Feminism did a lot of great things for American women, which isn’t really recognized by the mainstream conservative Christian movement. Rape and abuse were taken more seriously, family planning became discussed and valued openly, property ownership became possible for women in many states, and a great deal of other things that modern women, even Christian women, take for granted.
While I identify myself with conservative Christianity, I do not identify myself with fundamentalism, which is often disguised under conservatism. I also don’t hold to the views of the 1950s. I have a 21st century approach. For women like me, there isn’t much good material that we can use for guidance or direction. The Bible allows for liberty, and it transcends time and cultures. I have a tendency toward legalism, looking for lots of specific rules to guide me, but God just doesn’t give that in His Word. I have a feeling that I wouldn’t be happy if He did.
Instead, He gives principles, goals, and ideas. He stands for love, justice, and mercy. He is fearsome, and nations should tremble before Him. He is compassionate, giving His children more than we deserve. I’ve been looking for a specific way to live my life as a Christian woman, and today, I realized how small my view of life was.
On 100.7 FM (in Dallas), they had a program called “Living as a Modern Day Woman” on where they were discussing women’s roles in a new era, where we have freedom and opportunity, but also overwhelming schedules and responsibilities. What hit me what their Biblical evaluation of a marriage and a productive, God-honoring life. They said that we often use circumstances to evaluate and gain our bearings, instead of using something permanent. That tendency causes us to become reactive when things don’t go well, living in a cause/effect manner. In Genesis, they pointed out, there are three basic principles and goals of marriage that can serve as evaluators.
1) Marriage was created for life-long companionship
“It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18).
God did not find any of the beasts of the earth worthy to be a life-long companion of man. Only woman could fulfill that need.
2) Marriage is for being fruitful and multiplying
“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28)
I can’t remember if they said this, or I just thought it, but it is possible to be infertile and unable to adopt and still contribute positively to the next generation. We can bless others and be an instrument in adding to the kingdom of God. It doesn’t only mean to bear children. Otherwise, God would have given all of us women fertile wombs!! He has a purpose in infertility, and there are so many ways to love other children.
3) Marriage is for ruling and subduing the earth
“Subdue [the earth] and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.” (Genesis 1:28-30)
Together, as husband and wife, the earth is there to be ruled over and subdued. It is not just a male thing. I have no idea why I thought that, especially since I’ve read the beginning of Genesis many times, but this passage has God addressing both man and female…the first use of man is used as “mankind”, but these commands are to both men and women.
(“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them-Genesis 1:27).
For me, this was exhilarating and liberating, because my status as a woman revolves around these things. I don’t have to be coddled and have my “inferior” status sugar-coated. I have freedom…the earth is for me and my husband. This makes me want to rejoice and serve God all the more, for His goodness and mercy. I no longer have to feel inferior by dumbed-down Christianity, because God has chosen to exalt my race in a way I never could have imagined. Oppression, ultimately, is caused by lies, in this instance, perpetuated by both Christians and non-Christians.
Isn’t it silly? It was staring me in the face all of this time, and somehow, I didn’t process it. Truth indeed sets you free.
Disclaimer: If a woman chooses and desires to stay at home, I do not think it is wrong. It is simply A way to honor God’s design for marriage. I just do not think it is THE way.