At this week's Feminist Friday , Jennifer Hibben, a campus pastor at the Wesley Center and associate pastor for the Collegiate United Methodist Church, had readers approach the talk with open minds to challenge common held beliefs about Christianity.
This week's talk was about why Jesus was a feminist, an idea Hibben used biblical scripture and group discussion to open the minds of attendees.
In historical context, men and women are the binary of biblical works throughout Christianity. However, just as there are many things in the Bible and scriptures that seem outdated for current times given it’s apparent origin and publishing in 1611 of the King James Version, Hibben said the translated scriptures can extend to gender and sexual minorities as well.
In the time of Jesus’s day and age, many of the acts he committed were not only against the law but highly frowned upon within the Jewish community.
Hibben said the Bible teaches those following Christianity to attempt to be more like Jesus, so more should be attempting to act the way he did, to not only be feminist but push the boundaries and be anti-racist as well was bold.
“The church has actually been one of the major offenders in the lack of equality for women,” Hibben said. “Historically the church, scriptures and Jesus have been used to justify the inequality of women to harm the feminist movement, to demonize the feminist movement. That has some serious implications if we care about each other, if we care about humanity.”
During the discussion, Hibben gave examples of how to find an inclusive church. Ask if they have women in leadership, allow LGBTQIA+ to worship at their church and for their stance on immigration as well as any other things that are important to central personal beliefs.
“Any denomination or church that allows women in full leadership—they can be pastors, bishops, any level of leadership—have already wrestled with the difficult scriptures that try to subjugate women are the ones that are not going to have a problem with feminism,” Hibben said.
The discussion took place over the close examination of biblical texts from the New Testament in the chapter of Gospel which included: John 4, John 8 and Mark 7.
All of the texts featured some sort of crime, either by a woman’s adultery, or Jesus talking to samaritan and gentile women which were both seen as unfit by the Jews. In Jesus’s historical time and place the equality of women would have been extremely radical, according to Hibben.
“I want people to have the freedom and feel the right to have questions and doubts about religious traditions whether they’re their own or other peoples and that we can engage in meaningful discussion around it," Hibben said. "The point isn’t to have a five point argument on why Jesus is a feminist, it’s so that people feel that they can take away something personal from it.”