Is Cinderella Feminist?

TW: Abuse, Slavery  (I don’t use these often enough.  I apologize.)

I came across a very interesting post last night.  You can read it here.  To summarize, the author argues that Cinderella is not a good example for young girls to follow.  Everything in the movie happens to her.  Almost none of the action is motivated by Cinderella herself.  For the most part, I agree.  But I would also say that this is kind of the point of the story.  Cinderella can’t do anything for herself.  This story is hundreds of years old.  The movie is set in a different century.  It is set in a time where women did not have a voice.  The system she was in was so oppressive and so harmful towards women that there was no recourse for Cinderella.  It literally takes a higher power to break her free.

Deep down, Cinderella is a deeply abused girl. Most movies and books present her as a generally happy, cheerful girl. But, imagine the trauma she must have gone through! Her parents die when she is young. She is ripped from her comfortable surroundings to live by the fireplace. Her entire life is taken from her. Her station, her belongings, her autonomy, etc are taken. That would traumatize anybody. Not to mention the beatings she must have received. Cinderella is really a lesson on why abused girls stay in bad relationships.

Cinderella could have left anytime she wanted, sure. Just walk out the door and leave. But who would take care of the animals, even Lucifer? Who would take care of her father’s estate? How would she make a life for herself in a time when women had to rely on their husbands? Would she just end up a servant in someone else’s home? Again, it literally takes an act of God to set her free. Here’s a wonderful post giving some possible reasons that Cinderella stayed.

Now you could argue that the message is still misogynistic. It does kind of give the impression that a woman just needs to find the right man to be happy. But, if you’ve been reading my blog at all, you know that I see a deeper level to the story. Because I don’t see the Prince as just a man. I see him as Jesus Christ and the Fairy Godmother as the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes, and I would argue most of the time, it takes the power and love of God to change your identity from that of a slave/victim to that of someone who is dearly loved and cherished. The Bible says in Psalm 113 that God lifts the poor up from the ash heap and seats them with kings.

Maybe Cinderella was dreaming her life away according to the post linked in the beginning. But her identity was built on being a slave. A slave has no autonomy, no agency, no power to act on their situation. That is, until a higher power comes along to break the illusion. Maybe it’s not some ecstatic vision of God. But maybe it’s a friend, a teacher, a coworker that says, “Hey, I see something great in you.” and acts for you and with you in your situation.

I’ve argued on my blog before that the power of the Fairy Godmother wasn’t transformation from one thing to another. It was the power to reveal who you truly are. The Fairy Godmother didn’t see a slave. She saw a beloved daughter of the King, beloved bride of the Prince, a beloved princess of the people. When we get a hold of that revelation of what we truly are, we are unstoppable. In Colossians 2 and elsewhere, the Bible says that we have the fullness of God within us. What power we have! If fully realized, we could change the geography of the planet spiritually and physically. We could make women safe and loved and give them power beyond imagining whereas they would spend most nights just dreaming.

So, is Cinderella feminist?  I can’t give a complete answer because I’m not completely familiar with feminist thought.  But what I will say is that Jesus Christ is looking to set women free from bondage.  He wants women the world over to realize the power they have in Him.  If feminism is about giving women power, then look nowhere else but Jesus Christ.  He is the source of all power.  I also believe that Jesus Christ respects all forms of femininity.  Jesus Christ didn’t make women to just be baby factories.  Proverbs 31 describes a faithful woman who not only takes care of her home but does business and works in the community.  She is wise and respected.  Even the city leaders have respect for her.

Some women work at a career.  Some women stay at home to raise their children.  Some women do both.  Some women cut their hair short.  Some women wear their hair long.  Some women wear traditionally masculine clothes.  Some women wear dresses and buy expensive makeup.  Some women do both.  Some who are biologically female identify as men.  Some who are biologically male identify as women.  Some identify as both or neither.  I don’t believe that Jesus Christ is looking for cookie cutter women.  He is looking to build up his body with many different parts.  One person may be the middle finger, another the small intestine.  Both look very different.  Both function very differently.  To expect the middle finger and the small intestine to look and act the same is ridiculous.  It is equally ridiculous to expect two women to act and look the same.

