10 reasons why i'm an advocate for women's liberation

Handcuffsyesterday was international women’s day.  and like usual, i’m always a little late to the party.  some people think i’m a broken record when it comes to women’s equality. i’m glad. i want to use my voice & hands & feet in any small ways i can to shift the tides of inequality & injustice that strip the dignity of women.

here’s why i’m pro-woman, pro-equality, pro-liberation-of-half-the-population:

1. i think Jesus was.  every interaction Jesus had with women was to set them free and lift their burdens of bondage.  and he said we were supposed to be like him.  i don’t know why the church built on his name has done the exact opposite; it still baffles me.

2. women’s wisdom will make the world better.   it’s said that the same way of thinking  that got us into our problems can’t get us out.  it’s time for some new minds & hearts to get in the mix so that more creative, peaceful, collaborative solutions can be considered in our families, cities, churches, ministries, and organizations.

3. it’s good for men, too.  i don’t want things to shift to women on top & men beneath them, either.  i’m pro-equality.  our freedom is tied up together. when we learn how to be equals, alongside one another as partners, brothers & sisters, teammates, and friends, it reflects God’s image in all kinds of beautiful ways.

4.  the church should be the leader of restoring dignity and equality, instead of dragging along behind.  so i may not be able to change the whole big church but i can play my part in cultivating equality & freedom in our little one.

5. others need us to fight for their freedom.  many can’t fight.  we have liberties others don’t.  our freedom is all tangled up together.  if we stay stuck, others stay stuck. if we get free, we can participate in setting others free, too.

6.  i have to look in my daughter’s eyes.  i have a responsibility to do whatever i can to make sure she has every opportunity she deserves inside & outside of the church.  i can’t tolerate someone telling her she is less because of her gender.

7.  i have to look in my 4 son’s eyes.  they deserve equal partners who will show up, and participate in relationship instead of remain silenced and diminished.  they also deserve to be set free of the bondage of male stereotypes that limit and damage.

7.  yeah, the next generation needs us.  we can’t leave them hanging.  we have to keep paving the way, like the brave men & women before us, to make their path less & less bumpy.

8.  when we are silent, we stand on the side of the oppressor. it’s easier to play nice. it’s easier to follow the status quo.  it’s easier to stick with the crowd and keep supporting churches & the media & systems that strip dignity and freedom.  but when we do, we condone inequality and align with oppression.

9.  we must be the change we want to see.   i can’t sit around waiting for the church to change.  the kingdom isn’t going to drop out of the sky.  God uses people to change the world.

10.  freedom isn’t just a bigger cageliberation means full freedom in Christ, not just lesser-oppression.

happy international women’s day, one day late.

may we keep playing our part in liberation.

what about you?  what motivates you to keep advocating for freedom?

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i’ve got a couple of posts up this week at other sites that are more of this same song:

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life and online. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

24 Comments

  • Exactly! Thank you for this great reminder of why “feminist” is not a dirty word.

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  • It’s easy to find what you want in your holy book, whether you’re Christian, Muslim or an assortment of other religions, and ignore the rest. Some people focus in a few verses in the Bible that they suppose “proves” the inequality of women, but somehow miss most of the rest of the Bible. (Oh, they have a few other favorite verses that “prove” their view on certain select people and topics.)

    Sadly, the majority of the church has seldom led in restoring dignity and equality to any oppressed group. Rather, it has often been a magnet for those who choose to oppress others, as we have personally observed in the cases of age, race, gender and sexual orientation.

    Our solution, as you point out, is to speak out. The oppressors interpret silence as assent to their control. Leaving, and offering no support in any way is a first step, but it’s not enough. Even though it royally pisses off oppressors, we must speak out against them. Yes, it does endanger their paychecks. Good! Maybe it’s time for them to move on and get a job packing orders for Amazon.

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    • i so agree with you, we need to speak out. if we don’t, it will continue. the rise in conversations about this is very encouraging, but the next step is people rising up against it by voting with their feet. thanks for being such an awesome advocate for women’s liberation.

      Reply
  • Love this, Kathy! I’m going to repost on my FB and pin it on Pinterest. That ok with you?? 😉

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  • So so good. For the longest time, I would have argued that of course my voice was not silenced, and that I was outspoken enough to not really feel captive. The truth is that in leaning into #5 here, for me means owning reality that my true voice; the core of my being, only has the audible strength of a squeak. That for me is so hard to admit, and grateful for the help to learn how to fight for freedom, and allow myself to feel worthy enough to be fought for too. 🙂

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    • that worthiness piece is what gives all of us so much trouble, that’s for sure. how sad it is, the amount of years so many of us have spent in church and never felt really worthy, loved, or valuable. that’s nuts!

