Today, across our country and across the world, women are going on strike. Following the historic women’s march on January 21, women today are raising their voices in protest by abstaining from any paid or unpaid work and avoiding participating in the economy through purchases (with the exception of small, female-owned businesses). On International Women’s day, the protest is poised as a reminder to society that #ADayWithoutAWoman is a loss for the economy, the workplace, the home, and the world.
And they are right.
Christians are rather hesitant to stand behind #ADayWithoutAWoman, and rightfully so. Hear me well: the organization behind today’s protest is riddled with controversy, many participants actively oppose Christian values like the life of the unborn, and many of the voices raised have vulgarly denounced men in a way that I believe is ironically sexist. Yet, one of the most basic messages of today’s protest is rather simple: any day without women is not good. And, as Christians, our history tells us they are right. Our historical and theological inheritance tells us a story of the original day without a woman. We crack open our Bibles and read from our collective history of a day when man was without a woman, and it was the only day in creation that our God declared “not good.”
The world burst into form at the sound of our God’s voice. Plants and animals came into full form by the power of our God’s speech. Personally and tenderly forming the earth, He made man: the pinnacle of His creation and the creature who would bear His image. And God said that it was “very good.”
The man, Adam, took to God’s work – he tended the garden and named the animals. But as those animals passed before him, he noted that each had an “equal opposite”, a suited helper to wander the garden alongside. And, the man noticed, that there was no such partner for himself. He was doing God work, to be sure, but he was also doing it alone.
God looked on this day – the first day without a woman – and for the first time in creation’s narrative He said that it was “not good.”
God formed the woman from the man’s rib to be a suitable helper for the man, a creature to equally bear His image, a steward of His creation. Matthew Henry eloquently puts it this way: “…Created from the rib of man to be beside him, not from his head to top him, nor from his feet to be trampled by him, but from under his arm to be protected by him, near to his heart to be loved by him.” The two meet and Adam breaks into song. Finally, he exclaims! Finally, here is one who is of my bones and of my flesh! I will call her isha (woman) for she was taken from ish (man).
The “not good” day without woman is over. And it was very good.
It seems that in our protest of modern feminism, many of us have lost our ability and self-awareness to say with our God that a day without woman is, definitively, not good. But we Christians have the unique history and theological underpinning that insists otherwise. As followers of Jesus Christ, we have the privilege and responsibility to see the image of our God reflected in both genders. As worshipers of the Creator we can and must insist that when man and woman do God’s work together it is very, very good.
I believe that #ADayWithoutAWoman serves as an appropriate time for us as Christians to take inventory of our own hearts and lives. Christians, are we living in a perpetual day without a woman? When we look at our church stages on Sunday mornings, are there women actively participating alongside men? When we look at our leadership teams, are we living as if it were good for man to be alone? When we survey those doing discipleship in our churches and homes, are we calling “good” what God called “not good”?
Because of our rich Biblical foundation, the Church is uniquely poised to speak truth and life on #ADayWithoutAWoman. We have the distinct privilege of affirming the God-given goodness of partnership between men and women. In many ways, we alone can point to our Biblical inheritance and hold out the hope of many women protesting today are hungering for: you matter in God’s economy, you are vital to the flourishing of the church and city, and you are necessary as we do God’s work together. We can be people who, together with our God, definitively say, it is not good for man to be alone.