Brenda’s Response to Q’s About Her Talk

The other day I posted some quotes from a talk my wife, Brenda, gave on Feminism, Femininity and Faith at a Christian woman’s conference. One of those quotes was:

“There’s a vision for the future to combine femininity and traditional beliefs. Until we woman believe that it’s never going to happen.”

Rachel, a lesbian Christian, then asked:

“I’d really love to know what Brenda’s referring to by ‘traditional beliefs’.”

Here is Brenda’s response:

“When I say traditional beliefs I am validating the idea that if you find yourself as a wife/mother (specifically talking about a heterosexual relationship here, as I was at a Christian woman’s conference, but I think it would work in all relationships) I am okay with being one with the concept that in a Christian home the man is the head of our household. Now let me clarify that in no way means we are subservient to our husbands rules and we have no say within the direction of our home, our values, our worth, our goals, and our desires as women. I understand from my experience in business and within the field I am that there has to be a structure to your organization and in some ways from a very organic/big picture perspective a family is like an organization there has to be a structure. I believe that until we as women understand and strip away the negative meanings behind what traditional values and beliefs mean we will never be able to embrace the concept that we are equal partners in the decisions we make within our relationships. Men require certain (lets say need) encouragement from women in order for them to be successful. Maybe it was one of God’s humorous attributes to make men insecure and in doing that God recognized in His divine wisdom that men needed a “help mate” an equal partner to be there along his side to make sure chaos does not occur. We are to be a balance to one another. We as women need to celebrate our uniqueness and the attributes we bring to a relationship in order to balance it.

My best friend taught me how to humbly appreciate the stay at home mommy who studied a traditional female field (education). I never personally looked down on her because I loved her and knew her worth as an amazing women who has touched and blessed many lives, but I will admit I would place her out of the category as an exception because she was my best friend and judge the rest of the women within this non-career, non-feminist, category as women who did not understand the struggle and fight we as strong, feminist, career oriented, highly educated women must do in order to pursue equality. But watching my best friend and her interactions and the lives she touches every day in her place of significance I realized that we as women simply beat each other up over definitions and meanings of what is traditional beliefs or traditional values.

I believe we look so negatively on these words because we have allowed a male dominated society and patriarchal “Church” culture define what these words are supposed to mean and we as women have turned them into negative messages which we thought were supposed to unify and inspire us to keep fighting for equality but reality we have played right into the hands of the male/patriarchal society and “Church”and allowed it to divide us as women. The unifying message that was supposed to make us angry and push us forward has actually played into our insecurities of judging one another and trying to place all women into categories of who is better than the other.

As single women, women within relationships and partnerships, we still must find our strength in understanding the uniqueness we posses as women. That we must encourage one another with one single unifying voice that we are talented, we are beautiful, we were all created in God’s perfect image to play a significant influential role in where we find ourselves. We need to encourage women in all walks of life and not find ways to divide and judge. We as women have allowed ourselves to become over sexualized in the name of a new found femininity, but our femininity should not be defined but what our bodies look like or what we can do sexually to our partners. We need to teach this next generation to embrace what makes us different from men, what makes us successful as women, and it’s okay to follow and have traditional beliefs or values of what a partnership is within scripture. We need to understand what our legacy will be to the next generation of young women. No you do not have to be married or follow what is deemed “appropriate” by church or society and you can still be used in great ways to where ever you feel God has called you.

All this to say that I am secure in who God made me, what He has called me to do and be, the talents He has blessed me with, the goals I have accomplished, the professional success I have had, the high education I have received that I am okay with saying I am a feminist with traditional values and beliefs. I embrace the concept that within a relationship there is a partnership where you have one general and one second in command (I don’t know the military term for the second in command). They have equally important positions vital to accomplishing the mission or task at hand in order to guarantee its success. They equally discuss the plan of action and challenge one another for the best outcome. The general may deliver the message but the two of them together lead their team. That team maybe your family, your mission, your office, your calling, your relationship, your partnership, etc.

I am strong, I am beautiful, I am talented, I have been on a long journey to be able to love all women in all different places which all have equal significance and influence. We need to love one another for what we were created to be and not believe those are hindering descriptions but rather uplifting celebrations of how to live this life in the most significant and Godly way.

So women I am curious what are your thoughts?”

Much love.

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  • Well, I do have some thoughts. Last Sunday, I worked inventory at a Family Christian Stores location. After my Cliffs’ Notes version of why I dislike Sarah Palin (her book is on sale in the store, much to my dismay), the conversations moved over to feminism and I was told I was a sinner for rejecting traditional gender roles since they’re spelled out in the Bible. Because of that conversation, I’ve started seriously wondering whether I’m too liberal for Christianity since it seems like no matter what I support, the Bible always has something that can be pulled to call me a sinner. Any advice for dealing with this? I have another inventory for a different FCS store in the area coming up and I’d really like to have something to help defend myself if the topic comes up again.

    • I will be sure to have Brenda post some of her thoughts on what you wrote. And as for the CFS, I was told by one of them that my book was, I quote, “Red-flagged because it has ‘gay’ in the title.” So no, you’re not too liberal for Christianity. If using the word ‘gay’ or disliking Sarah Palin were the metric for what constitutes a Christian, the faith would have a wwwwwwwhhhhhhoooooolllllleeeeee lot less people 🙂 My general rule of thumb is that Jesus invented the come-as-you-are-culture; and it is now our job to live that out. Claim the name of ‘Christian’ and ‘Jesus’ and live them out how they should be; not how other’s think is acceptable.

      • Gabrielle

        “Jesus invented the come-as-you-are-culture; and it is now our job to live that out. Claim the name of ‘Christian’ and ‘Jesus’ and live them out how they should be; not how others think is acceptable.”

        Amen to that.

  • Amy

    I am convinced that if Jesus was physically alive on the Earth today, He would be considered a “liberal” by many modern-day Christians. (Simply look at those He spent time with and who His heart of compassion was compelled to help while He was on Earth.) The body of Christ is made up of many different members. There IS a place for you within Christianity. Know that and be confident that the Father LOVES you and WELCOMES you, despite what some of His other children may say.

    As for how to operate within a situation in which you feel opposed or attacked by other Christians, simply acknowledge that within Christendom, there are essentials to the faith that we must agree upon (i.e. Jesus as the Son of God, Jesus as Savior, etc.), and then there are non-essentials to the faith that we must agree to disagree upon (various doctrine, views on the second coming of Christ and tribulation, etc.). While some may be driven to pick fights or react rudely or disrespectfully, you can choose to respond in peace and decline to engage in interaction beyond the realm of respectful dialogue. Agree to disagree when necessary. There is room at the table for ALL who believe in Him!

  • Amy

    NOTE: I failed to specify that my previous reply was a direct response to Catherine.

  • Ron Graves

    Andy, you are SO out of your league with your wife…and I mean this in the most wonderful, complimentary, redemptively possible way!!!Bless God Brenda for your abiltity to articulate succinctly the heart of a great deal of our challenges in relationships, marital and otherwise, and clarify what many of us stumble over repeatedly, mainly, our own perspectives that somehow can’t get past our limited experiences and dare I say, prejudices. I love ya already and we haven’t met (yet!) Keep on Sis, you rock!