Jesus Christ was a ladies' man

Photo by Robert Nyman on Unsplash.jpg

Happy  Palm Sunday everyone! Are you all churching alright? Let the Bible-thumping Christian shout Amen!  Jesus is about to make his majestic walk in Jerusalem like the Ol’ G he is!  And in a week’s time, these disloyal heifers have crucified him! But in the meantime, get your palm ferns out and jubilate. Because HE WILL BE BACK LIKE ARNOLD!

Now that we’ve got that over, I’ve been looking at this post that has been sitting on my MacBook for several days now. I’ve been wondering whether to finish it since I am not entirely sure I am as invested in it as I thought it was.

You know there are certain truths you cannot convince others of and for that reason, you find peace in knowing that, at least, YOU know it. But I think I should just say it anyhow.

Jesus is a feminist, a womanist and a total ride-or-die for the ladies!

It needs to be said for all those that try to justify misogynistic behavior and attempt to shut down Christian womanists. Well, the joke is on you. Feminism IS scriptural.

I have always believed that the Jesus we learned about, his unconditional love for the marginalized simply didn’t tally with the Christian teaching of the unspoken suppression of women. So as I looked over at ace journalist Shamima Ishmael speak about the feminist nature and doctrines of the Quran, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the Christian beliefs that I subscribe to, made a case for the ‘free’ woman as well.

A few weeks ago at the PepperdemMinistries debut Intergenerational Conversations about the Feminism movement, there were a few references to the religious and in this case (Christian) teachings that inhibit a true liberation of the Woman in her choices.  Listening to Shamima, talk about the word of Quran, however, I was enthralled. "Women can own land”, she said.

"Women can work, earn money and do what she wants with it." She said, “the Quran would be the most feminist religious text there ever was”. Moslem said she found it amusing that anti-feminists tried to explain misogyny away with holy texts.

Immediately, I started to wonder whether my own beliefs in Christianity were debased because of my own bias for women (not that i am ashamed to be bias) or that there was enough evidence to support what I have always believed to be true. So what did I do? I went back to my Bible. I believe as problematic as the Scripture is with regards to context and interpretation, I was still trusting that my simple question will be answered:

 Does the Bible have proof that there is an equal inclusion of women in… everything? Even the slightest?

There are many instances I cannot do justice to in this post.

But I did try to run through most of the old testament with the reference word “ Woman”. My goal was to find any text that suggested that the woman was lesser than or restricted by her sex. I found many references to both man and woman in copious instances in the Book of Leviticus, Deutronomy, and Numbers.

Eg: 1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, When a man or woman commits any of the sins that people commit by breaking faith with the Lord, and that person realizes his guilt, he shall confess his sin that he has committed.” Numbers 5:6

Eg 2:“If there is found among you, within any of your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, a man or woman who does what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, in transgressing his covenant, and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have forbidden, and it is told you and you hear of it, then you shall inquire diligently, and if it is true and certain that such an abomination has been done in Israel, then you shall bring out to the gates that man or woman who has done this evil thing, and you shall stone that man or woman to death with stones” Deuteronomy 17: 2

Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Numbers are books with explicit details on God’s commands and conditions. What screamed out to me was the basis of equality on which the Lord maps out his rules and commandments. No man or woman is spared God’s wrath should they sin. Both sexes during the Mosaic era were treated as equals, intellectuals, capable of knowing right, wrong and judged accordingly. And while stoning isn’t as common as it is today,(Thank God) we can’t ignore the stigma attached to women who deemed sexually immoral (even though it takes more than often two people to commit a sexual act ) as we see in present-day contexts.

Why is that? When did it become our burden to carry?

Anyway,  moving on to Christ, the center of the matter. We both know that there are more than at least in two significant moments during His three years on earth, where He shows inclusiveness, inherent respect, and regard for women. His dealing and teachings showed He understood what discrimination, prejudice, inequality was.

"The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

First of all these men KNOW the punishment for adultery in the Mosaic law were for BOTH parties.

Many use this verse in showcasing Jesus’s kindness to the sinful and unworthy but choose to ignore the mortal danger the adulterous woman potentially attracted. For being sexually immoral or being an adulterer. But the question was, where was her partner in crime? How was she caught in the “act of adultery” alone? Was she being adulterous with an inanimate object? No. When Christ replies these men, I do not see his response as a challenge to the accusers to reflect on their own humanity (even though that is apparent), but simply to state things as they should be. In other words, if you think you or I am worthy of a second chance, who are we to deny this woman the same?
Tell me if this is not the basis of Feminism? That we challenge a patriarchal world to treats women by dwelling if only briefly on what it would be to walk in a woman’s shoes.

These Pharisees are no different from the anti-feminists or rather, anti-woman, we have today. It is much easy to make the woman, the “weaker” object; an embodiment of sin. A scapegoat in the house of the Lord by policing her thoughts, actions, body, mistakes and her opportunities. The reasons are simple: Why look in the mirror at your own weakness when there is already a sheep for that sacrifice? Interpretations of the Bible, by would-be Men of God, try to control the spaces women have the capacity to occupy by assigning gendered roles to us, even before we understood who we are.  

1. A woman cannot be sexual. 2.A woman cannot take up leadership positions. 3. A woman confirmed to the standards of her society even if it means to impede her full greatness.

When Christ commanded, "That love thy neighbor as thyself”.Matthew 19:19, He knew it was the one universal law that would keep the peace between man, woman and his neighbor. In its simplicity, it says more than just showing kindness. It challenges to look at ourselves and ask who we would be without our privileges. It a law that hopes that each individual, man, and woman, will have the equal opportunity to thrive as they are; that man and woman can co-exist peacefully without one or the other suffocating under the whims and manipulations of each other. Why? Because we would all understand what it feels like to walk in each other’s shoes.

Let us not say, “A woman’s place is in the kitchen”. “A woman who has had many sexual partners is a whore” “ To say a woman is too smart for her own good” "A woman must not be too loud”, we cannot put men in the same sentences justifiably.

I have more to say about this but no-one likes to read long passages. I will not talk about the trust he places in Mary Magdalene when his resurrection journey begins or His making a case for Martha’s bold display of devotion; Or fellowshipping with the woman who had several husbands.

 I only know that when God commanded that man will leave his home and become ONE with his wife, he meant it as it should be. One in living. One in decision making. One in worship. One in love and respect. One in opportunities. One in strength and weakness; That they would serve each other in unison. 

 I am more than convicted that my faith in Christ alone is well placed. He finds worthiness in me as he does in you. As for the moral harbingers and its enablers, they grow smaller and smaller as I self-actualize. Women are changing and growing. For now, that is all that matters.