Functionally, the series of posts to more specifically define feminism (Part 2 onwards) will end up blogging through the book The Feminist Gospel. It will present summaries I compiled from the book of certain basic ideas which I can see readily expressed in modern Churchianity, and then my commentary on those ideas. My commentary will be in red. The book as a whole is much more detailed in both religious and secular interests, and if you can locate it, I suggest it as a good read.
Defining The World
Having described the assertion in feminism that each woman has the right to define her own existence, this will describe the next assertion of feminism. This is the assertion that women has the right to define the world. The assertion of the “right” came from the proposition that “men had secured power for themselves by claiming the authority to decree meanings.” (1) To secular feminism, this led to the complete re-evaluation of different academic disciplines and experiences in light of the female experience. (1) This led to changes in several things such as language, literature, psychology, medicine, the practice of motherhood, sociology, politics, and sexual relationships. (2) The validity of any of these evaluations were based solely on whether women practiced and approved of things in the past. (2) The results that we have been given out of this re-evaluation are well known to those who have experienced them. Gender-neutral language, the glorification of femininity and the demonization of masculinity, the view of motherhood as oppressive and housework as an exploitative job, the view that women are better leaders that grew out of the demonization of masculinity, and the normalization of homosexuality (between women) grew out of this feminist drive to define the world. (2)
The results of these things should be readily apparent to the sharp observer. The favoritism placed on women over men in the work place is a derivative of these goals. Also, the favoritism of girls over boys in public education come from such things. As implied above, this re-definition also initiated the concerted effort of women in society to eliminate masculinity, and marked the beginnings of Marriage 2.0 advocacy. We also see the beginnings of the homosexual rights movement, since feminists believed and prized the “woman-centered woman”, or lesbian over others in the feminist movement. The intent of the feminist homosexual rights movement can be seen as well in the derision of the “male-centered male” in this regard and the praising of lesbian unions in the secular media.
This woman-centered analysis of the world entered the practice of theology among religious feminists as well. Letty Russell and Rosemary Radford Ruether suggested the complete interpretation of all of Scripture with the sole standard of the experience of women, with the goal of the liberation of women. (3) Naturally, this deviated markedly from traditional Biblical doctrine and interpretation. (3) Mary Daly’s presupposition of the dynamic revelation of Scripture through personal experience was adopted, with the mind that the Bible was a tool that assisted people to understand how God worked through history to free the oppressed. (4) This meant only Biblical texts which spoke to the contemporary view of liberation were valid, and texts could be challenged, revised, or discarded based on the experience of the female theologian. (4) These women ultimately ascribed more value to their personal interpretation of God than God’s recorded revelation in Scripture. (4) They did not believe that they were deviating from Biblical truth, but furthering Biblical truth by their experience. (10)
Here we have the beginning of the complete redefinition of historical Christian faith (right and wrong), into the feminist image. If you ever wondered why certain Scriptures are preached while certain others are ignored, here you go. We have the end goal of worldly liberation which is expressed in all the base doctrine of most of Churchianity these days. Since fleshly and worldly messages are desirable to the base nature of men, we have the easy acceptance and even furthering of such things in the average Churchian environment today.
Letty Russell described God as the ultimate liberator. (5) She believed that the Bible did not present an immutable plan for liberation, but that messages could be drawn out of the Bible reflective of the culture. (5) Russell further described the view of universality, the idea that God’s plan for the world provided a promise of God’s utopia for all. (5) Christians were only one of the groups involved, no lines were drawn between Christian and non-Christian, no divisions made between sinner and saint or redeemed and condemned, and God’s promise was believed to come to all people. (5) The goals of the individual believer was described as attaining a new humanity or becoming a whole human being, consciousness raising, and the development of a “new community”. (6) These things were substituted as the definitions for salvation, conversion, incarnation, and communion that were the standard Biblical goals of the believer. (7) These definitions were urged to be revised to cease “pointing backward to some once and for all event in the past”, and become instead “paradigms of the liberation which takes place in the here and now.” (8)
Here, we have the complete annihilation of any distinctions of will before God. The call of independence and rebellion against God is sounded. In light of this doctrine, you have fostered the lack of respect towards Scripture, the transformation of the teacher or preacher as a Dr. Phil or Oprah figure and not a representative of God speaking His will, and the ending of any distinction of salvation. The end goal of life becomes a worldly occupation, where people are encouraged to chase after the things of the world and the indulgences of the flesh. In this doctrine, we have the development of the competing seeker-sensitive methodologies, which build a god idol around the idea of worldly secular community.