I think Cinderella is a representation of all women.  We have all felt powerless and without the ability to do anything about our situation.  Sometimes, we are able to break free ourselves.  Other times, I would argue most times, it takes the restorative power of Jesus Christ to break free of our bondage.

A Prophetic Word For My New Pastor

Previously, I wrote about the Three Little Pigs. The straw house represented the unbeliever who put his hope in worldly things. The house of sticks represented the new believer who begins to build his identity on Christ but still has a foothold in the world. The brick house represented the mature believer whose identity is grounded and rooted in the finished work of Jesus Christ. What we had was a brick house. It was good and strong. It kept the enemy at hand away.

But a new thing is coming. What was once a brick house will become something much greater. What I saw was the starship USS Enterprise. The Enterprise D in fact with Captain Jean Luc-Picard.  What was their main foe? That’s right! The Borg!

Let’s examine this. The Borg represent a society of increasing sameness and control. Their catchphrase is, “We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.” They go from world to world, assimilating individuals into one collective. Everyone is the same. Free thought is wiped out.

They come across the Federation which is made up of many different persons from many different planets. It is a vibrant community. There is no control. Free thought encouraged.

In a world that says, “Assimilate or cease to exist,” we will be a light in the dark. We will be a vibrant community made up of many different nations. We will go out and free people from the world system. We will strip off the artificial pieces of their identity. We will strip off the parts the world told them they needed to survive and belong. We will rebuild their identity based on the word of Jesus Christ.

I also felt this was for the family as well. The Enterprise name was a name to be praised and feared. The Enterprise name lasted for centuries. I felt like the family name would be famous for His name for centuries and it would begin today. Maybe not the name but the legacy would last for generations.

Wild Mass Guessing – Creation

I had a thought the other day inspired by John Crowder.  Now, I want to add a disclaimer here.  Wild Mass Guessing, as explained in this post, is just that.  It’s guessing.  It’s a thought that I have that I do NOT hold to as solid doctrine.  Second disclaimer: I do not know John Crowder.  He does not know me.  He doesn’t say anything like this in the video I linked to above.  I would be completely embarrassed if he ever read this.

So, anyways, I got to thinking about the Bible verses that state that Christ was slain before the foundation of the world.  This always bothered me.  Was Jesus somehow in Heaven getting the snot beat out of him before there was any sin to atone for?  Maybe it was figurative?  Maybe it just means that it was Christ’s plan before creation even began.  I have no solid ideas on what exactly this means.  I’ve posted some thoughts about it before.  Now, I’m going to take it a level further.

In the video linked to above, John Crowder describes God as taking up “all the space”.  Not just the space in the universe but heaven and hell as well.  EVERYTHING is inside of God.  As my mind is wont to do, I took this to its logical extreme.  Jesus was fully God so he must have had the entire created order within him on the cross.  But what if it was a little trickier than that?  What if the act of dying on the cross was the act of creation itself?!

Crucifixion Corpus Hypercubus

Time is nothing to God.  It would mean nothing to him to create the universe from inside the universe.  Think about it, six hours on the cross for each day of creation.  40 hours in the grave for the 4000 years or so of the Old Covenant.  Just like the seed dies to produce the tree.  So too, the Son of God dies to produce the entire created order.  Then, the created order produces the Son of God which creates the universe, etc…

In mathematics, we call it a recursion relation.  You may know it by the term “fractal”.  Simply, whatever comes out gets put right back in.  You have a function or machine and some initial condition/s or rather some raw materials.  You put the raw materials into the machine and get out a product.  You put that product right back into the machine to produce another product.  So on and so forth.

Actually, it makes me think of a Klein Bottle.

Klein Bottle

I don’t mean to say that the cycle produces infinitely many universes.  I like this image better.  It is self-contained.  It is actually better represented in four dimensions because, in 4D, it doesn’t intersect itself.  You may have heard of mobius strips.  This idea is similar.  The bottle has no discernible inside or outside.  If you follow the “outside” of the bottle and trace along back to the same spot, you will find yourself on the “inside” of the bottle.  Keep tracing for a second round, you’ll be back where you started.

