Quote of the Week

Maybe there’s two types of people in the world: those people who favor humans over ideology, and those people who favor ideology over humans. I favor humans over ideology, but right now, the ideologues are winning, and they’re creating a stage for constant artificial high dramas where everybody’s either a magnificent hero or a sickening villain, even though we know that’s not true about our fellow humans. // Jon Ronson

Be aware of what you favor. May we keep our ideologies at bay where they infringe upon our ability to love more genuinely.

Love Wins

IMG_2285Today is history.

Today equality transcended culture.

Actions that move us toward acceptance and inclusion, and away from discrimination and persecution, are actions that I celebrate.

I rejoice with my fellow citizens who are now able to legally bind with their best friends.

May this day remind us that love will always win, and as along as we seek to love, our world will heal.

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. // Romans 13:10


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At the beginning of this blog series I discussed a campfire that the author wished for us to gather around. A campfire that forced us to get cozy with the truth, engage with being human, and stop shoving well-informed opinions down each others throats. It is to that atmosphere that I would like us to return as I conclude my series: An In-Depth Review of Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey.

We need Jesus Feminism because it is thought provoking. The questions that Sarah Bessey raises throughout the book are essential for gender equality to be realized.

Most importantly, we need Jesus Feminism because it is predicated on the idea that we need to bear with those in our society and in our relationships from the perspective of Christ.

We need to bear with those in our society, and those in our relationships, from a perspective of strength, efficiency, knowledge, and power humility, gentleness, patience, and love–as Jesus did.

If these values inform the ways in which we treat each other, our world will heal.

This idea applies to not only gender equality, but to racism, poverty, environmental rights, animal rights, and the distribution and access to health care and education; all issues of social justice.

Additionally, this idea applies to how we form our ethical values in light of the biblical narrative. We have discussed many issues in this blog series, but if we found our lives on equality, love, and respect for all persons, I believe we will work toward a better society.

Bearing with one another in love means that we set aside our pride and take people for the what they are: broken and in need of restoration–as Jesus did.

It does not mean that we make excuses for injustice, but that we refuse to let stereotypes govern us, and presuppositions define our relationships such that we condemn the different before we can walk in their shoes–as Jesus did.

It means that instead of taking the position that we are all-knowing, and have it all figured out, that we empathize with humanity and all of its brokenness–the perpetrator and the victim alike–as Jesus did.

It means that we listen to the voices of the suffering and the marginalized, and stand up for them–as Jesus did.

It means that we mourn for our world when it is hopeless, and we impose light where there is none–as Jesus did.

We need Jesus Feminism because it marks the beginning of a revolution that seeks to put Jesus in front of every social justice movement. That seeks Jesus to such a degree that He is all that we have left.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. // Ephesians 4:2

Emasculate // & a poem by Jaishree Kumar

Masculinity and the biblical narrative are inextricably linked. Most of the connection comes from the cultural context within which the biblical stories occurred, however, I think Western culture often forgets that contextual detail. Moreover, I think that we have replaced this “biblical manhood” ideal with a perverted version that Western culture developed on its own.

I say this because Jesus himself, as Sarah Bessey describes in her book, did not necessarily ascribe to the masculinity that our world considers appropriate and biblically normative.

Compassion, emotional awareness, love, acceptance, humility, peace, and respect are characteristics that make up the personhood of Jesus, rather than contemporary masculinity which values power, strength, virility, success, and minimal emotional expression.

Highlighting the distinction between the masculinity of Jesus and the masculinity of other men is important for how we understand masculinity as a whole, and this is important because in order for gender equality to be realized, many people need to be reminded that gender equality and feminism is a man’s issue just as much as it is a woman’s issue.

Moreover, these definitions of gender roles and gender expectations govern marriage and family dynamics around the world. If we continue to let contemporary versions of masculinity subvert the characteristics of Jesus, it will be difficult to make any headway regarding equal balances of power outside the home.

In Biblical Heritage, we spent time reading Charles H. Talbert’s, Are There Biblical Norms for Christian Marriage?, and he highlights the key reason’s why founding our marriages on equality, rather than culturally embedded definitions of true manhood and womanhood, is so important:

At this point a contemporary Christian with reverence for scripture will want to know: What then does scripture say in a positive way about a Christian marriage? For an answer one goes back to God’s intention in creation. According to Genesis 1-2, God intended women and men to be different as sexual beings and equal as persons. According to Christian theology, in the Incarnation God acted to restore this intent by redeeming humans from the sin that corrupts the relations between men and women through their deception and domination of one another, resulting in guilt and shame. What will a Christian marriage look like? It will, as far as possible this side of the resurrection, be free of deception and domination. // Charles H. Talbert

To be gender inclusive is not to emasculate, and you do not have to be a woman to be a Jesus Feminist.

