Chrisitan feminists are diverse: conservative, progressive, churched and unchurched, pro-life, pro-choice, gay and straight, men and women, Republican and Democrat, Catholic, Penecostal, Baptist, and more. Despite differences, they all have one thing in common — they believe in equality for women in all aspects of life and the church, which they also believe is biblically based and part of God’s design.
Haley Gabrielle is a current graduate student at Yale Divinity School, where she is focusing on the New Testament and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. She is a non-denominational charismatic Christian who grew up knowing that the gospel of Christ does not discriminate, whether by gender, race, or sexual orientation. As a biracial woman, she is passionate about racial justice and intersectional feminism. She is a co-leader and blogger for Christians for Biblical Equality’s chapter Voices of Color (CBE-VOC).
Haley first realized that gender inequality was still an issue in Christian communities when she was in college and found herself a member of a church which did not allow women to be pastors. Since then, she has been researching, writing, and speaking about biblical support for women and the LGBTQ community. She is in the process of applying to PhD programs in New Testament, where she hopes to continue studying biblical passages with feminist and queer analysis. One of her goals is to encourage people, both scholars and lay Christians, that they do not have to choose between belief in the Bible and feminist and LGBTQ advocacy.
NOTE: Haley is of the three Student Paper finalists at the recently concluded CBE International 2017 Conference!
Be sure to follow Haley on Christians for Biblical Equality Voices of Color, and read some of her blog posts! CBE-VOC CBE-VOC TWITTER
We first learned about Leah by reading her guest article,To My Black Complementarian Family, on Jory Micah’s site. Here are some of her captivating words in regards to her response to complementarianism as a black woman.
“You prescribe to what you call “biblical manhood and womanhood.” You believe that men are the leaders in God’s kingdom, while women are called to respond and support men’s leadership. I know that, for you, this belief is closely linked to the Gospel. However, as a black egalitarian woman, I find your theology concerning; not only from a biblical standpoint, but also from the historical stance of many black Christian women.
The catalyst that moved me to contemplate all of this is Harriet Tubman. She was recently chosen to be the new face of the $20 bill, and I rejoiced that a woman would be so honored, let alone a black Christian woman! Then it dawned on me that if Harriet had followed your theology, she would have spent her life trying to be a “biblical woman..
The world would have missed out on her awesome testimony and the power of God. “
Leah loves Jesus and is an evangelist at heart. As a Black Christian woman, she feels compelled to help heal the wounds caused by racism and sexism within the church. She uses her writings and poetry to bring light to the issues of injustice against women and people of color from a Christian perspective. As a wife and mother of five (ages 10 down to 3 months- can you believe it!), she spends a lot of time working in her community on the parent school board. She is currently “unchurched” but actively teaching her family Christian egalitarian values.
Leah says, “God’s heart from the beginning was for men and women to rule together as equal partners and for them to have direct communion with Him. Jesus came to reconcile us back to God and back to each other in right relationship. Jesus came to free the oppressed, among whom is a world full of women and girls. Christian feminism just makes sense. God doesn’t make us choose between faith and freedom; He is calling us to both.”
Be sure to visit Leah on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, & TWITTER! @ Sheismissleah
Ruth is a life-long Jesus follower, former complementarian & now egalitarian & Christian feminist. She’s passionate about “empowering & releasing women & girls to use the power of the Holy Spirit & the authority given them by God at Creation to join with Jesus in the work of redeeming His fallen world”. She says “there is one head over all of us, and that is Jesus Christ”.
Ruth tells us her evolving story: “I grew up as a pastor’s kid in a complementarian Baptist church and never questioned my patriarchal worldview until I had become an adult and the subordination began. Growing up alongside the boys in my church, I had been a leader among my peers, but as we shifted to adulthood, my voice was silenced, my influence was diminished, and I began to recognize for the first time the sexism in my culture. When I initially began to question complementarian doctrine, narratives and directives, the negative responses from my fellow believers kept me from rocking the boat. — until God spoke directly to me that He wanted me to co-pastor with my husband. Suddenly, social pressure and maintaining the status quo didn’t hold me back. I studied the issue of women in ministry with freedom and experienced great excitement and wonder as I learned from egalitarian theologians and pastors for the first time. It was one “Aha!” moment after another and I felt as though scales had fallen from my eyes.
