Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"You were not saved to be silent"

During the last month or so of school someone I love dearly said to me in a casual conversation, “So you’re a feminist then?” I’ve used the word to describe myself on numerous occasions, but this was the first time I’d heard the word used in a way that wasn’t entirely positive.
 And I am, and before that moment I would have proudly used that word to describe myself, but in that moment I hesitated. And I wish I hadn’t. I wish my response had been a loud and roaring yes. Yes, I’m a feminist because I believe women are people. I feel the reality of sisterhood all around the world inside of me and I can’t silence it, or look away. Women are being mistreated, abused, violated and wronged every single day and I can’t look away, or pretend it isn’t happening, or go back to my daily life where I eat lunch and drink coffee and am not profoundly moved in a deep way that all around the world women are being mistreated simply because they are women.
 And maybe I have some radical views on women in the church, and marriage and motherhood, rape culture and modesty. Maybe that makes me wrong. But if this is wrong, I don’t want to be right. I don’t want to stand by while women are being victimized all over the world. I don’t, in any way, want to bring myself to be part of the problem instead of part of the solution.
 Right now blog posts by amazing women authors and teachers and leaders who I respect are filling up my newsfeed, talking about ISIS and how it is brutally violating our women. And I can’t go back and eat my lunch and drink my coffee after reading about 9 year old girls being sold for as much as it costs to buy a pair of shoes, or mothers being separated from their children. My heart screams that we must do something, because when will we realize that women aren’t property but people? When will we stop destroying our most precious and valuable? When will we stop telling women that unless they are with a man they are nothing, that the only worth they have is the worth he assigns them?
 Years ago a fire was lit in my heart, a fire that burns bright and strong with a passion for women. I became determined not to live the rest of my life as a victim story.
 My dear friend wrote a post a while ago about how she’s gotten to where she is today only because she stood on the shoulders of giants. She wrote that she didn’t know why she got to be one of the lucky ones, but she did.
 I never thought of myself as one of the lucky ones. I know firsthand why we need feminism, why our world needs to adopt a way of thinking that reflects the idea that women matter, and I know the devastating consequences that it can have when even one woman believes she’s not worth it. But sitting here today, surrounded by so much love, finally thriving in my life and not just surviving, in my little house with my coffee, I realize I am one of the lucky ones. My life was never easy, but I made it. I am continuing to make it every single day.
 And with privilege comes responsibility. And I refuse to be silent about the things that matter, about the injustices happening around the world and in our own neighborhoods to mothers and daughters, sisters and friends and human beings. I was given a passion for women, and their stories, born out of the depths of my own story, and I refuse to sit down and do nothing.
 I feel things too deeply. And I feel this strong and steady like a heartbeat. My heart beats for women, for precious and valuable human beings for whom the world doesn’t know their worth. My heart aches and weeps over the injustices happening all over the world, and just down the street, to my sisters.
 I want to be a part of the people who shine like candles in the darkness, making a difference and speaking out about the things that mattered. I may be taking his words a little out of context but a teacher of mine this year always said “You weren’t saved to be silent.” I was not rescued from darkness to sit and let others stumble around in theirs.
 If I could go back to that conversation with my friend, when she asked if I was a feminist instead of hesitating I would say yes. I would say yes loudly and clearly because I believe women matter. If I could go back to every moment in my life where I didn’t reflect that thought, I would. I want to live out a life that reflects the idea that people matter.
 It all started with the radical belief that I mattered. And now I hear the heartbeat of people all around the world echoing my cry: We need to know we matter. We need to create a world that treats people like they matter.
 How can we be silent?
When we don’t belong to each other, we participate not only in the devastation of the world, but a desecration of the image of God"

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