You have a beautiful table, and there are those seated who embody compassion and humility; those men build prayers of thanksgiving within me. I’m grateful for a great many men firmly rooted in using their seat at the table to speak Jesus and to be Jesus. A few of these men are here, here, and here, and they fill me with hope; they are using their position of privilege well.
After my eyes lock with the numerous men I love and respect, I continue to gaze at this wide and lovely table of yours; I’m struck by the absence of something quite profound. The women who carried each of these men in their wombs? They aren’t seated alongside them. Not only that, but there is no room for them.
The women who brought you into this world are rejected from the very table they’ve made possible, and so it will be for their daughters and granddaughters. This is why we need feminism.
Yet, many men who sit at the table say, “There is room if you affirm equal value, yet different required roles. We want you here, you belong here too, but just not in the way those with our anatomy belong here. It’s God’s design, not ours. Take your frustrations up with Him.”
I’ll stand by the table and tell you directly, Sir, that isn’t good enough.
It’s also not acceptable to pull up a folding chair for a woman, on the occasional day in which you are feeling progressive or generous. Offers to give an occasional Sunday sermon or to be the token female on a predominately male board will not be seen as a blessing; we will see them for the crumbs they are.
As we decline the crumbs, we’ll ask God over and over, why is this so difficult? Why will so many men not engage us fully, as we are? Is it true that when we conform to their desired gender norms, we become most valuable? Why will so many women shield us from a table that belongs to them too?
We beckon the Holy Spirit to make our place ready at the table, and the Spirit confirms that which we already know; our place has not been made ready. And so, we feminists continue to talk about Jesus and to be Jesus while the others fuss over the rearranging of the furniture.
For those of you intent on patrolling the gates around the table, enjoy your walk.
For those of you who say that feminism is a push for power and cry for attention, enjoy your protest.
For those of you feeling ignored by feminists, because you don’t agree with what we promote, nestle those earplugs in a little deeper so they continue to their job.
If, however, you think that Jesus creates whole women, ready and able to serve and love those in His Kingdom, in every capacity, then I urge you to listen. Invite us to share our stories, partner with our visions, and examine how a history of patriarchy, inside and outside the church, has made feminism necessary.
You’ll find us hanging out around your table, talking about Jesus and justice and hope, and when you’re ready, we can’t wait to sit down with you and build this Kingdom life together.