Three years ago, my friend Becky and I were having impassioned conversations about the subjugation of women in our society and the world, and we had the idea to start blogging about the things we observing and learning. That is how our blog, The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors, came about. We were writing, vlogging, and seeing good fruit from our efforts, but it soon became too much for Becky on top of working full-time and being pregnant with her third son, so I have been carrying it on my own in the meantime.
My passion is learning about God’s will for both men and women to serve together as strong partners, without hierarchy and with equal authority, and to share what I am learning with others. The task of redeeming a fallen world is immense and we need to empower everyone in the Church to participate in Jesus’ holy work of healing and setting things right. The Holy Spirit gifts us regardless of gender, and we need to have freedom in our churches to utilize our gifts and pursue our callings. The brokenness caused by patriarchy is far-reaching and tragic and therefore, I am passionate about teaching gender equality to my Christian brothers and sisters.
The Beautiful Kingdom Warriors
TBKW is a place for redemptive dialogue on gender roles in the Church, to raise awareness of injustices worldwide, and to grow into the callings God has for us.
Read some blogs Ruth has written about Christian feminism:
Since being a feminist isn’t something widely accepted in the Christian community, Sierra only recently revealed she’s a Christian feminist. Sierra is introverted, semi-conservative, a deep feeler, a blogger, a sexual abuse survivor & worship leader. She desires to help women break free from religious traditions that silence them & leaves them powerless. Sierra is fast becoming an outspoken advocate, you can find her active on Twitter and social networks. She manages along with other advocates, popular Facebook pages for dialog for Christian feminists and egalitarians, and a website Ezer Rising.
Sierra is introverted, semi-conservative, a deep feeler, a blogger, a sexual abuse survivor & worship leader. She desires to help women break free from religious traditions that silence them & leaves them powerless. God has called her as a social justice advocate for injustices against women. She manages a popular Facebook page for Christian feminists to discuss Egalitarianism from a Christian perspective.
Sierra was in foster care until the age of five and was sexually abused for years as a child. She refuses to refer to herself as a victim of abuse but a conqueror. She has a desire to speak out against sexual abuse toward women and children, and wants to change how society sympathizes with predators instead of victims while speaking out about how our culture exploits women. Sierra hopes to bring healing and hope to victims of sexual assault and see programs started to re-train the way perpetrators of sexism and sexual violence view women. Sierra would love to see more men fighting for equality for women, and “minimizing the excusing of bad behavior”. Like many women, she knows we live in a society that leaves women feeling scared to walk outside alone, where women feel the need to go to public rest rooms in groups (because, safety is in numbers), and where she says “blame shifts from sexual abusers to women for “being drunk” or “wearing a short skirt”.
Sierra has been told throughout her life (in not so many words) that when she had a husband she would be able to part of a church leadership team. She now attends a church that invited her to help with a church plant and as part of the leadership team – of which she didn’t need a husband or “covering”. She currently is leading worship for her church in Harrisburg, PA, appreciating her pastors who fully support equality for men and women in church, marriage, and society. She desires to bring freedom to women whom religious tradition and oppressive theology has kept them silent in church — those who’e been told they can only serve in women and kids ministr, and “womanly things” like craft nights. Sierra believes God has gifted women with the same gifts as men – preaching, teaching, prophetic, apostolic, and evangelistic. She believes the Bible fully supports women preaching and teaching to men, planting churches, and making disciples of all nations.
Eugene is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and was a full-time pastor for over twelve years before working as an activist for women’s and girls’ rights. He’s now a content writer, blogger, and public speaker whose feminism is driven by his faith and his experience as a dad to two young daughters.
