Blowing Up Evangelical Baggage

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Last week I wrote about my excitement for Sarah Bessey’s new book Jesus Feminist and how she was coming to speak with my women’s group: Preach it Sisters. Two of my favorite activities that Sarah is doing to promote her book are a community photo project and a synchro-blog.  One of the synchro-blog prompts is to explain why you chose what you did for the community photo project. Here is my rendition. Please note, I am writing about women because that is mainly who I work with. I am in full support of men being Jesus Feminists as well!

I blow up evangelical baggage for a living and I’m a Jesus Feminist. And the more baggage I blow up the more I realize how much we need Jesus and Jesus Feminists.

Seeing women the way Jesus does will radically change the way men and women engage the world.

As a coach, I work primarily with Christian women who come to me when they want to manage their time better. They want to honor God with their time AND feel like they are living with some intention.  Their choice to work with me might also involve making a big decision, finding a more fulfilling career, getting healthier. They want encouragement, accountability and results.  We work on these things, they get new jobs, they get fit, they make decisions; all these things happen.

But I keep discovering again and again that underneath the indecision, the lack of motivation, the fear of failure (or success) they are steeped in evangelical baggage.  It’s not their fault – and most of them don’t even realize they are living this way. They are living the “Biblical” principles they have been taught: principles surrounding how women should behave – that they should be supportive side kicks not leaders, or Sunday school teachers not pastors. Some are living straight up lies such as the idea that thinking good things about your self is equal to sinful pride. I’m sure their parents, their churches and their pastors meant well but somehow in the midst of it all the way Jesus sees them is lost.  The results: guilt, shame, inability to love themselves, and the belief that there is a very specific, narrow way God (and fellow Christians) want them to live as women.  It has left them thinking about themselves in ways OTHER than the ways Jesus thinks of them.

What happens when we embrace the Jesus Feminist in us? What happens when we believe this notion that women are people too? Or when we believe that Jesus is calling all of us to a life where God makes the call on our worth, our skills, and our vocation? Sometimes it takes a little work to wade through what we have been taught. Sometimes we have to blow up our evangelical baggage. What happens when we do this and women live as Jesus sees them? Here is a sampling from my work:

*She preached her first sermon even though she didn’t really want to call it a sermon because she wasn’t so sure about women preaching or her gifting as a ‘speaker.’

*She came to the conclusion that she doesn’t need to be perfect even though she is a pastor.

*She figured out that she was a great writer and it isn’t prideful to admit you are good at something.

*She decided to quit her “good Christian job” and take evening classes to pursue the field she is really interested in: stand-up comedy.

*She realized she needs major therapy after a traumatic journey into first-time motherhood.

*She decided that she wanted to marry the woman she loved and that she was ready to tell her Baptist pastor parents about it.

*She owned the fact that being a stay-at-home mom was where she really wanted to be.

Without even reading the book (yet!), they became Jesus Feminists by accepting the radical way that Jesus was calling them to the truth that they are not only people but they are beloved women created in God’s image.

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