This poem says it all.

Dear men,
You are not emasculated when you are gentle to a woman.
You are not emasculated when you can’t control your child’s behaviour.
You are not emasculated when you get a vasectomy done.
You are not emasculated when you stand up for a woman, no matter how old she is.
You are not emasculated when you support gender equality.
You are not emasculated when you choose to not drink and drive.
You are not emasculated when your lifestyle choices are different from that of your friends.

I am a feminist who believes that man and woman have equal roles in the society.

If you think women are weaker,  I fail to comprehend you and I am not going to waste my time explaining you the basics of how to be peaceful and respecting one another.

Someone who wants a change, and is doing their part in it. // Jaishree Kumar


I asked people close to me if they had any testimonies to share regarding gender inequality.

These are their answers.

Accomplished Pastor // “I had to move states to find a job.”

  • What they told her: We have some other candidates that we’re looking at.
  • What they meant: God doesn’t want women to be pastors.

International Accountant // “I’ve moved jobs multiple times in the last 3 years.”

  • What they said: You’re not a good fit for this office.
  • What they didn’t say: I don’t care about your skills, either sleep with me [the boss] or get out.

Software Engineer // “My daughter was 3 when she feel off of the couch while sleeping, and broke her collar bone. I stayed home for a week and worked, but my daughter couldn’t move her body, so it was very hard for her to move. She needed constant care. I completed every one of my projects, but he said I had an attitude.”

  • What they said: Leave your computer at your desk and get out.
  • What they didn’t say: Women shouldn’t have kids if they want to work at our level.


Athletic Trainer for 30 years // “The head coach never let me work with the male athletes.”

  • What he said: My athletes require special training.
  • What he didn’t say: Women don’t know what they are doing, and don’t belong in athletic leadership.

Former SPANX® Sales Associate // “SPANX® doesn’t hire men at all. Period. They get a man’s application and throw it away immediately.”

  • What they said: Well, we have a male clothing line.
  • What they didn’t say: Men don’t understand the body like women do.

Ordained Priest // “I was 14. I told my youth pastor I wanted to be a pastor when I grew up. He told me that God doesn’t call women to be pastors.”

  • What he said: Maybe He’s calling you to be a pastor’s wife, or a children’s minister.
  • What he didn’t say: God’s will is limited by biology.

The bold statements refer to the embedded sociocultural values that dictate these injustices, and unfortunately, these moments occur every day. Our cultural values that result in brokenness do not have to remain.

All it takes is one link to start a chain reaction of change. Be the link.

Apple Didn’t Include Me In The New iOS 8.1.3 Update

Tired of seeing the little red notification icon, I gave in and updated my phone today. But I had no idea that I would be confronted with new identity choices as a result.

I sat on my bed staring at my screen for like 20 minutes wondering where my half-caucasian, half-Dominican skin tone fits on Apple’s new color spectrum. The truth is, I don’t identify with any of them. There’s no olive toned emoji girl who changes color based on time spent in the sun. 

The truth is, Apple didn’t include me in the new update.

I know I’m not the only person who feels effectively invisible, or excluded, because my identity exists somewhere between the colors. 

I texted my fiancé different emojis asking him which one I am, and if he would help me determine my emoji identity. I told myself I was joking, but part of me really wanted to know what category I belonged in.

He responded, “You are none of them, you are Sarah.”

How did I not realize that the fact that I even looked to another human being for identity, even in the most silly and trivial of circumstances, was the first problem?

•The problem with adding skin tone to the emoji keyboard is that we are reinforcing the idea that skin tone matters.•

Apple’s attempt at racial inclusion, while admirable, is problematic at best. It only provides more ways by which we can by categorize, stigmatize, and separate ourselves from others, as opposed to finding ways to commune based on things that actually matter, like character.

Now when I text, there will be a whole new set of subconscious assumptions to navigate regarding emoji skin color. Yay?

A conversation I had with a dear friend of mine about the new update is a perfect example of this new sociocultural playing field:


I feel like I should be thanking or high-fiving Apple for their equality-centered business endeavors, but really, I just have an identity induced headache.