Anyways, my idea means that the universe and God are non-orientable.  The universe is completely inside of God and God is completely inside the universe.  You start with God and trace along, you’ll find yourself in the cosmos.  Trace along the same line in the cosmos and you’ll find God.  “The Heavens declare the glory of God.” Psalm 19:1

What does that mean for sin?  It means it was never an obstacle!  Jesus not only came to create the universe but to recreate the universe.  Dying on the cross was his creative act.  His time in the grave is spent undoing what went wrong then he rises in a new creation.  He goes to Hell to release the prisoners.  But he also appears to Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses, David, the prophets, etc.  He shows them what is coming.  His spirit goes all over the place.  Then he comes back to his body on the third day and rises again.  This time he has reclaimed, redeemed, recreated the entire created order.  He rebooted the universe in a way.  Think of the Doctor at the end of season 5 of Doctor Who.  The universe is deteriorating around him but he sacrifices himself to reboot it.  While the universe is rebooting, he goes back through his timeline and appears to Amy and tells her how to bring him back.

I want to reiterate my disclaimer.  I have no scriptures to back this up.  I do NOT hold to this as solid doctrine.  I sometimes look at the Bible as a science fiction story and this is what happens.  I don’t need counseling or prayer.  My immortal soul is not in danger of exploding… or something…

 

Midnight Again

For years, I’ve been obsessed with Cinderella.  There is a lot of prophetic significance to the story.  The name Cinderella means “Little Ashen Girl” because she sleeps in the ashes of the fireplace.  She is a slave in her own house.  The house is run by her stepmother and stepsisters.  Her life is changed when an invitation to the national ball comes in the mail.  Her stepsisters and stepmother make her work even harder than usual.  Somehow, she manages to sew a few things together and look somewhat decent for the party.  Her stepsisters are livid and tear her dress to shreds.  She is left crying in the garden when, suddenly, a pure spirit lights up the area.  This spirit promises to make Cinderella ready for the ball but the spell will break at midnight.  Off she goes.  She dances with the prince.  He falls in love.  She runs away at midnight, leaving a remarkable shoe behind.  The prince searches high and low for the owner of that shoe.

In the same way, we are slaves in our house.  The house is run by Satan and his daughters of religion.  Our lives are changed when we are introduced to The Gospel.  The Holy Spirit comes and transforms us and allows us to see/hear/feel Jesus.  Isaiah 61 says “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on mebecause the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashesthe oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”  Cinderella means “Little Ashen Girl” but the Holy Spirit comes to take away our ashes and give us a crown of beauty.

Let’s get in Cinderella’s frame of mind here.  She is an abused girl who just wants one night of escape.  One night that she doesn’t have to work.  One night to feel beautiful.  One night to have fun.  Marriage didn’t even her mind.  She wasn’t there to snag a prince like her stepsisters.  She didn’t even realize who she was dancing with that night!  Because her vision was too small, her focus on only one night, she took the fairy godmother’s words literally that the spell would break at midnight.  One night, no more.  In the same sense, we just look for one night or one season of escape but then back to the world we go.  The problem is, we don’t realize who we’re dancing with!  It’s the prince, it’s Jesus, and he’s already in love with us.  He isn’t looking for a fling or a mistress.  He’s looking for a bride, someone to be part of him, someone to help him do the work of the kingdom.

So what happens at midnight, the beginning of a new day?  Cinderella had a choice to make.  She could stay and let the spell break and risk everybody seeing her as she was.  Or she could go back to her old life with nobody the wiser.  She runs, of course.  But what would have happened if she stayed?  Would the fairy godmother have renewed her?  Maybe, just like the Holy Spirit, the fairy godmother doesn’t want to do the same thing twice.  Maybe, the fairy godmother had something greater in store for her.  But, because Cinderella couldn’t see past midnight, she ran.  It’s the same in our own lives.  We sense something is about to shift but, because we are not focused on eternity, we run.  We may not go completely back to our old life.  But we do pull back.  We let our practices become prisons, our movements become monuments.  You see, Cinderella could have lived happy for the rest of her life based on that one night.  Happy, but still in slavery.  We become so used to one way God moves in our lives that we don’t notice when He’s moved on.  What used to work no longer works but we’re so blinded by our habits that we don’t even realize it.  Don’t get stuck on formula.  You may be happy but still in slavery.

