"Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed" (Isaiah 1:17).
"Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right" (Psalm 106:3).
"But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never ending stream" (Amos 5:24).
"Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8).
"For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate wrongdoing" (Isaiah 61:8).
Clearly, justice matters to God and was important to biblical authors. The gospel indicates that justice-doing is a central tenet of Christian theology and practice. Oft-quoted Galatians 3:28 and other like Bible verses make clear that the gospel undermines hierarchy. It follows that to “do justly,” Christians must dismantle hierarchies of any kind.
Despite the thematic prevalence of justice-doing in the Bible, I've met many Christian men who do not seem to yearn for justice. In fact, I've witnessed many men do and say things to preserve the status quo and maintain the oppression of others, sometimes without even realizing it.
US society has come a long way, but women are still oppressed and marginalized in many ways, especially in many Christian churches. Child marriage is still legal in many states; women are still at great risk for physical and sexual assault; women are kept from leadership roles in many Christian denominations; women are underrepresented in leadership positions in government and business; and many churches still preach and teach strict gender roles. And this doesn’t even scratch the surface of what women experience on a global scale. For this reason, I think it is crucial that women looking to marry place "justice-lover" or "activist" at the top of their "must haves" list.
So, ladies, if you want a solid life partner, choose a man with an activist's heart.
Choose a man like Will Easter, who puts everything he has into supporting and encouraging his activist wife, Ashley Easter (Ashley recently attended CBE’s 2017 conference with her husband, Will, as a speaker). Choose a man like Will, who has a full time job himself but humbly helps Ashley put on the Courage conference—a conference focused on bringing healing to survivors of sexual abuse and educating churches on how to handle sexual abuse. Choose a man like Will, who encourages Ashley to chase her dreams—no matter what they may be and without limit due to her gender.
Or like Luke Peterson, advocate Jory Micah's husband, who has a huge servant's heart. Choose a man like Luke, who supports all women in their callings whether by volunteering at the CBE information booth at the Courage conference or by traveling on a cross-country "coffee tour" so his activist wife can meet those who have supported her ministry. Choose a man like Luke, who is laid-back and in no way threatened by his strong-headed, pastorally-gifted wife.
Can you imagine if your future daughter told her dad—your husband—that she wanted to become a pastor, and her dad—your husband—informed her that she couldn’t because she happens to be female?
Then choose a man like Eugene Hung, author of the Feminist Asian Dad blog and advocate for justice with a particular interest in equality for women and girls. Eugene is an amazing father because he fights for and with his daughters, and for all women and girls. Eugene is raising his daughters to believe that they can be anything they want to be. And yes, that includes a pastor!
And finally, choose a man like my husband Nate, who volunteers his valuable time to (quietly) help and support women in ministry. He doesn't need a big stage or loud microphone to use his gifts, but instead supports women by doing vital behind-the-scenes work.
Choose a man like Nate, who gets angrier about sexual and domestic abuse than I do (and I get pretty angry about it, y'all). A man who believes that you and he are equals, deserving of the same respect. A man with a soft and kind heart that doesn't feel entitled to certain roles or privileges simply because of his sex.
Choose a man like my husband, who doesn't expect or pressure me to be a certain way because I'm a woman, but who chooses to call me things like "intelligent" or "passionate" more than "pretty" or "beautiful." Choose a man like him, who didn't marry me to be his cook and maid, but who chose to enter into a partnership and a promise to carry the weight of life together.
These are the kind of men who will truly honor you. The kind of men who will really lay down their lives—and their privilege—for you. When their position of power is threatened, they do not hold tightly to it. No, they willingly give it up because they know that men and women are stronger together.
These are the kind of men who understand that women have been systematically oppressed for too long. They are secure enough in their masculinity, and unswayed by what many Christian churches say about “manhood.” When they look at women, they do not see "weaker" vessels, but strong and empowered world-changers.
Why marry a man who expects you to do all of the domestic work? Why marry a man who believes he should get the final say simply because he is a man? Why marry a man who believes men can do everything, but women are limited?
That's boring and what’s more, it just isn’t biblical. If you want an exciting life, and if you want a man to honor, respect, and love you to the fullest, choose a man who has a fierce hunger for justice in his heart.
Do you have a man in your life with an activist's heart? We would love to hear about them in the comments below!