How Writing a Christian Devotional Turned Me Into a Feminist
The notable women in history I wrote about didn’t do as they were told
There have been few moments in my life as exciting and joyous as the one in 2014 when my son Jesse came running into the backyard with a package. It contained the first copy of my first book.
We ripped open the padded envelope and jumped up and down together. I was overcome by seeing my name, along with my friend and co-author Randy Petersen’s name, on the cover. It was a dream come true. Until it wasn’t.
I turned the book over to where my short bio and photo were. I felt a battering ram to my stomach. The bio stated I was “married and the mother of two elementary-age boys.” Technically, I was married, but the Christian publisher knew that while I was working on the book, my husband moved out and asked for a divorce. The publisher pushed back our deadline because I needed time to pull myself together. Randy’s bio did not mention his single status. Neither of us had been asked to approve our bios.
I held back tears and continued to show excitement with my son. He was proud of me. But I was having trouble feeling pride in my accomplishment because I felt betrayed.
A sentiment, which first took root in me while writing the book, now blossomed. My mind may not have formed these exact words, but the idea was: Fuck the patriarchy.
I used to be OK with the patriarchy.
I didn’t grow up in a fundamentalist church. I was raised Lutheran. I got into fundamentalism by way of a cute boy who went to my friend’s nondenominational church. I went to her youth group hoping he would notice me.
He didn’t, yet I continued to go to the youth group and eventually the church services. I think I was drawn to fundamentalism because I was adopted, and my parents were never open to talking about my feelings about it. But, I had the thoughts many adopted kids have, including believing that I must be hard to love if someone could just give me away. (I still struggle with that one.)
In high school, I chose to work at a conservative Christian summer camp. I also chose to attend a conservative Christian college, Philadelphia College of…