He writes: “The Christian male privilege of which I speak is subtle yet pervasive. It’s the way that American evangelicals often teach boys and men to dream of doing big things for God and to have a huge impact for good in the world. Christian girls and women, from what I’ve witnessed in nearly 40 years of church life, don’t receive half as much encouragement to do the same”.
You can read more about Eugene and his adventures as a dad of a girl atFeminist Asian Dad
or follow him on Twitter @eughung
Ashley is an extroverted millennial Christian, Writer, Speaker and Abuse Victim Advocate. She is a quirky-minded, Jesus-enthused, budding world changer, and a recovering people pleaser. Passionate about loving Jesus and partnering with her husband in bringing Christ’s truth to the world by advocating for gender equality, educating the Church on abuse, and promoting truth-seeking expeditions. Ashley is an emerging voice in the Christian feminist movement in bringing awareness to abuse issues within the church. She said, “I didn’t know that no one is immune to abuse and that it can happen to anyone no matter your age, race, sex or social background. I didn’t know that abuse doesn’t stop at the church or that it is alive and well in many of our Christian communities.” It’s why child sexual abuse has been the number one reason Churches or Religious Organizations have ended up in court.
She is also founder of the The Courage Conference, The Courage Conference is a non-denominational event that will offer a judgement-free place for survivors of abuse (and those who love them) to gather and hear inspiring stories from other survivors, as well as how they are finding healing and moving forward in boldness. It will also educate pastors and church leaders on how to prevent abuse, and how to respond when it happens.
Learn more about Courage Conference and more about Ashley:
Often times serving as the only or first woman and/or woman of color in several of her leadership positions, Khristi realized that it was a part of God’s call in her life to advocate for women, girls & racial justice. Khristi is an ordained Pastor with American Baptist Church USA, a speaker, author, filmmaker and playwright, and also a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary.
Khristi was fortunate growing up in a Black Baptist church that embraced women’s leadership. Yet, when she stepped out into the world just prior to joining seminary where she would pursue her passion to be a pastor, she faced a wake-up call when man at a conference asked her what she’d be pursuing in seminary. When she told him about her plans to be a pastor, he directed her to a scripture in the gospel of Timothy — most likely 1 Tim. 2:12, one of the troublesome handful of scriptures about women’s roles (egalitarian Christian theologins challenge the intepretations of such scriptures). It’s the scripture when Paul says women aren’t allowed “to teach or exercise authority over a man”, but must “remain quiet.”
Thousands and thousands of churches espouse such theologies– these scriptures are at the heart of religioius patriarchy and the oppression of women and girls in our country and world.
Be sure to view her website and learn more about her work as a filmmaker and playwright, pastor, speaker and author!! We just love Khristi’s powerful work and grateful for her participation our photo outreach project.
Meet Shirley in this week’s Christian feminist photo campaign. Shirley is a blogger, author, and advocate for Christian women’s equality in the church and home. As a self-proclaimed street evangelist, Shirley reaches those who go to church and those who don’t with the message that women are equal – no buts. She says, “When patriarchy is taught in churches, it bleeds out into homes causing children and wives to suffer.”
Her newest book Raising the Hood: A Christian Look at Manhood and Womanhoodhas just been published and is available on Amazon in print and on Kindle. Here’s how she describes the book: “Biblical manhood and womanhood are code words meaning that men are to rule the church, their house, their wife, and their family. We are not First Century people and we cannot be held to those restrictions of male hierarchy. So here we are today with seminars, blogs, books, movies, sermons, discussions, Bible studies, etc., extolling God’s so-called grand design of manhood and womanhood. Outside the church, Monday through Saturday, women are equal. How long do you think it will be before women decide that they are also equal on Sunday and in their own homes?”
