• Has Radical Feminism Failed Our Women?

    It seems today that radical feminism is assumed as correct. Now I do think that feminism has brought good changes to our society that I, as an Evangelical Christian Pastor, can wholeheartedly agree with and applaud. But it does seem that some secular women are arguing against radical militant feminism because it is not offering the kind of life that they want as women.

    A case in point is Rebecca Walker. She is the daughter of Alice Walker, prominent feminist and author of The Color Purple. Here is how Rebecca describes her experience of her mothers radical feminism:

    I was raised to believe that women need men like a fish needs a bicycle. But I strongly feel children need two parents and the thought of raising Tenzin without my partner, Glen, 52, would be terrifying.

    As the child of divorced parents, I know only too well the painful consequences of being brought up in those circumstances. Feminism has much to answer for denigrating men and encouraging women to seek independence whatever the cost to their families.

    My mother’s feminist principles coloured every aspect of my life. As a little girl, I wasn’t even allowed to play with dolls or stuffed toys in case they brought out a maternal instinct. It was drummed into me that being a mother, raising children and running a home were a form of slavery. Having a career, travelling the world and being independent were what really mattered according to her.

    I love my mother very much, but I haven’t seen her or spoken to her since I became pregnant. She has never seen my son  –  her only grandchild. My crime? Daring to question her ideology.

    Here is how she describes being a teenager under her mother’s “care”:

    A neighbour, not much older than me, was deputised to look after me. I never complained. I saw it as my job to protect my mother and never distract her from her writing. It never crossed my mind to say that I needed some time and attention from her.

    When I was beaten up at school  –  accused of being a snob because I had lighter skin than my black classmates  –  I always told my mother that everything was fine, that I had won the fight. I didn’t want to worry her.

    But the truth was I was very lonely and, with my mother’s knowledge, started having sex at 13. I guess it was a relief for my mother as it meant I was less demanding. And she felt that being sexually active was empowering for me because it meant I was in control of my body.

    Now I simply cannot understand how she could have been so permissive. I barely want my son to leave the house on a play-date, let alone start sleeping around while barely out of junior school.

    A good mother is attentive, sets boundaries and makes the world safe for her child. But my mother did none of those things.

    Although I was on the Pill  –  something I had arranged at 13, visiting the doctor with my best friend  –  I fell pregnant at 14. I organised an abortion myself. Now I shudder at the memory. I was only a little girl. I don’t remember my mother being shocked or upset. She tried to be supportive, accompanying me with her boyfriend.

    It seems to me Alice Walker was raising her daughter in line with her radical feminist principles. But I think we can all agree that a sexually active girl at 13 who at 14 has a self organised abortion shows that bankruptcy of this kind of radical feminism.

    Rebecca Walker than closes this piece with a devastating critique of radical feminism:

    The ease with which people can get divorced these days doesn’t take into account the toll on children. That’s all part of the unfinished business of feminism.

    Then there is the issue of not having children. Even now, I meet women in their 30s who are ambivalent about having a family. They say things like: ‘I’d like a child. If it happens, it happens.’ I tell them: ‘Go home and get on with it because your window of opportunity is very small.’ As I know only too well.

    Then I meet women in their 40s who are devastated because they spent two decades working on a PhD or becoming a partner in a law firm, and they missed out on having a family. Thanks to the feminist movement, they discounted their biological clocks. They’ve missed the opportunity and they’re bereft.

    Feminism has betrayed an entire generation of women into childlessness. It is devastating.

    But far from taking responsibility for any of this, the leaders of the women’s movement close ranks against anyone who dares to question them  –  as I have learned to my cost. I don’t want to hurt my mother, but I cannot stay silent. I believe feminism is an experiment, and all experiments need to be assessed on their results. Then, when you see huge mistakes have been paid, you need to make alterations.

    I hope that my mother and I will be reconciled one day. Tenzin deserves to have a grandmother. But I am just so relieved that my viewpoint is no longer so utterly coloured by my mother’s.

    I am my own woman and I have discovered what really matters  –  a happy family.

    It seems to Rebecca Walker at least that radical feminism has failed our women.
    Make sure you read the whole article here.

    Rebecca Walker has also has written two books on feminism:

    To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism

    Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence

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  • When Poor Preaching Destroys the Biblical View on Gender

    Every few years there is a debate on the gender roles in Christianity. This is a good and necessary discussion to have.

    It has been said by complementarian Male pastors that a lot of women feel forced to step up into a role that they don’t feel comfortable taking on because the men in that role are doing a poor job. This idea was confirmed to me by Clare Smith, a woman with a PhD in New Testament. This is an excerpt from her book God’s Good Design:

    I have never felt that I have nothing to contribute. Because of this, as well as being convinced it is not God’s will for me to do so, I have never felt the need to teach the Bible to men or to be a leading elder in a church. I have had to ask myself if I wanted to do so — because invitations have come — but making the decision not to do so has not been a difficult one. I realize this is not always the case for some women who say they feel ‘called’ to those ministries.

    My decision has been difficult only when — if I can be brutally honest, brothers — I hear inept preaching from a man. I do not mean your average run-of-the-mill preaching, where the preacher loves the Lord and loves his word but there is something lacking in the power or passion or application of that word. I mean preaching where the clarity of God’s word is obscured, or where error is proclaimed as truth, or where the preacher preaches himself and not our wonderful Saviour. It is then that I feel the rub of the different God-given responsibilities of men and women that prevent women from preaching to mixed congregations.

    Of course, I realize the pride inherent in such a complaint. And I realize it is not only women who struggle with poor preaching. But perhaps this is a good place to remind those brothers who are preachers that you serve your sisters, in a way that you do not serve your brothers, by being the best preacher you can be — because if there is no lack in the pulpit, your sisters will be less tempted to want to fill it.”

    Clare Smith God’s Good Design pg 230-231

    Does that sting?

    One of the biggest questions I get asked about what the Bible says about gender is “What if a man sucks at preaching/leadership and there is a woman that is better?” Great question. The answer is not for the Bible to be thrown out but for men to step up and lead and preach well.

    Pastors’ are you tempting women to enter into unbiblical roles for them because you aren’t preaching or leading well?

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