Can You Be A Christian And A Feminist?

Are Feminism And Christianity Mutually Exclusive?

Despite the division that seems omnipotent within the topics of feminism and Christianity, the topics might have more in common than what meets the eye.

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Look, it's no secret that in our area, feminism can be perceived as the second worst f-word by so many people. I mean, we live smack dab in the middle of the Bible belt and are swimming in the vast sea of red that is the state of Missouri.

But recently, it has come to my attention that the definition of what it means to be a Christian has become quite convoluted and complicated. And for a lot of people, this is probably a no brainer but I grew up in a town where you didn't question anything. So when I moved off to a college that is the tiniest blip of blue, my world was rocked in the best way possible.

In our current political climate, it can seem paradoxical to many that one can identify both as an unapologetic feminist and a Christian. Despite what some preach in the pulpit on Sundays, I refuse to believe that in order to follow my savior, I must compromise my deepest moral convictions, many of which have come from becoming a feminist.

I feel like so often, Christians believe that morality can only be religiously based.

I strongly reject that belief because it's divisive and condescending. To be frank, most of the time, I have more in common with my atheist and agnostic friends than I do with most of the Christians that I know. I have many issues with the overall narrative that mainstream Christianity perpetuates both in the media and the White House.

Despite what many people believe, you can be both a feminist and a Christian, and here's why.

The Fundamentals are the Same

Although much of the modern church believes that feminism is leading to the demise in America, I personally believe that my feminism makes me a better Christian. This is because both belief systems are founded on the premise of advocating for others. Feminism is about fighting for the rights of marginalized groups and unapologetically proclaiming equality.

Feminism is about handing the microphone that our privileged lives have granted us with and passing it to our neighbor, who by sheer dumb luck, wasn't afforded that same right. Christianity is about loving people without first inquiring whether or not they are worthy of that love.

Jesus did not question if we were worthy of love. He decided, on the cross, that every single soul that would ever be born into existence was inherently worthy. We are not worthy because we go to church on Sundays, pay our tithe diligently, or any other box that legalistic Christianity demands that we check in order to be deemed good enough.

Jesus decided that we are inherently valuable, intrinsically worthy, and that is enough. And that is the exact belief that feminism holds; that all people should be afforded equality regardless of any label that the world has placed on them; that all people are equal.

Jesus Would Be a Feminist

I truly believe that Jesus would be the posterboard for feminism. Jesus would be waiting, arms open, to his beloved children fleeing their homeland as refugees. Jesus would listen to the survivor of a sexual assault with an open heart and hear her story without a shred of condemnation or shame.

Jesus would proclaim that, yes, black lives do matter; just as much as white lives, blue lives, and brown lives, like his. Jesus would want women to be treated with the equity and respect of our male counterparts. Jesus would fight for a living wage for millions of families across the globe.

Jesus would fight the stigma that disabled people are somehow less than because they are abled differently. Jesus would love his observant, Muslim neighbor just as much as his white, Christian neighbor. Jesus would be absolutely appalled at the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community at the hands of the church.

Jesus would fight to protect our earthly home because only he knows how long we will be here. Jesus would hold the hand of the woman getting an abortion and affirm her valid emotions and meet her with nothing but love. That is the Lord we serve; one of grace and mercy and non-condemnation.

The bottom line is that Jesus would love, and he certainly wouldn't be complacent with injustice so neither should we.

Jesus showed up and showed out, just like feminists

During his brief time on earth, Jesus was a trailblazer; he was the Messiah. Jesus did not adhere to the rules of the religious culture at the time. Many times, Jesus openly defied the church and was ridiculed heavily for doing so.

The Pharisees didn't like Jesus. I see so much behavior of the evangelical church mimicking that of the group that literally persecuted the savior that we claim to love so much a mere two-thousand years ago.

But Jesus knew that the persecution was worth it; he knew that people's lives were worth his discomfort. As a feminist, I know that any discomfort that I feel is worth it.

Conversations about racism, ableism, inclusivity, and sexism are not easy, but they're not supposed to be. As a feminist, and a white, cis-gendered, straight feminist at that, I only get a minuscule percentage of the persecution that Jesus got and that my fellow brothers and sisters still get to this very day.

As an immensely privileged person, it is my job to create and promote equality; not because it is easy but because it is vital to the fabric of our democracy. And if that's not Jesus's whole message than I don't know what is.

The evangelical church has caused so much division, animosity, and pure hatred not just in America, but around the world. And it breaks my heart when people tell me that I am the only liberal Christian that they have met. I ask myself, "What have we done, as a Church, to get it so wrong?".

How long will Christians continue to stand on raised pedestals, casting stones at "the other" until they realize just what atrocities they've become? Jesus's message was simple, "Love the Lord with all of your heart and love your neighbor as yourself".

So my message, as a Christian and as a feminist, is simple too. I want to be loved, every day in my community. I want to embrace the brokenhearted and the hurting and give nothing but love, unconditional, Christ-like love. Jesus would be an activist, an ally, and an advocate, and so am I.

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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The Ins And Outs Of Imposter Syndrome And How It Affects Women Of Color

We're taught by older generations that we always have to work twice as hard to get half as far as white peers.

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First things first I want to tell you what Imposter Syndrome is not. I know there are plenty of articles that discuss self-confidence through body image but I can guarantee you that's not what I'm talking about here. That could be another article for another day, perhaps. It's also not just a feeling of "oh, dang, I could've done that better" or "I wish I'd done that differently." It must also be noted that this is less of an actual disorder and more of a condition if you will.

What Imposter Syndrome actually is is feeling like nothing you accomplish is actually worth anything and that everything you've achieved is because of luck, not because of the work you put into it. It's always feeling like you're going to be exposed or found out for not actually being as intelligent or successful as you seem or as you say you are.

But how does this manifest in everyday life you ask? Well, of course, I am here to provide some examples.

Whenever I have a project due in one of my journalism classes, I make sure to listen to the instructions when it's being introduced. I always go back and read over the syllabus when completing my projects. I take the tips and tricks into account. I follow all of the guidelines I was given and I always try to put my best foot forward. Yet, I still always feel like I'm doing everything incorrectly or that I'm forgetting something. I feel like no matter what my professor is going to hate it and I'm going to get a bad grade.

Or it can manifest as whenever I try to apply for a job I have a hard time describing my skills or past work experience because I feel like I haven't really done anything relevant. I also don't really feel like I have many skills if any. I always remember that someone is going to have more experience or a better portfolio or a better resume. Whenever I remember that it can leave me feeling inadequate and like I don't belong. Like everyone else is a hireable employee and like I'm a poser.

I think this has a lot to do with the fact that, as a woman, you're socialized to put other people's needs and wants before your own whether that be celebrating other people's accomplishments or helping other people bounce back from failure. But you never really gain the skills to be that same support for yourself, at least not without years of work and undoing the internalized misogyny you've faced. Also because we've been socialized this way it can leave you feeling like you don't deserve anything good because the people around you haven't gotten there's yet. And that can be extremely difficult to break through.

As for people of color, because we're taught by older generations that we always have to work twice as hard to get half as far as white peers, we're always so used to exerting so much energy. But the moment you actually get recognized for your hard work can be jarring because you might feel like you weren't working as hard you could be and don't deserve it. Or that you got lucky this time but soon everyone is gonna find out the truth and you're gonna be exposed as a fraud or an underachiever.

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