By M. Garlinda Burton
As it is in the news game, the story of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who defied a fundamentalist theocratic regime to champion education for girls (and was shot by these followers of God), is no longer in the headlines.
But her story should resonate with every woman of faith (and men who love women) who have ever been told that being the best person you are called to be is against God’s law.
The maligning and fear of empowered women are not limited to Pakistan. Just in this year women in the United States have been chastised by lawmakers for even saying the word “vagina,” which is the channel by which all of us are born on earth. Even more disturbing, some elected officials engaged in public debate about whether one expression of sexual violence against women is more palatable and worthy of criminalization that others. (Remember the “forcible rape” debacle?) Ask any woman who has been there and she will tell you, “Any rape is horrible.”
I serve a living God who loves me as a daughter, who challenges me when I falter, and who upholds me in all things. I am strengthened in my faith by strong pastoral leaders and teachers who help me grow in my understanding and my relationship with God in Christ. What does NOT help any women grow in faith is to be bullied, threatened, chastised, maligned, targeted for hate and derision by her own faith community. Like Malala, we will not listen to the noise of those who would defile our faith with false teachings. Rather, we will continue to rise and walk to our destiny on the wings of the God in whose image we are also created.