The Virgin Mary is NOT a Rape Victim
The Virgin Mary is NOT a Rape Victim
On the morning of December 16, 2016, The Washington Post uploaded an opinion piece entitled
During the season of Advent before Christmas, the liberal media love to poke us Christian rubes with sticks like this. Come on, you know it’s true. This was one wicked stick.
When first exposed to the title, I had two thoughts:
1. Don’t you talk about the Holy Mother as a victim.
2. That’s so odd. I had just been ranting to my dear hubs about the lies told about my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and his family this time of year. Joseph and Mary were not homeless. They were travelling. The rest of the family got there before them and they had to bunk with the animals. Not uncommon back in the day. Jesus was not born poor. Joseph was a carpenter. A skilled trade, in demand then and now.
Then, I saw this article. And, my blood boiled. Isn’t the Bible good enough source material without having to make
shit stuff up?
The Washington Post opinion piece was written by a church pastor named Ruth Everhart. Reverend Everhart is the pastor of a Presbyterian church in Bethesda, Maryland. The Reverend Everhart was brutally raped as a young woman and, naturally, it has affected every facet of her life and caused, understandably, a crisis of faith.
But I must say this: I don’t care how much counseling, Everhart has had. She has not had enough. She is a very angry and bitter woman.
First off the title: “Our culture of purity celebrates the Virgin Mary”. This is not Victorian England. This is the United States of America, 2016. The dominant culture celebrates Beyonce and women go about “Shouting Their Abortions”. Purity, nah.
And, purity isn’t about sex and the body, really. Purity is about your heart.
From the article by Reverend Everhart:
Still, I study her this time of the year — always dressed in blue with downcast eyes — and want to ask: “How was it really? And how do you feel about what the patriarchy has done with you?”
This is an image of Mary. Her eyes are downcast. I thought it was because Mary was humbled that God had chosen her as the Mother of God. Silly rube that I am. Here she was contemplating how the male dominated society had repressed her. I thought she was honored. Nope, according to the Reverend, she was humiliated. Not!
Again, from the article:
I’m convinced of this: Mary is not responsible for what we’ve done to her story. Church culture has overfocused on virginity and made it into an idol of sexual purity. When it comes to female experience, the church seems compelled to shrink and distort and manipulate.
The “church culture”? I have been in Southern Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, AME and Episcopal churches. I have been in Jewish synagogues. I have been in a Baha’i Temple. Each one has its own culture. The doctrines may be different, but each individual church does have its own culture. Blaming “church culture” seems misplaced anger to me, anyway.
Another snippet of anger from the Reverend:
Don’t get me wrong — I love having a body. A body is super convenient for getting around in. It is a gift from God.
If you’re a woman, it’s a complicated gift. But why does Mary’s story have to oppress women when it could liberate us? What would it look like if the church celebrated Mary’s story as a hymn to the beauty of incarnation? (Admittedly, we Westerners could learn a few things from the Eastern Orthodox traditions.)
There she goes again. The “patriarchal” “church culture” oppresses women. Maybe, lady, you are in the wrong church or vocation or _________ (fill in the blank).
At Advent, in preparation for Christmas, we contemplate God’s choosing Mary, we contemplate her fiance Joseph and his belief in her truth, we think about how Mary could have been stoned (now that was patriarchy), we contemplate the Wise Men. Some of us contemplate which is our favorite Christmas Hymn (Longfellow’s “I heard the Bells on Christmas Day).
If you are thinking about how The Church oppresses you, time to look for another job.
One more from the article and then, I promise, I’ll stop.
The fact that God chose to send Jesus to inhabit a body is powerful. Let’s not assume this basic fact. The incarnation is one of the unique aspects of Christianity. Incarnation means that it’s not a bad thing to inhabit a body. Even Jesus’ body was ushered to earth via a birth canal.
See, there’s “birth canal” in the same sentence with Jesus. To some that will be a problem. Why? Because to some people, vaginas are inherently dirty. They can never be purified. And isn’t that the definition of hopelessness? Does it bother you that half of the human population is condemned to hopelessness because their body parts can never be pure?
I think that’s called “projection”, Madame. Jesus came into the world through the birth canal. Slid right out of Mary’s vagina. No problem. Maybe a woman, a midwife, caught Jesus, maybe Joseph caught him on the fly. Offended, nope. Funny, yes.
I was angry and then I felt sorry for Reverend Everhart. Now, I am really, really angry. The Reverend has written a book about her rape experience called “Ruined”. I am not going to link to it. I am sure that it is violent and gripping and heartrending.
Reverend Ruth Everhart is “ruined” in her own mind. I pray God’s healing for her. It seems that she is wound tighter than Hillary Clinton’s Spanx. However, since God tends to be a male presence (Father), he is probably oppressing her and making her think her vagina is impure right now. Bless her heart. I’ll pray for her.
I cannot leave y’all like this. Enjoy my favorite Christmas Carol performed by Mercy Me.