Monday, September 18, 2006

The long road up from where I've been...Part One

I'm a feminist. These days, everyone is. My feminism is a journey over the mountain and through the woods right back home to grandma's house. Literally. Well, literal in a figurative kind of way. This is the story of my Feminist Bent and how it showed Jesus to me.

Ten years ago, my Feminist Bent (let's just call her Mabel) was a reaction. She was a fierce little knee-jerk response to That Guy. Do you know him? He's the man propelled by some hard-working invisible engine to keep everyone inside the lines wherever he goes. He's the teacher in my Christian school who accidentally taught me that women don't ask questions in Bible class. He's the Christian who uses "Women's Issues" as the ultimate litmus test of Orthodoxy. I've always known him. Everywhere I go, he goes, too. Sometimes, he brings a few feeble-minded females along with him and together they preside over the Kingdom of Superfluous Prudence and Unnecessary Discipline. Lately, I've noticed my ability to pick him out of a crowd and I wonder how much of that is wisdom and how much of that is Mabel on the warpath. I'm not sure.

Mabel probably cost me a lot of second dates with a lot of the RUF boys who asked me out in college. Suffice it to say that I'm pretty okay with that.

Mabel and I continued along together until I found myself out of college and back in Birmingham. I started going back to the church of my youth and joined the Swingles Group there. I saw That Guy everywhere and I realized that he was the only available candidate on the marriage market. I decided then and there never to get married, but I also started to put my hand over Mabel's mouth in Sunday School. She's patient, though. She waited me out. Ironically, enough, all Mabel needed was the love of a good man, and when I married my Prince in 2003, Mabel was my maid of honor. (Now, she's Mabel Lewis-Smith.)

Mabel had a growth spurt when I became a wife. I realized that That Guy had taken away the beauty inherent in caring for a family and loving a husband well. A wise woman told me just last week that women love and care for people automatically. It's just who we are. But when That Guy takes advantage of us, we trade what God gave us in exchange for self-protection. It's a sad thing because it robs our entire community of the strong feminine influence it needs to function well at a basic level. My wise friend made eloquent the rudimentary musing I'd been chewing on for years.

I realize now that That Guy is the reflection of Evil in our society. Not that he's the devil, but don't you know that Satan can get inside our heads and ride our sin around like a tricycle if we let him. That Guy is as manipulated as manipulated can be. Satan has never been a big fan of women. In fact, Satan has attempted to destroy us since the we've had the word for "woman." You don't even have to believe me, look around. The city is full of destroyed and exploited women.

But I'm starting to realize that underneath the Sauron-like gaze of Evil, Jesus works in the lives of women in this city. Silently, his helpers move like the mice chewing Aslan's ropes to make a better place for the battered and abused women of the world. And through them, he works in me, too.

...more about that later. The laundry is calling my name.


amanda said...

I like this. And I'm pretty sure I know Mabel.

This reminds me of one of the talks in the marriage series that Gordon did at church. He talked about how so many women come into marriage with a lot of distrust and resentment toward men because of the very things that you've written about here. I think it's very true. And it will be interesting to see the monsters that come out from under the bed if God sends me a husband.

susan said...

It's good to face those monsters. It's Jesus bringing it to the surface to set us free from it. D. is patient and kind and it's like chapstick for those really cracked chapped lips I used to get in the winter when I'd spend all day at the barn.

Marriage is best ointment for burned psychological skin. I wish that for you. :-)