Today’s Huffington Post article features Sinéad O’Connor’s explanation for having shaved her head in the ’80s. After reading the article, my response is: “It’s sad that men drive women to such measures & more.” Let me expound what I mean and also confess the sins of condemning Christians.
The ultra-conservative (socially and religiously speaking) often look down upon feminism and feminists with astounding contempt. Likewise, the same graceless sort often despise and condemn the Fantines of the world in a Javert extraordinaire fashion. Please don’t misunderstand me. I do not wish to stereotype anyone. As the Downton Abbey character Tom Branson says, “I don’t believe in types. I believe in people.” And, I am also not saying that sins and poor decisions are without their natural and relational consequences. What I am saying is “blaming the victim” is conduct unbecoming for the biblical Christian.
Let me put it in other ways. Prostitution and human traffic would nearly vanish if it weren’t for men who selfishly abuse the dignity of others. The right to vote would not have been such a historically contestable thing, if men did not tend toward egotism and male chauvinism. Some, perhaps a lot, of the “fight” and masculine toughness of women comes from a survival mode of life. Though some give up and give in when limitations are placed on them, others proportionately turn the taunts into a drive to achieve. Treat a human, let alone a woman, like property and rebellion will be the result. Allow me to go to another level by saying a hijab and burka are “blame the victim” to absurdity. I mean, really! You can’t control your lust problem, so you make a woman efface her general shape and even identity–her face?! I make no apology for saying these sort of men have big problems.
Applied to the church setting, women are often marginalized based on commonly misinterpreted passages of the Bible (1 Cor. 11:5, 14:34; 1 Tim. 2:12). These passages are misinterpreted as a result of their being lifted out of original, historical context and due to a lack of word study in the original languages, apart from “tradition-steeped translations.” Accordingly, a pendulum swing has been occurring in denominations over the past 20 years or more, which otherwise may have been avoided if churches had been biblical instead of cultural and denominational traditions. Most conservative evangelicals and fundamental evangelicals stammer at the realization Philip the Evangelist had several prophet daughters (Acts 21:9). They choke to consider a woman can be a deaconess and/or active laborer in the gospel ministry, worthy of receiving honors like the Apostle Paul gives (Acts 18:26; Rom. 16:1-3, 7; 1 Tim. 3:11-12; 1 Tim. 5:10; Phil 4:3). And, they fall down twitching to know that Jesus had ministering women traveling with him (Luke 8:1-3). Women have the Spirit too (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:14-17). The sexes are heirs together of the grace of life (1 Pet. 3:7). In the church, there is no race, class, or gender inequality (Gal. 3:28); there are only roles and responsibilities (1 Cor. 11:3-16; Titus 2:4) which means the man must love and lead first & love and lead like Christ–a high calling, which reflects back the the beginning, when Adam should have loved and protected Eve self-sacrificingly instead of passively treating her like a spiritual guinea pig, so he could either watch her kip over or blame her later (Gen. 3:6-7, 12).
So, let’s be honest, men and Christians. If you don’t agree with feminism and feminists, perhaps you need to own the “monster” you’ve helped make. Quit blaming the victim and start taking responsibility for protecting women and furthering their dreams & desires and “rights.”
I say these things while raising a few caveats. Some women have more drive and ambition than most men; and I affirm selfish ambition and “out-to-prove” attitudes are never right for anyone, but especially for women whom I observe to be generally “better” than men in social and relational graces–as if designed to be the shining tiaras of humanity (Prov. 12:4; 1 Cor. 11:7). Neither am I making void Christian arguments for the sanctity of all human life by this article. Moreover, the Miley Cyrus, in-your-face bad girl is not what Sinéad O’Connor was about (according to Sinéad’s own words), and is certainly not what this article defends. There is a difference between the feminism which is just and virtuous and the Miley Cyrus type who work toward devolving the dignity of humanity, especially the dignity of women.
IN the matter of feminism, and in most other matters of social injustice, those who point the condemning finger are often the secret cause.
Women in Ministry by L. E. Maxwell – This title is a God-sent expose of both the prejudices and misunderstandings of Scriptures which touch on the role of women in the church and women themselves. The book revolutionized my understanding of the way God has used and would use women for His Kingdom’s sake. Mr. Maxwell strips away fear, repression, and uncertainty with balanced, lucid, and accurate teaching. A must read for every Pastor and every woman’s man! Sure to encourage any Christian lady toward passionate, confident service!