Alie Benge

Introductions: Alie

Hellooo!

I have to yell because I live in Wellington. I’m the ‘blogger emeritus’ of the three. Technically I make our blog international.

A bit about me: I was a ‘Christian’ before I was a Christian. I have the surprisingly non-unique experience of realising who Jesus was half-way through Bible College. I was born into a faithful home and when I was three, my parents shipped us off to Ethiopia with the view of being missionary lifers. It didn’t quite work out that way. Three years and two bouts of malaria later, we came home skinnier, disappointed, and amazed that clean water came out of taps.

Growing up I assumed I was a Christian. Why wouldn’t I be? I believed in God right? And that Jesus guy. I didn’t get what he did but I was pretty sure he was real.

After high school I had a terrible idea. Why not join the army? I’ll travel, get super toned and sexy, shoot guns out of helicopters. That didn’t happen. Instead I shaved my head, ate my ever increasing weight in potatoes – not conducive to toned sexiness, and there were no helicopters in sight. At least none with me in them. Instead I got caught up in the drinking culture that is so prevalent in the army, and enjoyed being the only girl for every twenty guys.

After a series of fortunate events God led me to Moore College – a Bible College in Sydney. I needed a diploma to get into Uni, and this seemed like the most practical way. It was something of a shock to the system. The first thing I noticed was how well people loved each other. I wanted their peace and contentment. I didn’t understand why I didn’t have it. I was a Christian too, right? All the while I was wondering why everyone talked about Jesus so much. Wasn’t being a Christian just believing in God?

I was sitting in a lecture when the penny dropped. Out of the blue I understood that Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t something that happened on the sidelines of history. His death paid the price for our sins. That’s how I am able to be in a relationship with God, because his death tore the veil between us and him. There was a lot of face palming over how I had missed that detail all these years.

Becoming a Christian didn’t instantly make my life easy. There was a long process of casting off guilt and unforgiveness, but I have the knowledge that shame has no place in my life now and it is mind blowing how much peace that brings.

As I matured as a Christian, God gave me an anguish for certain things, and these anguishes formed my passions. First was slavery. It kills me that 30 million people are in slavery, and I am praying for the day we see the captives go free. The second is women’s rights. I have problems with the word ‘feminist’ (although I use it for linguistic purposes) as it immediately aligns me with views I do not, would not ever hold. But break feminism down into isolated problems and I’m there with my sign post. I get all ragey when I talk about the slut shaming, victim blaming, porn culture, rape culture and institutionalised discrimination of women.

Anyway, deep breaths.

In the beginning, I struggled to find God in feminism and it took a while to see that he’s right there, marching beside us, with a sign post of his own.

Part of becoming a Christian was learning to use my ‘Jesus Filter’. This is so much more complicated than the ‘What Would Jesus Do’ process. Am I allowed to drink? (a little) Can I read Harry Potter? (as if you wouldn’t) Can I watch Game of Thrones? (ummm). Is God a feminist? (hells yeah). That’s what I’m going to write about on this blog. I don’t know all the answers, but God puts treasure in jars of clay. He loves women and their rights, and I want to figure out how he has something to do with everything.

Peace

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