What happens next?  Cinderella leaves a shoe behind.  She makes it home just as the carriage turns back into a pumpkin.  The next day, she is humming and dancing as she does her chores.  She doesn’t realize that the prince is looking for her.  Curiously, she still has the glass slipper.  It didn’t change back.  When the prince comes, the stepsisters fall all over themselves to make the shoe fit.  In one version, they cut off their toes and heels to make it fit.  The stepsisters represent religion.  They work and work and work to snag the prince.  They think they are the rightful bride.  They think they can seduce the prince by their works.  But he isn’t so easily swayed.  He looks at the heart, not outward appearance.

When the prince comes and the stepsisters try it on to no avail, he asks if there are any other ladies in the house.  They quietly mention their spinster stepsister who works in the kitchen but she couldn’t have been at the party.  She’s just a servant.  The prince insists.  They bring her out and, of course, the slipper fits.  And, of course, they live happily ever after.

Last night, while worshipping the Lord, I saw a picture of the prince putting the slipper on my foot.  I was wrecked from the point on.  What is the significance of the shoe?  The prince wanted to reaffirm Cinderella’s identity.  Not her identity as a slave but her identity as a princess, a bride.  I felt like there are those of us who feel like we had our chance, our season, our dance with Jesus but that was 1, 10, 20 years ago.  But he is coming.  He is searching for his bride.  Not just another dance but a life lived alongside him.  One of my favorite authors likes to say that he’s not looking for the experience of a lifetime but a lifetime of experience.

Update: Twins – Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito

I heard the Lord speak to me this morning… I don’t want to be all “Thus saith the Lord” but I felt this was on the heart of God this morning. It will make a little more sense after you read my blog post that I linked to below.

——–——-

I have come and am coming to claim my brothers and sisters. I have made a great journey at great cost. I will NOT go home empty handed. I will search high and I will search low. I will search in the gutter. I will search in the palaces of this world. The world tells me that it’s not worth it. The world tells me that you are just a piece of trash. How can that be? We share the same DNA! You were made in my image. When I look at you, I see myself. How could I not seek you out? You are not just a lost sheep, you are a lost brother or sister. How much more will I go after you than I would a sheep!

There is no need to come after me. I have made the journey. No need to press in or work to find me. I am inside of you. The veil in your soul has been torn. Look and see that I am here with you and have always been with you. My journey led me right to the center of your heart and soul. I am not out there in a distant future or a distant paradise. Paradise is right here with you.

Twins – Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito.

Three Little Pigs – OR – What is your house made of?

Growing up, I lived in a house that should have been condemned.  The windows were broken.  The walls were cracked.  It was deathly hot in the summer and horrendously cold in the winter.  The roof leaked (fortunately, the leak was right over the bathtub).  The bathroom floor was rotten from water damage.  The basement flooded all the time taking out the water heater.  The house eventually was condemned and torn down long after I moved out of it.  The weird thing is that I miss that house terribly.  Almost nightly, my dreams wander back to that house.  Whenever I’m in my hometown, I actively avoid that side of the community because I don’t want to see the empty lot where the house once stood.  I like to pretend it’s still there.  It was a dilapidated piece of junk from the time I was born but it was my house.

We get comfortable in our houses.  You kick off your shoes, turn on the tv, sit in YOUR chair.  We do stuff in our houses that we wouldn’t do at somebody else’s house.  In your house, you have the freedom to change the channel, walk around naked, scream at the wall.  You also know the quirks of your house.  The living room floor may lean to the north.  The oven may heat better on one side than the other.  You may have an electrical outlet that doesn’t work.

But what happens when a storm comes?  Can your house withstand pouring rain and strong winds?  My childhood home barely made it.  Thank goodness we never had a tornado.  We lived in Kansas after all.  What about a fire or an earthquake?  Any number of things can strip us of our comfortable surroundings.

Jesus told a parable about houses.  In Matthew 7, he says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

So my question to you is, “What is your house made of?”  Obviously, I’m no longer speaking of physical houses.  Our homes are extensions of ourselves.  They represent our identity, a place we can truly be ourselves or perhaps hide our true self.  What do we build that identity on?  How easy is it to tear down that identity?  I recently read an article that was making the rounds on facebook.  It was called, “I Waited Until My Wedding Night to Lose My Virginity, and I Wish I Hadn’t”.  Read it here.  The author had built her whole identity on being a virgin.  When she got married, she could no longer claim to be one.  Sex was horrible for her because it took away the identity she had spent years building.  Other people create an identity based on all sorts of things.  It could be based on their finances, academic success, talents, etc.  Other people create negative identities.  “I’m an alcoholic.”  “I’m worthless.”  “I’m an abuser.”

I’m reminds of the Three Little Pigs.  Hopefully, we are familiar with the story but if you are not, here’s the basics.  There once were three little pigs.  To protect themselves from the ravaging wolf, they built themselves houses.  The first pig built his house of straw, it was easily blown down by the wolf which then ate the pig.  (In other versions, this pig runs to his brother’s house.)  The second built his house of sticks.  It was also blown down by the wolf which then ate the second pig (or, if you rather, ran to his brother’s house with the first pig).  The third pig built his house of bricks.  No matter how hard the wolf blew, the house would not come down.  The wolf then tried to come through the chimney but there was a fire and a pot of boiling water down below which killed him.

A couple months ago, Holy Spirit started showing me some truth in this famous fairy tale.  It culminated yesterday (Sunday) in church.  Holy Spirit showed me that this story represents our journey as believers.  The first pig builds his house of straw.  It is the flimsiest house of all three pigs.  He represents the unbeliever.  He may even be completely unaware there is an enemy coming to destroy him.  He lives blissfully unaware of a world outside his four walls.  His identity is built on a faulty foundation.  It may be his success, his mind, his negative traits, or his positive traits.  The wolf comes and blows through this like a house of cards.  The wolf representing the enemy of our souls.  Jesus often used the picture of a wolf to represent Satan.  He used shepherding metaphors a lot and the biggest enemy of the herd was the wolf.

The first pig can also be likened to the foolish builder who built his house on sand.  He does not believe in Jesus and follows his own commands.  But since the mind of man is so changeable, it is like sinking sand and his house, or identity, falls apart.  The house might stand for 50 years but it will eventually come crashing down.

The second pig is like a new believer.  He is eager to please God.  He is on a spiritual high.  However, he tries to please God through his own works.  He knows there is an enemy out there waiting to devour him so he builds a house to protect him.  This time, he builds his house of sticks.  The enemy has a harder time bringing this house down but it is still easy work for him.  God is not “pleased” with our works.  He adores belief and rest in his finished work on the cross.

The third pig is wisest of all.  He is a mature believer.  He builds his house of bricks.  Bricks are expensive and must be crafted by skilled laborers.  The third pig doesn’t buy them or make them.  He finds them.  They have been provided to him free of charge.  He rests in the finished work of Jesus.  All the best materials have been provided.  No working to buy them, they are found like pearls in the ocean.  The enemy comes along and can’t blow this house down.  It is fire, tornado, hurricane, and earthquake proof.  The house doesn’t even budge.  However, the enemy is crafty and will try to find another entrance.  He tries the chimney.  What is the chimney?  It keeps you warm and you can cook your food there.  It is a symbol of the Holy Spirit whose fire is always burning.  The wolf is eventually devoured by this flame.

The third pig is like the wise builder in Jesus’ parable.  He builds his house out of rock.  The wise builder builds his house ON the rock.  The enemy comes to destroy it but is unsuccessful.  The wise builder follows Jesus commands.  However, Jesus’ command is simply to believe.  He yoke is easy and his burden light.  We simply rest in him and let him work through us.  Everything has been provided through his work on the cross.

What is your house made of?  Are the storms of life too easily devouring you?  Or are you living to please a grumpy god in the sky?  Run to your brother’s house before the enemy can devour you!  Your brother’s house is made of precious material that can withstand the storms of life.  In His house is rest and food for your soul.

“My Father’s house has many rooms (or mansions); if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2

“God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,” Ephesians 2:6