Evangelical Christian women naturally want to be "biblical" women. Yet there is a deep-seated divide in evangelical circles amongst women regarding what "biblical womanhood" specifically looks like. One camp (the "Fearlessly Feminine"), argues that biblical womanhood is characterized by Calvinistic theology, complementarianism (male headship in both the home and Church), and Western, stereotypical expressions of femininity. 1 Another camp (the "Liberated Christian Women"), argues that biblical womanhood rejects complementarianism as patriarchy, and endorses feminism or egalitarianism (interchangeable gender roles in both the home and Church), and a missional view toward oppressed groups like women. This latter group often maligns Western, stereotypical expressions of femininity.
In this series of post, my incredible wife Osheta reflects upon her: a) encounters with both groups of Christian women; b) the values she appreciates from both groups; and c) where her journey has led her to now—which is not to identify entirely with either camp. She calls the journey she's on "Third Way Womanhood."
"Third Way" is a designation that has accompanied Christian groups that have traditionally been related to the Anabaptists. The Anabaptists were a third way, distinct from both the Magisterial "Reformed" Protestants and the Roman Catholic Church. For preaching radical loyalty and obedience to Jesus over and against the State, Anabaptists were persecuted by both Protestants and Catholics. Nevertheless, Anabaptists were peacemakers. They sought to live out the nonviolent and reconciling Way of Jesus. Osheta is an Anabaptist at heart, and it shines through in her writing.
I'm really proud of Osheta for not only evaluating both camps on their merits and giving them a fair hearing, and not only for writing a highly accessible yet compelling set of posts on this subject, but most of all for making her love for Jesus and others the central interpretive lens through which she expresses her understanding of biblical womanhood.
If you are a Christian woman who does not buy into either the "Fearlessly Feminine" or the "Liberated Christian Women" camp wholesale, and you place above all else your love for Jesus and others, you will not only love Osheta's posts—you might be a Third Way Woman!
1. Here, "Western, stereotypical expressions of femininity" can refer to things as trivial as the association of the color pink with girls or women. This can also refer to the association of women with crafting or Pinterest. While women in the "Fearlessly Feminine" camp are likely to have no objection to such associations, women in the "Libertated Christian Women" camp are likely to object.
Theological Graffiti is a blog written by T. C. Moore @tc_moore ...a Jesus-disciple, husband, father, Associate Pastor @NewCityChurch of Los Angeles, sometimes web designer, writer, and theology geek. For more about me, visit my Personal Website or my Online Profile. Otherwise, enjoy the graffiti.