Twitter – @bwebaptist www.bwebaptistwomenforequality.wordpress.com www.bwebaptist.com See her other books at amazon.com/author/taylorshirley
Kimberly is a preacher and teacher. When discussing race, she says “when any discussion of race can occur, we must first ask whether or not the places we choose to worship affirm our humanity. Theology must speak the language of the believer, so how language gets used in your church is significant….She says “Reject the ‘whitenization’ of the biblical text. Art, media, and popular culture have a long history of white-washing biblical characters and their respective geographic locations”. (read more of her thoughtfu blog on How to Use the Bible to Talk About Race
Kimberly believes Divinity is present in all human beings, in every expression of humanity. She also believesin the priesthood of all believers. As a liberal Christian by way of Catholic, Baptist and United Church of Christ churches, Kimberly firmly believes that if a woman could carry the Word of God in her womb, she can surely carry it in her mouth.You can learn more about Kimberly here and be sure to read more of her blogs.
Charlie is a 21 year old writer, activist, and college student. She is currently working towards a degree in Sociology, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Being a former complementarian herself, she has a passion for educating Christians in particular about gender, scripture, and feminism and how they overlap. Because the Christian Church (in general) has been taught that it’s bad to doubt or question tradition, she has made it a point to create a safe place for doubt at her blog. Charlie also hosts a Christian feminist podcast with abuse victim advocate and fellow feminist, Ashley Easter.
Charlie and her husband, recently married, especially planned egalitarian wedding vows! (her husband is one of her absolute biggest fans, He is a feminist himself, and they share many discussions on feminist topics.
They live in the south where there’s surely a Southern Baptist church on every corner, and not always easy to find other Christian feminists! Learn more about Charlie and where she blogs:
FOLA FOLAYAN is a Nigerian radio talk show host & broadcast media professional who’s feminism is driven by the desire to see African women and girls be given equal opportunities in education, and leadership. As a sexual abuse survivor, she actively writes & speaks out against gender based violence.
Fola is our first international participant in our Christian feminism photo campaign! FOLA is a Nigerian radio talk show host & broadcast media professional who’s feminism is driven by the desire to see African women and girls be given equal opportunities in education, and leadership. As a sexual abuse survivor, she actively writes & speaks out against gender based violence. Fola says “I am a feminist because I believe Jesus is a feminist. I believe Christianity is about equality, inclusion, love and justice.
We interviewed Fola about being a Christian feminist in Nigeria and her Christian background. Be sure to listen to some of her podcasts on her website listed below! She’ll surely inspire with her God given gifts! She shares answers to our questions:
1. Are Christian churches in Nigeria more complementarian or egalitarian? How is it for you to be a Christian feminist in Nigeria? Is Christian feminism accepted?
Christian churches in Nigeria are complementarian. Even most of the most ‘liberal’ pentecostal churches do not believe in equality of men and women and it is consistently preached and reinforced in the way women in ministry are treated. In Most Nigerian churches, women cannot be lead pastors, and some even believe a woman should not lay hands on a man to pray for him.
I must tell you that the entire concept of feminism in Nigerian society is treated with hostility by the majority of men and treated with suspicion by the generality of women. Christian feminism is not tolerated in churches because pastors have preached that Christian women cannot be feminists because “feminism disrupts the Godly leadership and authority of men”.
In the Nigerian church, women in ministry are usually allowed to take certain leadership positions only if they are married to pastors.
I used to be in a church where the senior pastor once preached that God created women as an afterthought. he said woman was created to serve man. I served in that church for about 10 years until i couldn’t deal with the bullying and the controlling nature of the leaders anymore.
You have to understand that the Nigerian church is a reflection of the Nigerian society. The Nigerian society is patriarchal, hence the church is. Single women are not allowed to take leadership positions except its to teach children, teenagers or other single women. In Nigerian churches, single women are constantly “prayed for” to get married and the pressure sometimes can be overbearing. Especially for the single women who are in ministry. It almost feels like marriage is a requirement for your calling to be acknowledged.
Very few Christian women in ministry will admit to being feminists even if they have the ideas. Too many have been conditioned to not rock the boat and too many believe a Christian woman should not be equal. Sadly, this is what is being told to so many young women in counseling sessions.
2. Have you always been a Christian? Can you tell a bit about your own Christian history in your family. Is your family accepting of you being a Christian feminist.
