Follow footsteps, not doctrine

There's a story in the Gospel of Matthew about a woman who hemorrhaged for twelve years.

It's not typically one we pay much attention to.

Why would we? In it's entirety, this woman's story comprises three verses. As with so many of her female counterparts, she's unnamed.

She quietly slips into the scene and in a bold move, reaches out and touches Jesus' cloak, convinced that by doing so, she'll be healed.

In the days following my miscarriage, when it felt as though the bleeding would never end, I found myself thinking about this unnamed woman often. I wondered why she bled and pondered how her condition must have devastated her. I empathized with the loneliness I imagined she felt and wondered if she, too, experienced guilt over the way her body betrayed her.

I also marveled at Jesus' response to her: “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.”

He showed such kindness, compassion, and understanding to this woman.

Jesus Fem Quote5

Jesus' tenderness toward this woman – and dozens like her – is why I'm a Jesus feminist .

So often, we think of feminism as being about a woman's power and strength and to some degree, it is. But what Jesus shows us is that being a feminist is also about the power that comes from vulnerably sharing our weaknesses with others. Being a feminist is about leaning into others and drawing strength from our communities. It's about embracing our God-given and godly emotions and boldly expressing them.

Being a Jesus feminist is far less about the doctrines of Paul and far more about following in the footsteps of Jesus. It's about noticing those on the margins – regardless of why they're there or who's put them there. It's about entering into the dark places and being fully present with people by responding with compassion and kindness and weeping with – not just for – people.

Jesus noticed people, not just when they were powerful but more importantly, when they were broken. He noticed the woman who hemorrhaged for 12 years. He wept with Mary & Martha at Lazarus' tomb. And when he did, he entered into the dark place with them and was fully present. In the process, he restored them, healed them, and nurtured their dignity. He's done the same for me – in the dark days after my miscarriage and in countless moments before and since then.

And because He has, I, too, am a Jesus feminist.

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This post was written as a part of the #JesusFeminist synchroblog celebrating the release of Sarah Bessey’s Jesus Feminist. 

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

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Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

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The Real Jesus

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The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

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