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  • Thank you for the positive voice you have, not angry or belligerent or defensive. It is an inspiration. For a long while I have been fearful to keep speaking out because I’ve been labeled “feminist” and “angry” and I stepped back to learn grace and peace in this conversation. You are a great teacher. Thank you again Kathy.

    Reply
    • Melody,
      Hey, I just want you to know that I hear you on this.
      I’m SUCH an outspoken person that I’ve taken the opportunity to step back and fall on my knee’s seeking to only speak the words of God. (P.S: if you guys are curious, if you’ll seek HIS voice HE’ll just keep on preaching to you. Although, often time’s I don’t like what he has to say. Quite Coffee. Submit to me. Fast Today. Submit to me. Write the sermon. Submit. Deliver the sermon. Lead. Submit. Pick up her peices. Put them back togethor. Read. Submit to me.)
      While I only did this b/c I was convicted by how ignorant I had been, and how wrong people could make me seem, I’ve learned how wrong I can be… and how perfect God is.
      So, Melody, my new-outspoken friend, Join Me… on my walk to speak only the words of God. Don’t seak inner peace- seak God and peace will come.

      Also, I’d like to nerdily point out that Mary and Joseph were from the line of David..who was from the line of Abraham..who were part of a sect of Nerdy Jews who’s entire family were crazily and radically devouted to God. Most of the OT prophets were from this very small sect. This Jewish sect kept there lineage and some of their texts survived all these years…(this sect is all converted completely to Jesus.. they converted pretty quickly post-rising-from-the-dead-and-all) and women and men were very equal in their church and family systems. Women were not considered less then.. they still had certain roles.. like Mary was still a traditional jewish SHM and Joseph still was a carpenter. But, she was an equal to Joseph- both submitting their wills to God.. Jesus likely shared many of his views with them and also saw women and men equally.

      Also, in the early church (post AD 70) there was an extreme shortage of gentile men to lead all these gentile churches..so for lots of church history, women simply stepped up and lead. Matter of fact, some of our most prosperous, loving, peaceful, and growing time periods were in time’s of persecution where the women were forced to lead.

      Reply
    • thanks for reading, melody. yeah, it’s hard, and i’m in the same boat, so many think i’m pissed off all of the time 🙂 the truth is that whoever speaks out against the status quo will be labeled that way. i do think there are gentler ways but i also believe that we have to come at it with strength and courage because no matter how we do it, there will be criticism. it’s why we need each other so desperately in this conversation, to band together and support change together. i hope we get to meet in real life some day!

      Reply
  • Very inspirational Kathy! Well said! One thing I know for sure in my quest to find a church home is that I will not invest in a church that doesn’t allow women to teach, preach and to be in leadership. And it isn’t so much because that is what “I” think is right, it is because I believe strongly that that is what Jesus wants in the church. And your right…”it’s good for men too.” Thank you Kathy!

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    • thanks for reading, laurie. i think your stand is what will change things, if many others join you. there will still be many systems that will never change, but new healthier ones will emerge if people start to plant them!

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  • Fantastic! I especially love that both your daughters AND your sons are a part of this. I feel the same way. I care about women’s issues because I have two girls, but ALSO because I have two boys, and I wholeheartedly believe the Margaret Mead quote, “Every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.”

    And like you, I want to see the Church lead in areas of equality & justice rather than coming late. That continues to be my prayer.

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    • thanks for reading & sharing. yeah, glad that it benefits 100% of the population 🙂 can’t wait to hang out in april!

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  • Thank you, Kathy! I have grown tired of a church that relegates women to second class status. Also, I too often hear Christians who denigrate the women’s liberation movement, even consider “feminist” a bad word, and yet enjoy the benefits it brought to both women and men. I blogged about some of the things we now take for granted that feminists fought long and hard to obtain. (Like you, I was a day behind on my post :)).

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  • I love this quote: “the church should be the leader of restoring dignity and equality, instead of dragging along behind.” Most churches I know wait until people are jumping ship, when they should be leading the charge.

    I value women’s liberation because I work with refugee artisans whose gifts, interests and education are seen as less than the men in their culture. It’s made me more sensitive to how women in my own church culture are viewed. Christ’s gospel clearly changes the value scale–he calls us to really SEE the marginalized, including women, the poor and others.

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    • thanks, jessica. yeah, the leadership thing is big. we need a lot more courage in this area but the reason why people are scared to is that it means loss of money, people, and power. a lot of people with money & power don’t like equality so they take their $ with them when they leave. God, help us be less afraid to do the right thing!

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  • I wholeheartedly agree with and affirm you in this! I’m finding a small but growing number of men like myself who recognize that we need to stand with our sisters in affirming and fighting for their equality in the culture as a whole and particularly in the church. If I could, I’d give you a high-five!

    Reply

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