In Matthew 5 Jesus gives his infamous sermon on the mount. As a crowd draws near, he sits upon a mountainside and begins to preach. It's easy for all the blessed's to blur together; for this to be perceived as a simple encouragement for those discouraged. However, the words Jesus preached during his sermon on the mount were never meant to adorn Thomas Kinkade cards; they were meant to be a battle cry.
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Jesus was a fully emotive human being. He was both mighty saviour and man, above this world and yet part of this world. He may have lived the perfect life, but that did not mean that his life was perfect. He was the perfect example of how to live in an imperfect world. He cheered on his friends, he challenged people to be better, he inspired people to bring more good into this world, and he wept. He felt every beautiful, wild moment of life on earth completely. He felt every heartbreak, every ray of sunshine, every single nail.
In Matthew 3, we visit John the Baptist. He was a total hippie, living in the wilderness of Judea. He preached repentance and baptized people in the Jordan river. Jesus went to him to be a baptized, and when he did, the heavens opened.
If you're like me, you may now be looking at the nativity set you have on display for Christmas, with the distinctly male magi figurines, and wondering, "how did we miss this?" Once again, there is no question about it: women have always been there, active participants in the gospel… Read More!
Matthews account of Jesus' genealogy traces the line through the male descendants, as was genealogical tradition. However, peppered throughout are the names of women; few and far between, but equally important to the story. Let's learn about them… Read More!
“God would never have granted women a voice if he intended for them to remain silent. God knew that Adam, and our world, would need the voice and influence of women. There is a lioness within every one of God’s daughters and it’s time that she awakens.”
- Lisa Bevere
I once wrote that something had shifted in the atmosphere, and it had; but I was too scared to act on it. I sat in uncomfortable silence, not knowing all of the answers, fearful of what I might discover if I searched. I have stayed quiet for the last two years.
Last weekend as I walked in the woods by my house, it hit me: by staying silent in the face of injustice, I was choosing the side of the oppressor. I had the answers at my fingertips, so I leaned into the uncomfortable silence, and where I expected to find a safe landing, I was met with a free-fall. I stood alone in the midst of God’s perfect creation, heartbroken over a new revelation:
Some of the religious institutions I support are perpetuating the notion that women do not have spiritual leadership authority. They are contributing to the belief that feminine wisdom is somehow corrupt; that the voices of women are less important than those of men. That we are not equal children of God, all beloved.
I was crying, feeling stranded and angry; this was never God's dream for us.
I know without a question that God supports the leadership of women. Not only did Jesus allow Mary a space at his feet to learn alongside the men, but he first revealed himself after his resurrection to two women, trusting them to go preach the good news. This is the God I learned about as a child; this is the Jesus whose feminism resurrected my faith.
And yet, the church continues to fall back on old teachings that belittle the authority of women. Teachings pulled out of context, and old testament laws that Jesus redeemed. If Jesus was meant to live the perfect life, and in doing so he empowered women to use their voices to share the good news, then why are we still fighting antiquated rules that bare feminine wisdom?
The problem with all of this is that I am not a theologian. I'm just a girl with a bible and a very well-loved copy of Sarah Bessey's Jesus Feminist. I have stayed away from really speaking about this publicly out of fear that someone will bring up a verse and I'll be at a loss. But here's the thing:
When I was crying in the woods, Steffany Gretzinger's 'Out of Hiding' came on my ipod. I was ready to call Jon and tell him I was done with church, with my podcast, with everything. I was exhausted and defeated. But then the bridge played: "you're almost home now, don't give up now." I heard the roar of a lion; the unwavering courage of the lamb of God. It felt as if God was saying to me, "you are on the precipice of something great. You're almost there, don't give up."
We're almost there, we cannot give up. With our eyes fixed on the heart of God, we can tackle oppression and patriarchy and come out victorious, because He has already won the battle.
In light of this, I am excited to introduce to you the launch of "Out of Hiding: A Feminist Bible Study.”
We will be starting in the New Testament, Matthew 1:1. We are going to go through the Bible book by book, chapter by chapter, and pull out all of the knowledge we can that pertains to the roles of men and women. I'll be doing contextual research and will bring in extra references to help us shed as much light onto the scripture as possible.
Each Friday you can go to my website, www.alexandralydia.com to read the latest devotional from this study. We'll go over the chapter, what we have learned from it, some questions to help prompt further consideration, and end with a prayer. We are launching this Friday, November 16th! You can sign up for a newsletter to have each week’s study sent to your inbox directly by CLICKING HERE.
I am excited for this journey and to see what our incredible God reveals so that we may be better equipped to dismantle one of this world's final strongholds of patriarchy: religion.