It’s been two years since my first book, Jesus Feminist, went out into the world. Since that time, I’ve been given the tremendous gift of meeting women from all backgrounds, temperaments, and callings all over the world who are rising up in leadership. I have so much hope for the future of the Church because of these women. There are so many ways to be a Jesus Feminist and so many ways to create space for justice and wholeness for women – as I said in one chapter, some of us are called to the front lines while others are called to background resistance, some are called to bold confrontations and others to subversive influence. But we all have important work to do.
And today’s guest post is from a bold young woman on the front lines of articulating and advancing egalitarian thought and practices – Jory Micah. Jory burst onto the blogging scene this year with a fire in her bones about seeing the Church working fully in an alliance between men and women – as she calls it “breaking the glass steeple” – and she hasn’t relented. She’s taking on injustice and bad theology with every post with deliberate and unrelenting passion. She’s headed into enemy camp and is intent on seeing women healed and set free in Jesus’ name. I’m happy to welcome her to my space here today as a way to introduce you to her and her work.
I remember it like it was yesterday. My girlfriends and I giggled and gossiped as we slipped on our sparkling red dresses, carefully curled our hair, and lined our lips. It was our senior year and we were getting ready for our last high school Valentine’s Day dance. My brood of girlfriends practically lived at my house. Most of them came from broken families and found comfort under the wings of my “very Christian” home.
Mom and dad bought an old victorian mansion when I was about 9-years-old. They spent years investing into the over 100-year-old home,and by the time I was 18 the home was exceptional enough for Victorian Homes Magazine to ask my parents if they could feature it. We were far from wealthy, but my hometown reeks of brokenness, poverty, and depression; so perhaps we seemed wealthy.
I went to public school most of my life and my high school was the one “on the wrong side of the tracks.” “Prexie Land,” we called it. A “prexie” is a “little president,” but we were more like “little mischief-makers.” Although my cheerleader friends and I were nicknamed the “church girls,” we didn’t do well with turning the other cheek at that point in our lives. If a girly-girl was going to make it in prexie land, she was going to have to toughen up a bit.
Prior to the Valentine’s Day Dance, one of the girls in our group caught wind that her boyfriend was cheating on her with a girl from another school. Those are “fightin’ grounds” in prexie land and we were not about to let this girl get away with it. Us “church girls” challenged this girl and her friends to meet us in the Walmart parking lot after the dance. We stuffed our duffel bags with prexie sweats and athletic eye black, grabbed the hands of our boyfriends, and headed to the dance.
Twenty minutes before the dance was over, all eight of us went into the bathroom, changed into our sweats, put eye black on our faces, and pulled our hair back in ponytails. It was go time. We grabbed our boyfriend’s hands and headed to my mom’s mini van (our ride for the night). As we drove to the Walmart parking lot, we blasted the song “Rollin'” by Limp Bizkit and got ourselves pumped up for our first real fight.
When we arrived, there were about a hundred teens from three different schools waiting for us. They were all there to watch the big “cat fight.” One by one, we spilled out of my mom’s minivan, ready to show our town how the “church girls” roll. “Yes, we love Jesus, but ain’t nobody gonna mess with our men” was our clear motto. We knew it was wrong deep down inside, but we were kids defending our territory.
My girlfriend who was the one getting cheated on began to fight her new enemy. It was most certainly a “girly-girl” sort of brawl, but still intense. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see another girl running towards the fight to gang up on my friend. Although I was just there for moral support and had no intentions of actually breaking a fingernail, I was not about to let any of my friends get ganged up on. Somethin’ fierce came over me and without thinking I ran as fast as I could and jumped on the girl’s back. She threw me off her back and that was the end of that, but it stopped the whole fight.
Now that I am 31-years-old, my girlfriends and I get together and laugh about that night. I know, I know, we were bad kids, but we were also good kids, full of love and protection for one another. As a Jesus feminist and an egalitarian blogger, I can’t help but see the symbolism.
It is not easy being a Jesus feminist in the evangelical world. Many women have left evangelicalism because they were tired of fighting for equality, they were over feeling like they are “less than” men, and they were sick of their gifts being overlooked because they were born a girl. I get that more than you might know and understand that some are called to leave the evangelical church, but if we all leave how will things ever change?
Yes, us Jesus feminists are most certainly dwelling on the wrong side of the church tracks and many have misunderstood us “church girls” as “mischief-makers,” but now is not the time to back down from this fight and give up. It’s time to throw our Bibles in our duffel bags, let go of fear, join forces, and drive to the “enemy’s camp” to take back what He stole from us.
Our battle has never been against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12) so no need to break a nail, but we are fighting the enemy of our souls – which is Satan Himself. Only the Devil would want to silence and limit half of Jesus’ Church and He has twisted scripture to do it (Mark 4:1-11). It is time to smarten up ladies and gents. How did Satan try to stop Jesus’ mission out in the wilderness? He took scripture out of context. But Jesus knew the Word better than His opponent and answered with “It is also written…”. We must take the time to learn the Bible in correct context because the Bible is our sword of truth (Ephesians 6:17) and it is our greatest weapon in this fight. The only thing more powerful than education is Jesus, making an educated Christian an unstoppable force.
Men and women of God, it is time to fight against the oppression of God’s daughters in the Evangelical Church and we do this by proclaiming the truth in love, refusing to be silenced or moved, letting go of fear, protecting and championing each other, and accepting anyone who loves Jesus into our cause despite their struggles. God is forming an army of Christians who will no longer accept any so called “biblical teaching” that limits people based off their gender, race, social status, struggles or disabilities (Galatians 3:28). Do you not see? Our power against the enemy is in our oneness.
Any division within the body of Christ causes the Church body not to function properly. When women are held back in anyway due to their gender, half the body is not functioning as it was designed to function and we all suffer. How many women with the gift of teaching are not teaching men and women in the Church? There goes one of our hands. How many women who were gifted to lead both men and women are not being permitted to lead? There goes one of our feet. It is imperative that we fight for gender equality in the Church or the Church body will slowly die.
Do you feel the Spirit drawing you out of captivity? Do you see a ray of sunshine peeking through? Do you hear the voice of Jesus calling you to run towards freedom? God has unlocked the shackles of limitation and the chains of oppression. The prison gate is wide open. Be brave enough to leave all the darkness, lies, and confusion behind. No matter the cost, it is worth it and you do not have to run alone.
For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. -2 Corinthians 3:17
Jory Micah Peterson was born and raised just outside Pittsburgh, PA where she now resides with her husband, Luke and their pet chihuahua, Noella. She holds an AA from Christ for the Nations Bible Institute in Practical Theology, a BS from Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Church Ministries, and an MA from Regent University in Christian Doctrine and History. Jory is an experienced Bible teacher and speaker who is passionate about seeing women become all that God has called them to be in the Christian Church. She is currently working on her first book and blogs about “breaking the glass steeple” at jorymicah.com. Find her on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube @jorymicah. She can be found on Facebook at “Jory Micah Ministries.”
And check out Sarah Bessey's critically acclaimed new book, "Jesus Feminist." “I’ve read countless books addressing the place of women in the kingdom, and I have never, ever read anything so lovely, so generous, profound and humble as Jesus Feminist. If you’re expecting anger or defensiveness or aggression, move on. If you are looking for intelligence and warmth and spirit, read this immediately." - Jen Hatmaker, author of "7: A Mutiny Against Excess" and "Interrupted"