All posts by akoh09

Christianity and Feminism

APRIL KOH
TD ’14
Executive Director

I am a Christian.

I am a Yale student.

I am a woman.

Three identities that are not too hard to piece together, especially when you don’t think too much about it. A smart Christian girl. You see those everywhere. No surprise.

But press the issue a little harder. Look a little closer, and you’ll see that those identities don’t really blend all so well–

I wake up on a Sunday morning and feel a bit guilty for that brief slip in my thinking — “Do I have time to go to Mass today?” — because of the academic work that’s never-ending and on the forefront of my mind. I suppress those distractions–which are rooted in my personal ambitions–and go to Mass, where I hear the priest talk about the “glory” of Mary’s virginity and to be honest my mind wanders a bit to that paper due next week and the article I have to write for the Herald. I step out and enter a cafe where I open Simone de Beauvoir’s feminist oeuvre — The Second Sex. Reading her angry feminist words, I am moved; but I feel guilty about being moved by her words, because her anger and logic is married to her antagonism towards Christianity. And I think back to the Women’s Leadership Conference I attended just a few weeks ago, where I listened to women talk about why we still can’t have it all and felt a solidarity that nearly drew an “Amen” from my lips.

As Yale students, we have proven to be excellent and are expected to be excellent. Yale students are intelligent and are given the resources to fully realize their potentials. It is a sin in the Ivy-League mentality to accept mediocrity. The expectation for women to be on par with men is explicit and aggressively supported; Yale’s progressive platform includes and does not question the platform of feminists. As a woman at Yale, I am–unwittingly and somewhat automatically–a feminist.

But in the Christian community, “feminism” is rarely mentioned. Political correctness makes Christians go rather dumb on the subject of female agency, but the unspoken consensus on feminism–at least in conservative Christian circles–is that it is bad and somehow rooted in sexual liberalism and sin. I find that I cannot declare openly in Christian circles that I am a feminist. And because I cannot mix Christianity and feminism, I feel I am not fully a Yalie, fully a Christian, and fully a woman, even though I am, in fact, fully all of those things.

But I don’t think that a “feminist Christian” is an oxymoron. Yes, there are some feminists who are antagonistic towards Christianity, and there are some Christians who are antagonistic towards feminists. There needs to be more conversation between the two communities to clear up the misunderstandings that make Christianity and feminism seem incompatible. Many of my Christian girlfriends are apathetic towards feminism without realizing that it was the force of the feminist movement that paved the way for them to study at Yale. As a Christian woman at Yale, I believe in feminism, and I believe in Christianity, and I am tired of appearing like a living contradiction. We as Christians need to talk more about feminism.

Peace, Which Transcends All Understanding, Including a Yalie’s

APRIL KOH

TD ’14

Executive Director, Logos

We hear it a lot in the Christian community: “Lord, give us Your peace, which transcends all understanding.”

It’s almost become cliché — like, whenever we say “peace,” we have to tack on that verse from Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

But what on earth does “transcend[ing] all understanding” entail? What does that peace even look like?

Here are some practical pictures of that kind of peace for Yalies:

  • Peace even when you have three mid-terms and a paper due tomorrow
  • Peace even when your roommate sexiles you every weekend
  • Peace even when all the members of your a cappella group/YPU party/section begin to annoy you, extremely
  • Peace even when you’ve realized you’ve gained fifteen pounds and haven’t exercised in three months
  • Peace even when your crush of three years randomly starts dating someone
  • Peace even when a professor at office hours asks you what you want to do with your life, and you fumble to sound intelligent — or at least, respectable

In a Yalie’s understanding, in our understanding, all of the above examples would warrant stressing, emotional froyo-tripping, and anxious grouchiness.

But the peace of Christ, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts against those attacks of despair.

Keep on fighting, Yalies.