God Came for the Marginalized
The idea that Christianity is bad for women is so far-reaching. It comes up in books, in music, in movies. It feels like it's everywhere in pop culture. I even have women coming to me in the church, in sort of hushed voices, whispering, You know, Jen, is Christianity bad for women? Is there a skeleton in our closet that we need to be dealing with?
What I love to share with women who come to me is that, shockingly, Christianity is predominantly female. That is true here in the United States, and that's true around the globe. Here in the US, 55% of Christ-followers are women, and there's a really good reason for that. When Jesus came on the scene 2,000 years ago, he lived in the Greco-Roman culture that was very violent and very antagonistic, specifically toward girls and women.
In that specific context, they practiced female infanticide doing away with baby girls, literally putting them on the trash heaps because society preferred baby boys. Girls were married off before puberty. Girls were married to men that were not of their choosing. Women had very little voice in the culture that Jesus was born into. But he comes on the scene and revolutionizes everything. He sees the weak and the marginalized and the vulnerable, and he seeks out and elevates women.
And so, the Christian culture in the first century then becomes this safe place and harbor for women. Women turned to Christ, and the Christian community has been predominantly female ever since. That's not to say that Christian institutions and Christians, at times, haven't used our faith—and even our Lord's name—for misogynistic ends and evil purposes. That has happened. We live in a broken world with fallen people, but that's not the true expression of the Christian faith.
The true Christian faith elevates, cherishes, protects women.
The true Christian faith elevates, cherishes, protects women. Women are drawn to it. Our God created us imago Dei, and his desire is that each life will be cherished and protected. He made us to live in community with one another that we might look out for one another and care for one another. That's why he made marriage, that we might love one another and raise up children in the protection of a family. So, God's design is for the elevation and protection of the goodness of women. And that is why Christianity is predominantly female.
Jen Oshman is the author of Cultural Counterfeits: Confronting 5 Empty Promises of Our Age and How We Were Made for So Much More
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