I was raised in an orthodox Christian home, raised by my orthodox christian grandmother who was introduced to Christianity by White Christian missionaries who came to Africa to establish churches and schools.
As I grew up however, we became Pentecostal and i was raised in children and youth ministry participating in Sunday school bible quiz competitions and choir competitions. As I got into the university though, I got saved and realized that Christianity is deeper than that. Over the years I would go through all sorts of trials of faith, drop out of the church, come back before I finally stabilized through God’s grace and mercy.
My family loves me and over the years, have come to accept my views. My mum and grand mum have lived too long under patriarchy to change their views I guess. They understand but they would rather accept things they way are.
3. What are your thoughts on Christian patriarchy?
Christian patriarchy hurts. It hurts because I KNOW that isn’t God’s plan for us. But Jewish traditions and wrong theology have been infused into christianity and we are where we are. How will it end? If more Christians are willing to study the Bible without prejudice and are willing to listen to the Holy Spirit.
Connect with Fola on Twitter @thefavoredwoman
Visit her website and listen to some of her podcasts!www.4lah.com
Nate is a blogger/advocate/ally and stay-at-home dad. His work is deeply influenced by feminist theory, focusing primarily on the intersection of toxic theologies and ideologies with systems of oppression, exclusion, and abuse.
Nate Sparks is a husband, proud father of three beautiful children, and a stay-at-home dad aspiring to engage theology and biblical scholarship in his spare time. He received his Bachelor’s from Judson University in Biblical Studies. His writing is deeply influenced by feminist theory, focusing primarily on the intersection of toxic theologies and ideologies with systems of oppression, exclusion, and abuse.
Nate’s blogs ‘spark’ thought provoking conversations – His daring writing originates from his intention “I have chosen to delve into issues many find bothersome or offensive.”
His own faith walk has turned him upside down and inside out from being someone whose self-confessed self-hate, he said, “turned into hate against anyone or anything I considered to be the “other”. Today, as a staunch advocate for the oppressed, he loves and embraces ‘the other’. He says, “I have come to the realization that setting out to expose a speck in another’s eye often reveals a plank in my own.” He’s the first to call himself on his former hypocrisy.
“It takes one to know one”– with a knack for self-reflection, he also has a keen eye for hypocrites leading in the church, and a knack for investigative reporting — provocative and thorough, his blogs expose abuse and hypocricy in the church. Be sure to take time to read his recent posts on the alleged abuses of Tullian Tchividjian, Billy Graham’s grandson, a former leading pastor and author.https://natesparks130.com/tullian-tchividjian/
Browe through his archives for may other very insightful writings.
You can learn more about Nate by reading these articles:
Meet Cheyanne a 23-year-old expat currently living with her husband in China. She works as a fulltime freelance writer and blogs on Christian Feminism at The Thistlette. She’s a former complementarian with an undergraduate degree from a Southern Baptist university in the Midwest. She has a master’s degree in Teaching English and cites her time teaching international students as the way God truly opened her heart to intersectional feminism and it’s place in the church.
Cheyanne grew up in the church, attended private Christian schools, was homeschooled, and eventually got her bachelor’s from a Southern Baptist university. Content to live in the easy realm of “biblical womanhood” that demanded she be gentle, quiet, and pure, she saw this as her main contribution to God until a combination of events began to open her eyes. She states, “I saw young women being disenfranchised from the freedom in Christ that male students were given. I saw hate directed at strong leaders who happened to be female. And I saw my own biases crowding out my ability to love women from other cultures, and even myself, like God loves us. “
Once Cheyanne saw the truth and freedom of women’s equality in creation and the equal duty of men and women in sharing the gospel, she never looked back, although it has cost her a few relationships. She says, ” if my Christian Feminism is able to tell just one woman that she is worthy, gifted, and free then it is worth it. ”
You can find more about Cheyanne here! Be sure to read some relevant blog posts below!
