Tuesday, January 11, 2005

isn't it ironic?

yeah, i really do think... I made it through four years of Smith with no real problems reconciling my feminism and my Christianity. You'd think it would be easier out of the Smith bubble.

I identify as decidedly feminist. One of the most valuable lessons of my Smith career was that feminism is not anti-men - it is pro-women, and that until women have achieved equality in social/political/religious/etc arenas, that means working for women's advancement. Feminism doesn't mean believing that women are better than men - it means asserting boldly that damn it, we are every bit as valuable. Etc.

I also (duh) identify as most decidedly Christian. As far as I can tell, integral to this are such ideas such as Christ's divinity, God's authority as superior to ours, etc. I believe that the Church is a Good Thing and has Good Things to teach us, even if it "hath erred". I believe that the Scriptures are a holy thing with valuable content. Etc.

But I hate feeling pressed to choose. I hate being told I can't have it both ways. I feel torn when I have to read about feminist spirituality and spend the entire article scrawling, alternately, "Yes!!!" "No!!!" "Yes!!!" "No!!!" in the margins - not because I'm overexcited, but because this is actually important.

I am acutely aware that organized religion in general and my own in specific have a long and tortured history of oppression against women. I know the Church has participated in robbing women of their stories. I agree that certain parts of Scripture have been coopted for patriarchal purposes or have explicitly androcentric messages. I know that the Church continues to be patriarchal, and I don't want to condone it.

But neither do I want to relinquish the Church. I value the canonical Scriptures and I trust that the Spirit was involved in that process. I don't want to pick and choose what I like, what makes me comfortable, and "balance" the rest with noncanonical texts. I'm all for balance. But balance involves acknowledging that just as our male kin are not the only ones with worth, and may not act as though they are, so too WE ARE NOT the only ones with worth, and WE TOO may NOT act as though we are! It involves a recognition that Christian tradition, fraught as it is with patriarchal, hurtful elements, is still of value.

I will with enthusiasm accept responsibility to speak for myself. And in so doing, I refuse to hand over my theology and my spirituality to the feminist movement. I claim my right to be formed by the Church, past and present, in addition to being formed by feminism. Just as I refuse to give up the Church to those who disagree with me about sexuality, I refuse to abandon ship just because the ship has traditionally been captained by men. I will stay on board, and stay feminist at the same time.

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