christ can fix sin. The Holy Spirit calls us to repentance of all sins by the Word of God, which is clear on the point that girls are on the level as far as God is concerned. If the people of God were more tempted by zeitgeists past to break the 8th commandment against women, slandering them as intrinsically inferior, they are now more tempted to despise maternity and break the 4th and10th commandments against women.

Feminism is a cancer, women of God. Do not think that it has helped you or made your church a better place. Feminism is not "hey, don't be a jerk to me." I'd tell you to read Simone de Beauvior to see for yourself, but she is a vat of poison. I consider it a work of divine providence that I didn't drown in it (I was younger and poorly catechized when I read The Second Sex, but I also wouldn't pick it up again today to double check). Betty Friedan will turn and aerate the your heart so that the seeds of malice, self-absorption, and covetousness which the devil has tossed into it will take root. If your brain can schlog through the bloviating sophistry of eisogetes like Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, it does so at the risk of being confounded by cunning perversions of God's Word. Haven't we learned by now not to listen to voices that hiss, "Did God really say . . . ?"

It's not that you're not smart enough to handle it. But if you don't think it's a good idea for your husband to subscribe to Maxim so that he can preach better against the sin of lust, don't read feminist writing. This is not sticking your head in the sand. It is both protecting your soul (and, by extension, your family) and refusing to be complicit in sin. Feminism is intellectual pornography for chicks. It will tell you that your sinful desires are ok and need to be indulged for the sake of your health. It will nag love out of your heart and replace it with dissatisfaction and contempt.

You are not living a better life right now because of Gloria Steinem's clever social commentary or what happened in Seneca Falls. You are living and raising your daughters and sons in a world in which God's ordering of human relationships and women's and men's proper work have been made into objects of greater scorn than ever in history. Feminism has made a mockery of you and the honor God has bestowed upon you. Anything it appeared to give it has taxed away ten times over (remember how prostitution and pornography were unfeminist for about five minutes, and now are the birthright of every woman?). Feminism has made your life worse, period.

One last thing: Jesus was not a feminist. He is God. That's why He treated women so well (and continues to do so).


Monique said...

I LOVE it!! This is great Rebekah. I would also add to your list of what NOT to contaminate your mind with...

1. watching Oprah!!

Sarah D said...

Good think I am not well read in such literature. I remember taking a women's lit class for my major and being like, "eh, what is this stuff?" I got a C in the class, which I proudly took. :)

Kelly said...

Rebekah - Can I be your intellectual groupie? :)

Seriously, I wish I'd had someone set me straight like that in high school. Much hand-wringing could have been avoided.

Monique - Ditto on the Oprah thing, and might I add "The View" to the list?

Just for laughs - word verification is chicktor.

Reb. Mary said...

Intellectual porn. Yes. Seductive, addictive, damaging.

MooreMama said...

Rebekah - You Rock.

Joy said...

There are plenty of pastors who would say Jesus was a feminist, and they're not heretics. It all depends on how one defines the term. Christianity alone esteems women as equal to men. Our Creator saw to it that we were made of the exact same substance as man--taken directly from his side, and then chose to be born from the flesh of woman only. In His earthly ministry, Christ allowed women to sit at his feet and learn. This was outrageously scandalous for His day.

But yes, as for the squalking Femi-nazi heads in Hollywood and beyond, they are no friends to pure doctrine.

Gauntlets said...

Dear, dear Joy. You are so right--Christianity alone understands women and treats us and our work with respect. And while some pastors may define Jesus as a feminist, that needn't confuse the rest of us. Jesus doesn't treat women "equally"-- not one of His apostles was a woman--but He treats us mercifully and with great love. I love Mary at Christ's feet, but that image isn't remotely pleasing to Feminism. It wants Mary, Mary, and Mary on its own literary terms. The feminist movement, all three waves of it (or four?), has little time for humility or forensic justification. It wants to turn His love on its ear.

"Feminist" is too charged a term to be properly applied to anyone but feminists, and those who choose to define themselves as such better be willing to carry the political baggage so lovingly supplied by their forebears.

How about a new, better term for Christians? "Sarah's Daughters" may be long, but it makes more sense. And it would look so snazzy on a T-shirt. :D

Rebekah said...

What my beautiful associate said, big time.

Furthermore. Feminism is not ours to define according to our use for it. It is defined by its own canon. Let's be charitable and say that Christians who would call Jesus feminist are not heretics, they're ill-informed. Feminism is a heresy, a structure comprised entirely of corruption and sin, and utterly without virtue. It cannot be appropriated for Christian use, because it is anti-Christian. To say Jesus was a feminist is to award a morally bankrupt philosophy with the Church's own good possession, trading our birthright for a mess of poisoned pottage.

However, a Christian who knows what feminism teaches and says Jesus was feminist is certainly errorist, probably schismatic, and possibly a heretic. A pastor who would say this is leading his sheep astray. He could similarly teach his flock that God's gift of sex is a mysterious good and then suggest they learn more at the Hustler Club. If Jesus is a feminist, shouldn't we all be? What is this hypothetical pastor going to do when one of his sheep listens to him, picks up a fine theological treatise by Rosemary Radford Ruether, and shows up in his office with a curdled soul?

If Christians wouldn't say the KKK gets some credit for opposing false religions like Judaism; if Lutherans don't defend the Third Reich on account of its invocation of Luther, they've got no business saying feminism was good because it claimed to value women.

Joy said...

