As someone who was once trapped by a theology that often demeans, dismisses, and degrades women, then backs it all up in the name of God, I understand the hurt, pain, and confusion it can cause. Once I began to research the Bible for myself, it didn’t take long to realize that perhaps the degree in religious education I received didn’t truly educate me in the real meaning and intent of Christianity after all.
What brought about this drastic shift of faith and theology? What disrupted and destroyed almost twenty-five years of ingrained doctrine and belief? It happened gradually, but eventually I started to recognize something: all my life, I had been instructed to keep quiet. To remain silent. When injustice occurred either to me or right in front of me, I was told to shut up, stand down, and stop talking by those who were under the very mistaken impression that it is ever okay to silence the abused. Sadly, far more often than not, this behavior happened within the setting of a religious church or its affiliated ministries. The recent hashtags on social media are an excellent example of men and women shining a light on this type of abuse (see comment below).
The one thing I especially started to notice in the Bible is Jesus never silenced or minimized the vulnerable, the oppressed, the outcast, or the abused. He went out of his way to defend, minister to, empathize with, and heal them. I want a faith that looks like the hands and feet and love of Jesus. I want a faith where I can contribute like Mary or Martha or Phoebe or Junia without being punished by those in positions of religious power. I want a faith where, with God’s help, I don’t have to be afraid of taking a stand and, finally, breaking the silence.