I am a fully devoted follower of Christ. I believe Jesus is who he said he is: the son of God. I believe he did what eye witnesses said he did: die and raise from the dead three days later. I do all the things: read the Bible, go to church, engage in fellowship with other believers. But I am not comfortable calling myself a Christian – and many Christians are probably glad for that. I believe devoting your life to Christ is not about what you do, it is about what was done – Christ’s atoning sacrifice. And I can submit to grace – be redeemed and accepted – without committing even the tip of my pinkie to a mentality that I am morally superior to anyone else. We’ll plumb this topic a lot more in future posts.
I am a fully devoted feminist. I believe men and women are created equal: one is not derivative of the other. I believe women deserve every thing men automatically receive: bodily autonomy, fair wages, access to purpose and position beyond the home. I do all the things: attend the marches, advocate for access to healthcare, immerse myself in intersectional literature. Unlike Christianity, feminism IS about what you do – if you’re not actively rejecting institutionalized patriarchy, you’re complicit to gender-based oppression.
Because I do all the things, I have links to all the people – from fundamentalist Christians to far-left secular abortionists. Put another way: rural Wisconsin to Queens NY. Facebook has given these groups a platform, and I have a front-row seat to their own echo chambers. Christians pile on when Rush Limbaugh lambastes the left for – let’s be real – anything. Secular liberals lose their mind when Donald Trump does – again, let’s be real – anything. There’s virtually no flow of ideas between the two. I stand in the space between – but not without voice.
I am a very private person. I’ve lurked around the perimeter of Twitter, looking for an inlet for a contemplative introvert, but it’s a sea of sharp elbows all jockeying for sight. And so we’re here – a place where I can meditate on the complex issues.
Back to Christianity. One of the most galvanizing sentiments on Christian social media stems from the idea that if “the world” hates or rejects you, you’re making God proud. You’re in the right. Do not be troubled; keep on keepin’ on. This comes from a few places in scripture:
Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. Luke 6:22-23 (ESV)
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. John 15:18-21 (ESV)
There are other verses, but these two emphasize the same idea: if you are hated, you are Christlike in righteousness. This idea is routinely used to justify rejection of same-sex marriage, legal rights for transgender people, and any political candidate who supports reproductive rights (from access to contraceptives to abortion). And on the left, the prevailing analog is that disavowing religion in its various forms begets inclusivity. We’ll tackle those topics separately in many other posts, so don’t get distracted. Right here I’m establishing my platform:
There is no necessary correlation between rejection and righteousness. If people hate you, maybe it’s because you treat them with cruelty. If people reject your policy stances, maybe it’s because they believe they should not be forced to live according to your personal standards – be they religious or secular. And maybe their reticence to get onboard with your belief system has something to do with the fact that your only interactions with them come in violently casual memes that dehumanize for the sake of a laugh.
This blog isn’t a soapbox or a place for answers. My hope is that it gives you some insight on the other side – left to right, right to left. And to be clear: feminism and Christianity are not inherently opposed so I’m not setting them apart or across from one another; rather, I’m leveraging my multiple identities to meditate on the complexity and viewpoint diversity within the issues we face.
Readers, engage with me! What topics do you want to explore more?