On the fifth Thursday (or Saturday) of each month, I would like to share my thoughts about some of the books I have read recently that have impacted my life in meaningful ways. This week’s book is Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey. You can purchase it here:
I am a feminist. There. I said it. I don’t know why it seems so scary to people. Well…yes, I do. “Feminist” is a word that has a lot of baggage attached to it. It is time for us to reclaim what the word really means: someone who is willing to speak up for and lend their voice to the voiceless. A feminist is someone who believes women are people, too.
A Jesus feminist is someone who believes that men AND women are children of God and should be treated as such. “Feminism only means we champion the dignity, rights, responsibilities, and glories of women as equal in importance—not greater than, but certainly not less than—to those of men, and we refuse discrimination against women” (p. 13, 14). This is Sarah Bessey’s message in her book Jesus Feminist.
The best part of this book for me was Bessey’s attitude throughout. She is not fighting. She is not arguing. She is expressing her concern, her research, and her conclusions. She does not expect everyone to agree with her completely. But she hopes for love and respect and truly offers the same to all of her readers. Bessey is a great story teller and weaves narrative all throughout the book.
“Whenever there is injustice or oppression, anything less than God’s intended purposes from the dawn of Creation, our God has always set His people on the trajectory of redemption” (p. 26). The treatment of women worldwide is shamefully unequal and oppressive. Unfortunately, that is often the case in our western churches, as well. We need to people of redemption. We need to reclaim God’s intended purpose that men and women are both created in His image. We need to recognize the hurt and work to heal the pain while also working to ensure the same hurts never happen again.
This book is a great starting point. Bessey admits near the end that she does not have all the answers. None of us do. But as we have witnessed the events that have led to the current #yesallwomen social media movement, we are reminded of the importance of how we treat, talk about, teach, and empower our women. “God’s justice doesn’t come without His presence” (p. 180).
Her book reads like a memoir, but it is not. Her book is not a theological or academic work, yet there is much to be learned throughout the pages. This book is Sarah Bessey sharing herself, her thoughts, her views, her journey. (At least that is my perception, I do not know her.) We need more people to speak the way Bessey does. We need more Jesus feminists. We need to do more to promote proper treatment of women in our churches.