My point was merely an issue of semantics. Certain words bear an entire spectrum of meaning, and our language limps under the burden. We don't always have words with the correct shade, and each subculture and generation usurps new definitions for themselves. "Suck" and "gay" are good examples.

Fascinating discussion, though! Can I get a "CSPP: Temporarily Avowed Sarah's Daughter" in turquoise?

Gauntlets said...

Rosemary. I was poring over her Women and Redemption shortly after I married. My husband quietly replaced that book with another called Speaking the Christian God (recommended by my 20-year-old self, but I need to re-examine before giving it full endorsement) that exposed the alien reptile under Rosemary's skin. I was very grateful to him.

He always was pretty good with self-preservation. ;D

Joy said...

*sigh* Yes, it IS that I'm not smart enough to handle it. But that's okay. I can always use a reminder of why I married a septalingual exegete.

Rebekah said...

Not to pick fights, but my point is also about semantics. "Feminist" is the worst possible proxy for what Scripture teaches, our Lord demonstrates, and the church confesses, because feminism is completely opposed to all of those things.

We whose way of life is rooted in our public confession do not have the luxury of engaging in semantic imprecision.

Sarah said...

Good point Rebekah. If your life is rooted in a public confession than it makes perfect sense to not dibble dabble in semantic imprecision.

Though, I was thinking, I don't think it necessarily a bad thing to read the works of feminists. How else can you know what they say and thus refute them?

Joy said...

My husband reads everything--including the heresies, just to know what he's up against.

I hate to sound like a PoMo, but I think semantic imprecision is inevitable. Gauntlets said Jesus doesn't treat women equally, and gave good evidence. She's right. But it's also right to say that he does treat women equally, because he loves them, rebukes them, respects them, and saves them as equally as he does the men. This is the crux of the argument from Christians who say Christ was a feminist.

Precision--especially through the written word--is next to impossible when so much depends on reader interpretation.

Rebekah said...

Joy, you do sound PoMo. If what you say is true our creeds and confessions mean nothing, to say nothing of, you know, the WORD. So good luck with that. :)

Sarah, good question. I would say first of all that feminist literature poses less temptation to men, so they are good candidates for reading and refuting it. Of course, men are automatically disqualified from critiquing feminism by feminism itself (how clever). So I think the next best group of candidates would be older women who are firmly established in the true faith and more impervious to feminism's temptations. Cf. how it was once required that a man be 30 before he read Ezekiel. Isn't 50 the new 30 or something like that?

Gauntlets said...

Think this through for a minute: Defining Christ as a feminist is not only attempting to bind Him by words, concepts and politics outside of His revelation (terribly, terribly dangerous) but it is trying for a new, socially "relevant" interpretation of The Word itself--which in the end unravels everything. EVERYTHING. For everything was created by The Word. If the Word is feminist, then the Church is wrong, Scripture is trash lit, our confession is empty, and our lives are farcical. "Feminist"
MEANS something far deeper than "digs chicks." If I define God as a feminist, regardless of my intent, I define Him as something He is not. Which is to say, I am no longer talking about Christ, but rather about some fictional dude that is moderately useful in bulwarking my personal El Dorado.

Yes. It really is that big of a deal.

Christians are a culture unto ourselves (with our own clothes, food, language, etc.), and it does not benefit us to beggar words from bankrupt philosophical systems that openly despise our God (e.g. their eagerness to recast Him as Gaia). We have our own words, many, many words, that give us a true, full, real understanding of Christ, His work, and even His specific regard for women. The Church has been teaching us those words for thousands of years, and the words she has been given to teach are the crux of our faith ("given and shed for you" "by the power and in the stead" "in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit").

As C.S. Lewis said in Perelandria (violently recommended), when it comes to the work of God "never did He make two things the same; never did He utter one word twice . . . All is righteousness and there is no equality."

lisa said...

Did someone say Perelandra? Gauntlets, you're speaking my language! :)

What strikes fear into my heart is when pious Christian women decry feminism but then go on to critique other pious Christian women for listening to their husbands...prefering to be at home with their kids...dressing modestly. Verbally rejecting feminism is great - but it has indeed won when it gets us to judge one another by worldly standards.. A woman hasn't "given up" on life if she needed to do housework and thus said no to makeup that day (or every day). A woman is not an idiot if she listens to her husband and obeys him in a matter of opinion if it does not go against her faith. It does not make her weak, simple or a "pushover". It makes her godly.

Similarly, how often do we refrain from chastising a sister in Christian love when she is abandoning her children to do something that feels good to her? (I'm not talking a well-deserved margarita with a girlfriend from time to time - which actually preserves the sanity of the mom) What I'm talking about is when women will see a sister dressing very provocatively (bc she wanted to "feel good about herself"), speaking wistfully about the career she could have had... (bc a woman can do anything if she puts her mind to it, irregardless of the fact that her family is better served with her butt staying at home with the kids)*, etc

Like my husband says - loving your neighbor doesn't mean being an idiot AND speaking the hard and good and true word in Christian love is not sitting in the seat of judgment. It needs to be done carefully, but rarely is it ever done perfectly - still, that is no reason to shy away from it.

* My mom worked outside of the home and my grandma worked inside the home. And BOTH reared their children well. However, working outside of the home is rarely the best option and more often is not a GOOD choice but rather, the lesser evil of two poor choices. (i.e. - in case of biblical divorce or needing extra income to
keep a roof over your modest head).

Joy said...

Rebekah, I don't believe in luck, but that's another post entirely.

Thursday's Child said...