In redefining the faith to reflect their experience as women, they left no doctrine unturned. (8) God’s purpose was redefined to assist humans to realize liberation. (8) Jesus was redefined as a representation of the “foretaste of freedom” promised to all. (8) Sin was defined as the presence of oppression, since the absolute view of right and wrong was considered unacceptable. (9) Salvation was defined as freedom from oppression and liberation in community with others. (9) Church was defined as the people of God, open to the world, whose existence was to be the servant of the process of liberation and overthrower of oppression in society. (10) The view of end-times prophecy changed as the belief of liberation would enable a new humanity and bring about the new age of God. (10)
I think this paragraph speaks for itself. It’s why you don’t have any admonition or standards-setting in Churchianity today, except for anything that’s considered “divisive to community” which is more properly defined as opposition to the organization.
As well, feminists searched history for a “usable past” for women, which provided a model of matriarchy. (11) Religious feminists paralleled this search, looking for “seeds of hope which would justify their loyalty to Christianity.” (11) “Phyllis Trible argued that the female dimension of faith … had been lost through centuries of Biblical male authors and interpreters.” (12) In searching “back into Biblical and ecclesiastical history”, it was argued that they could find “the hidden evidence of the contributions of the church ‘mothers’ to the life and mission of the church.” (12)
We begin with the supposition that fleshly men, and not God defined Scripture. The assumption is made that the contributions of women are whitewashed in the background so they either need to accentuate the ones already there or invent them.
In performing this task, feminists have already defined that they could not accept any interpretation of Scripture that didn’t support the liberation of women. (13) However, it didn’t specify what they could use the Bible for. (13) Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza proposed that the rules of suspicion, rememberance, proclamation, and creative actualization be used in feminist interpretation of Scripture. (13)
Suspicion presupposed that since the Bible was written by men, it could not be trusted, and therefore the reader could raise questions regarding the validity of the author’s interpretation of events. (13) For example, under suspicion, the account of Jezebel and her female deities is softened because of the perception of misogynistic jealousy and fear placed onto the writer of 1 Kings by the feminist. (14)
Proclamation said that those verses which proclaimed liberation for women should be actively proclaimed (14), while the texts identified as patriarchal or sexists should be removed from lectionaries and not proclaimed. (15) For example, John 8:36 would be shouted from the rooftops, but Ephesians 5:22 would be ignored (15):
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22)
Remembrance encouraged women to locate the suffering of women in the Bible and draw feminist meaning from it, whether valid or not in the context of the Scripture. (15) This served “to heighten women’s bitterness, anger, and disillusionment with God and the Bible. (16)
Creative actualization encouraged women to “read into, embellish, or augment” the Biblical text (16), with the view of “reclaiming for Church women the same imaginative freedom, popular creativity, and ritual powers the male prophets and apostles possessed.” (17) This encouraged women to rewrite Biblical stories about women, reformulate patriarchal prayers and create feminist ritual celebrating feminine ancestors mentioned in Scripture. (17) For example, the existence of “Lilith” in the Genesis account is an early creative actualization. (17)
We can see readily the presupposition that a woman’s intuition, thoughts, experiences, and perceptions are placed above even God Himself. We also see the intent that women (and men too) want to get messages out of Scripture that they want to get out of it. In essence, they desire Scripture to conform to them, rather than to conform themselves to Scripture. Feminist Churchianity has now declared its full independence from the authority of God
(1) The Feminist Gospel by Mary Kassian p 71 (2) ibid page 72, 74, 76, 78, 80, 83, 87.
(3) ibid page 89. (4) ibid page 90. (5) ibid page 91. (6) ibid page 92, 93, 94.
(7) ibid page 94. (8) ibid page 95. (9) ibid page 96. (10) ibid page 97. (11) ibid page 109.
(12) ibid page 110. (13) ibid page 111. (14) ibid page 112. (15) ibid page 113.
(16) ibid page 114. (17) ibid page 115.