When I hear or see someone threatening to violate the boundaries of one of my dear ones, I feel ready to suit up Joan of Arc style, mount a draft horse, and storm said violator's yard with a jousting spear under my arm.
Even though, truth be told, I am not really sure what I would do once we got there. Sit there awkwardly on the horse, I suppose. Maybe wander aimlessly until the horse decides to take a crap on their porch, and then cantor away feeling semi accomplished.
I should... figure out a better way for that scenario to end.
Meanwhile, though, that "suit up" feeling is constantly a flicker in my gut, waiting anxiously to take flame whether I'm in the mood for it or not.
I can not even sit through a sweet little small group meeting, these days, without squirming in my seat (I feel certain it is visible squirming) and even voicing little noises of discontent when I hear something being said that I cannot reconcile with my value system.
How many times have I longed to be one of the sit-quietly-and-listen personality types!
And I think pregnancy has made it temporarily more intense than ever.
One of my dearest friend's reasoning was something to the affect of, "Well, we have the Holy Spirit (so, God) living inside of us, plus God is in there knitting that little one together and dwelling inside of him. So it's kind of like you have double God! No wonder pregnant women cry! I mean, sure sure, hormones and all that, but you are walking around with double God!"
Either way, there is just no avoiding who I am.
I've been thinking about women oppressed by patriarchy. I know that sounds like something our culture has outgrown, but honestly, I don't think it has. It might not be as blatant, but it is something that I do see perpetuated a lot in Christian sub-cultures.
Whether it's more prevalent in the south, I really don't know. I have seen it in many denominations. Scripture used to keep women in a place of believing that all men are born to lead and all women are born to follow. Submit.
It makes me crazy. Yes, Paul tells wives to submit to their husbands, but he then tells husbands to lay down their lives for their wives as Christ did for the Church. He doesn't say "rule over your wives as Christ rules over the Church." Nope. And then he goes on to tell everyone to submit to each other lovingly. That means women submit to men. And it means men submit to women.
There is no hierarchy.
Even in the Old Testament, God is constantly elevating those deemed lesser by society to a higher status.
So many stories sound unfair to the women and incredibly harsh, until we understand the culture and that every other option she could have had would have been worse. God did not condone the worse conditions, nor did He desire for the new standards He was elevating society to to become society's stopping place. He never condoned those standards as a stopping place, either. He is constantly still elevating those looked on as lesser than. Because He made no lesser thans.
The last time a man with the "men are leaders" mindset found it impossible to control me, my mother had this to say about it:
"Poor guy. He doesn't know a thing about the line of women you come from. My grandmother's family told her that she couldn't go to school because it was culturally unacceptable, so she left Czechoslovakia by herself and hopped on a boat for America to go to school.
You know how feisty your grandmother is! When my dad told her that a woman's place is in the home, she went right around him and got a job. He never said another word about it again.
And on your Dad's side, your grandma pretty much did what she wanted... and her mother's nickname was The Battle Axe.
And your middle name means Warrior.
That man has no idea what he is up against."
Yep. Women in my family are fierce. We were made and nurtured this way. It hurts me to think that so many women have been pressured into laying aside who they were made to be - and worse - that they were made to think that who they are is displeasing to God.
Scripture calls a wife her husband's "helpmeet".
This has been used (like much of Scripture) to tell women they are there only to be a helper to the men. To do their bidding.
And grossly misinterpreted.
"Helpmeet", as it turns out, means "The help who opposes". That a wife is to help a husband when she sees he is doing right, and to oppose when she sees he is doing wrong.
That sounds fair. I would expect that out of my husband in return.
I am beyond grateful to have a husband who not only cringes as hard as I do when we hear a male friend say, "Well of course I would take her thoughts into consideration." (Seriously? You get to consider and then decide? And we're supposed to call you a hero for at least considering her thoughts?), but who also welcomes and appreciates opposition from me.
We will not move on a decision until we can both agree.
He is not susceptible to poorly researched church rhetoric regarding what our relationship should look like.
For this, I am Thankful.
If any of you know a girl up against patriarchy who needs a little extra ferocity, I'll be happy to share some.
These days, I've got plenty to go around.