Subject: Where can any woman turn to know she has value? Jesus Christ
Mark 5:34 “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.’”
We are coming up on one year since the “Feminist Fight Club” was launched at taxpayer-funded Colorado State University. The hope of this pilot program was that other universities across the country will realize the value of such a club on a college campus, to further aid young women in their struggle for identity and worth in a male-dominated sexist American culture. We all know that gender phobia is yet just one more of the rapidly multiplying fears that we must now embrace on our college campuses, including Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia and ophidiophobia (this one is probably legit: fear of snakes).
CSU has also launched workshops to educate students on “fight moves” they can use to interrupt and challenge sexism. Cori Wong, director of the Women and Gender Collaborative, “The fight moves are really to create a culture of support, where people have each other’s backs and speak up on behalf of one another to create a more inclusive environment. That means that we challenge subtle sexism, but also racism, transphobia, and other forms of bias that harm members of our community.”
One popular “fight move” is called “How to Stop a Manterrupter,” where women are taught how to interrupt a man who’s interrupting a woman. The program is modeled after the popular novel and movie “Fight Club”, with their motto being “The fight is not over until we have achieved gender equity for all people.”
Why do we as a culture continue to not only create but then teach our young people they need to battle these invisible “phobias”? It stems from our loss of our Christian values, where among many other excellent teachings is the truth that women hold equal value as men in God’s eyes. In fact, Jesus Christ went against Jewish culture by often publicly esteeming women as being of great value.
There is an instance we have recorded in the Bible that Jesus calls a woman ‘daughter’. You need to sit down and read the entire story in Mark 5:22-34 of this encounter between the ostracized woman and Jesus Christ. If you ever wanted a picture of gender equality and the enormous value of women, here it is.
Hinduism would say this was the woman’s ‘karma’, her ‘lot in life’, the suffering she must be allowed to endure to atone for something done in a past life, to possibly achieve a higher state in the next life – so don’t come to her aid. Buddhism would say her suffering is something she must overcome on her own – as a way of reaching a higher state of self-actualization – so allow her suffering to teach her. Don’t help her.
Islam would say she is a woman, inherently inferior and thus subservient to a man and the property of her husband. Her well-being is up to him. Judaism would say this woman, being inferior to any man, is to be left to her husband to decide how to care for her. Atheism would say this woman should be helped, but it’s up that society’s culture to decide what ‘help’ looks like, since the concept of what is right is relegated to each culture to decide for themselves.
But Christianity, in the person of Jesus Christ, changed forever the status of women. We don’t have to wonder how Christians are to view women. Jesus shows us not only in this story, but throughout the Bible, that people are equal in His eyes, whether it’s their gender, ethnicity, or social status.
In this story, Jesus is on the way to Jairus’s house, to heal his deathly-ill daughter. Jairus is a big shot in the town – one of the rulers in the local synagogue. So naturally Jesus would honor his request, right? But what are we to make of this woman who has been abandoned by her own neighbors because of her illness? Why, with a crowd surrounding Him as He heads to Jairus’s home, would He stop and put full attention on her? She has nothing to offer Him. She is a total outcast. What is Christ up to?
Mark 5:27 tells us. She had heard that He could not only heal people of their illnesses, but that He was good, and He was kind, and He had the reputation for doing what was right. And now, He was here, in her midst. She sought Him out, whether He healed her or not wasn’t the issue. She believed He could.
Something amazing happens, after Jesus heals her – He calls her ‘daughter’. This is unheard of, that a man would address a woman in public, who has no relation to him, in such tender, intimate terms. She receives His complete, undivided attention. Why? Note verse 34: only one person was commended by Jesus that day for trusting in Him – and it wasn’t Jairus. It was her. He will do the same for any woman today.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.