Rev. Oghene’tega Swann is the honored mother of one girl child, beloved member of the Beaver-Butler Presbytery(PCUSA), and pastor of Refreshing Springs Ministry, Aliquippa & Ambridge Pa. Her life is about devotion to God, one she describes resembling “telephone communications with my absent lover”..and “corporate worship is so much like His physical embrace! And so like David, I run to and I’m excited to go to the House of the LORD (Psalm 122:1).” She longs for “reunion, intimate moments and the desire to color the world with our love…I ache, pine and I’m listless if I have one without the other. I must have all of Him…And so I find that my individual time of personal devotions resemble I run to meet Him there (Matt.18:20), and to receive His physical embrace.”
She is also an inspiration and advocate for single moms. Oghene’tega says, “The world’s perspective and psychology of single motherhood perpetuates the curse of Genesis 3 by relegating single mothers and their children as bottom feeders. By embracing and preaching the full Gospel of Christ, the Church can correct this and give new life to those whom Satan would destroy by virtue of the curse.” hosts an inspirational program, “God’s Grace For Single Mothers”,devoted to offering encouragement and spiritual guidance to single mothers, posts vlogs for single parents. Here’s a recent one! The Problem with Single Parenting: https://www.facebook.com/GG4SM/videos/1771741796477130/?permPage=1
Simply stated, she says: “Gender inequality propagates the Genesis 3 Fall and curse, and impoverishes and excludes women from Christ’s redeeming. Being a Christian feminist means I preach the full Gospel, which rightly includes women in Christ’s redeeming work (Gal.3:26-28).”
Anne Whitesell is a dual Ph.D candidate in Political Science and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Penn State. She tells us she’s “a pretty outspoken feminist”. She’s also a devout Catholic – raised in a Catholic household (her father is a deacon in the Catholic church) and now she teaches religious education to elementary school kids in her free time.
“Welfare is definitely my speciality”, she says. Her research focuses on interest groups, lobbying & representation of marginalized groups (with a particular emphasis on marginalized women), & welfare policy in the United States. Her dissertation examines the influence of interest groups on state welfare policy– two prominent types of organizations involved in welfare reform were religious organizations and women’s groups. (She’s compiling a database of organizations).
She says as far as her own feminism is concerned, “I’ve been known to raise trouble when it comes to gender issues within the Penn State political science department. One focus is determining whether female graduate assistants are systematically getting paid less than their male colleagues.” Anne has been very active with a group of Penn State grad students trying to unionize the graduate students, where’s she’s spearheaded addressing gender issues. Penn State is known to have a problem with sexual assaults on campus; she’s been involved with trying to get the graduate student association to take a position on this important issue.
People who know of her “activist” side are very surprised to hear about her religious devotion!
Steve is a Christian, a Feminist & a Daddy, and sees no conflict between either of these three. He is probably not exactly what you would expect in a Christian Dad-blogger. He grew up fundamentalist, but has rejected the concept of a “Biblical Worldview” as fundamentalists describe it. Writing mostly about male privilege and Christian privilege, Steve takes full aim at the conservative church movement.
Steve’s primary goal is to write a parenting blog; however because American parenting often reinforces rape culture and unknowingly fosters abusive environments he finds himself applying his pen on feminist topics.
Steve spent about 12 years as a member of an ultra-conservative cult. As he unpacks what was stuffed into his brain, he finds that much of what is taught in conservative circles, right or wrong, creates a petri-dish environment for male entitlement, sexual aggression and secretive abuse. In his effort to raise his two daughters to be great women of God, Steve explores what it means to raise daughters with equality and liberation in mind.”
We appreciate his words at the heart of his writing: “Wouldn’t it be amazing if our daughters never had the idea to begin with that they belonged to another human? This requires social de-programming for a lot of dads who have been told that a woman’s body, person and sexuality belong to aman, her father, husband, king, owner, or clergy. Some man, but never to her. We must shake this entitlement mindset, and I’m convinced that starts with Dads.”
Be sure to connect with Steve and read more of his blogs: