31 Liberating Quotes From Christian Women | Sojourners

31 Liberating Quotes From Christian Women

June 19, 2018: Women faith leaders protest the Trump administration policy of separating children from their immigrant parents at the U.S. border. Photo: Jay Mallin/ZUMA Wire/Alamy Live News

Women have always been at the forefront of faith-filled movements for justice and liberation. 

Women were the first liberators in the Exodus story, the first to proclaim Jesus had risen from the dead, prominent leaders in anti-slavery movements, and early champions of voting rights. When we celebrate the lives of these women, we remember where we came from, honoring the women who loved us into this place and time and encourage us to carry on the work of liberation in our own lives.

And, as many of the women quoted below recognize, we can’t always jump full speed ahead into this work. God made us to be flesh and blood creatures — all of us made in the image of a loving God who also took time to rest. “We are not territory to be conquered,” writes womanist preacher Lyvonne Briggs, “We are God’s good Creation, meant to be cherished.” And so we cherish these women — pastors, mothers, advocates, sisters, writers, aunties, and prophets — not just for the good work they have done, but for the way they inspire us to engage our bodies and spirits in patterns of action and rest. May these 31 quotes remind you during each day of Women’s History Month (or any old month!) that all God has made is “very good” (Genesis 1:31).

Once again, the world in which we live oppresses women, fighting to control their bodies from their “natural” fallenness. Once again, the God we serve has always done the opposite. Jesus has always set women free.

-Beth Allison Barr, The Making of Biblical Womanhood (2021)

We follow a God who hates tyranny; who continually leads people in exodus journeys in defiance of authoritarianism. Lift up a vision of who we can be, and are becoming.

-Rev. Jennifer Butler, “In a New Moment, Do a New Thing,” Red Letter Christians (2020)

I refused to allow those who did not see my beauty to deter me from becoming the woman God was calling me to be. I ignored the names that limited my call. I answered to the names that affirmed my call. It is not what they call you that matters, it is what you answer to.

-Rev. Yvonne Delk, “A Soul on Fire,” Sojourners (2001)

Naming and honoring that which is holy in our body-temples makes us God on the earth. We are human expressions of the Divine. We are not territory to be conquered. We are God’s good Creation, meant to be cherished.

-Lyvonne Briggs, Sensual Faith: The Art of Coming Home to Your Body (2023)

Self-expression is a gift to the self.

-Céire Kealty, “What Your Clothes Say About You, According to The Bible,” sojo.net (2022)

Though we yearn to eventuate a future that does not exist, we continue to reach out because we believe it nonetheless. We have to believe in bettering. We have to believe in the lives that come after us.

-Rev. Grace Ji-Sun Kim, “How to Hope When the World Is Burning,” sojo.net (2019)

We are startlingly resilient—crafting faith from ashes and reclaiming holy texts that have been unjustly beaten into swords against us.

-Emmy Kegler “Beyond the Trauma Narrative,” Sojourners (2022)

The cross represents the power that denigrates human bodies, destroys life, and preys on the most vulnerable in society. As the cross is defeated, so too is that power.

-Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God (2015)

God can take all of your questions. God can take all of your tears. God can take all of your joy. Most importantly, you never have to be ashamed of who you are. Yes, you will make mistakes, but who you are is a beloved child of God.

-Rev. Jes Kast, “An Open Letter to Graduates, From a Pastor in Your College Town,” sojo.net (2021)

Jesus will put the cosmos right again. Creator uses love to heal and restore, and we can choose to cooperate with that plan. We were created in Shalom and to Shalom we shall return – to a profoundly good creation.

-Lenore Three Stars, “2nd Sunday of Lent,” With Creation: A Native and Indigenous Lenten Devotional via Unbound (2024)

If we are to continue as members of the church, we must challenge and transform it at the root. What is required is more than simply a “reformation.” I am speaking of revolutionary transformation. Nothing less will do.

-Rev. Carter Heyward, Touching Our Strength (1989)

Telling the truth is an act of love, an act of resistance, an act of courage. Its end is liberation, freedom, and if possible, reconciliation. But there can be no reconciliation without truth.

-Rev. Jacqui Lewis, Fierce Love: A Bold Path to Ferocious Courage and Rule-Breaking Kindness That Can Heal the World (2021)

This journey toward justice will not be easy, but we are not alone. She who is the Spirit is already on the move, making all things new even in the direst circumstances.

-Elaina Ramsey, “The World as it Should Be,” sojo.net (2016)

Religion is being able to actually live sustainably and authentically, rooted in love, with space and land around you … Religion is grounding myself in the practices of my ancestors and returning to how my ancestors thought about the divine.

-Olga Segura, “Olga M. Segura on the Religion at the Heart of Revolution,” sojo.net (2023)

I remember that I am human by constantly telling myself truths: Disability is a natural part of the human experience. Black is beautiful. My natural hair is professional. I can express all the feelings I am experiencing. I am not a machine; I’m human.

-Rev. Letiah Fraser, “Finding My Identity as an African-American Woman with a Disability,” Christians for Social Action (2021)

It is time to build new habits for a new context. What would goodness look like in your life? In your family? In your community? In our nation? Dare to dream it. Then build it.

-Lisa Sharon Harper, “Dreaming My Home Into Being,” Sojourners (2021)

I have a responsibility to all my relatives: To not remain silent. To speak, though my voice shakes. To argue with those who claim to speak for God at the end of our world.

-Patty Krawec, “Why Was Noah Silent at the End of the World?Sojourners (2022)

The Proverbs 31 woman is a star not because of what she does but how she does it—with valor. So do your thing. [..] Take risks. Work hard. Make mistakes. Get up the next morning. And surround yourself with people who will cheer you on.

-Rachel Held Evans, A Year of Biblical Womanhood (2012)

we are each other’s / harvest: / we are each other’s / business: / we are each other’s / magnitude and bond.

-Gwendolyn Brooks, “Paul Robeson” (1984)

I’ve been trying to come to some kind of peace that living is hunger. It’s this lovely want.

-Kate Bowler, “Maybe There’s No Moral to the Story,” sojo.net (2021)

Our religious activities are worthless if they aren’t causing us to live and act justly. God does not divide between justice and worship.

-Kaitlyn Schiess, The Liturgy of Politics: Spiritual Formation for the Sake of Our Neighbor (2020)

It’s tempting to look for God at work in big, spectacular ways, to assume that God’s movement involves wild answers to prayer. But often God’s movement is more subtle. Through the people around us, and through the bread we share, God whispers to us, I love you. I’m with you. I care.

-Kendall Vanderslice, By Bread Alone (2023)

I may have limits, and I choose to live within the bounds of my fair share. When someone else needs something, I choose to give freely, because I trust that when my time of need comes, my community will share with me.

-Liuan Huska, “Living a Life of Abundance Starts with Community,” Sojourners (2023)

I need a love that is troubled by injustice. A love that is provoked to anger when Black folks, including our children, lie dead in the streets. A love that can no longer be concerned with tone because it is concerned with life. A love that has no tolerance for hate, no excuses for racist decisions, no contentment in the status quo. I need a love that is fierce in its resilience and sacrifice. I need a love that chooses justice.

-Austin Channing Brown, I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness (2018)

We just have to convince other people that they have power. This is what they can do by participating to make change, not only in their community, but many times changing in their own lives. Once they participate, they get their sense of power.

-Dolores Huerta, “Interview: Dolores Huerta Discusses Grassroots Activism and Weaving Movements,” San Diego Foundation (2016)

Mother Earth is the oldest ancestor; she knows our story as peoples and has witnessed our transformation.

-Sandy Ovalle Martínez, “Embracing Ancestral Wisdom to Fight Extreme Weather,” sojo.net (2021)

I think awe is an exercise, both a doing and a being. It is a spiritual muscle of our humanity that we can only keep from atrophying if we exercise it habitually.

-Cole Arthur Riley, This Here Flesh (2022)

I cannot imagine any better argument for women ministers in all of scripture than Mary, who quite literally bore the Word-Made-Flesh in her own body and gave birth to him. She carried God around in her belly and then labored to get that Good News out of her womb and into the world; if that’s not an accurate depiction of preaching, I don’t know what is.

-Rev. Kyndall Rae Rothaus “What Does the Bible Say About Women in Ministry?” sojo.net (2021)

We are not spirits that are simply housed in bodies. We are our bodies. There can be no spiritual life that does not engage the body.

-Chanequa Walker-Barnes, Sacred Self-Care: Daily Practices for Nurturing Our Whole Selves (2023)

Womanism is the gardener who pulls up the weeds by the root. She knows that it is simply not enough to pluck the weeds that we see on the surface; rather, to truly eradicate the weed, she must grab it by the roots that have taken hold of the Earth, growing where it is not wanted, so that her soil will be fertile and her other plants will not be choked by the invasive intruder.

-Lauren W. Reliford “The Liberating Theology That Transformed My Understanding of God,” sojo.net (2023)

Rarely, if ever, are any of us healed in isolation. Healing is an act of communion.

-bell hooks, All About Love (1999)

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