Grateful… a guest post

From Mary Elizabeth Fisher:

I just watched the mid day news…a hundred plus elderly men, really, nearly, all white, all walking in slow procession, dressed in red

and I was grateful…

Grateful for John’s record of Jesus going through hated Samaria and talking to a woman whose life of sexual intimacy was not one of wisdom…

And she is a major witness to who Jesus is… Someone with a dodgy sexual background, a hated Samarian, and a woman…

Then I think of the first human to announce of Jesus – “truly this man was the Son of God…”

And who was he…?

An oppressor of the covenant people of God…

Someone who had been involved in the crucifixion…

And a gentile Roman!!!!!

Then I think of the first Easter Sunday and who did the risen Jesus, the one embodying new creation speak to in the garden… whom did He “ordain” to be the first witness to resurrection life, to new creation…

Not one of the two male leading disciples, Peter or John (whom Jesus was particularly close to)…but a woman…

OH. MY. GOODNESS.!!!

Mary Magdalene what’s more.!!!

SO

Do I think who is elected Pope is important?

YES

Especially if they keep inviting NT Wright to address the Cardinals as they have a couple of times now…

BUT

To be honest I am much more interested in the women in the sex trade who Jesus is encountering to-day through some disciples of His filled with the Spirit…

I am much more interested in what Anji Barker and her husband Ash and their kids are doing in the slums of Bangkok…

I am much more interested in what Lisa Owens and her husband and their kids are doing in the West of Sydney…

I am much more interested in what Megan Du Toit is doing at Morling and Ellen Charry is doing at Princeton or Joy Moore at Fuller..

I am much more interested in what Ali Dench is involved in in Mongolia…

Yes I am much more interested in where sign of the Kingdom breaking into the world is to be found.

As Tim Gombis so wonderfully describes in his writings followers of Jesus are transforming imaginations, are announcing AND living out the fact that JESUS reigns…

And that reign is often, very often, subversive of power structures who do not let the poor, the abused, the foreigner, the oppressed indigenous person ( the Samaritan), the disabled, the women come to the party…

I think of King Jesus turning to the Samaritan woman from some sex trade of the day, turning to the former crazy man in the Greek zone where crazy religions existed, turning to Mary Magdalene and saying as he watches his church around the world with all its ordered exclusions, saying…they just don’t get it do they…?

And on the other hand I do pray that they will chose wisely within the structures of exclusion they have in their segment of God’s people…

And I will keep encouraging those who are lovingly subversive of such exclusion grateful, so grateful for the folks who included me…

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://www.debatingobama.blogspot.com Gregmetzger

    Mary, there is much to commend in this piece and you are a blessing. I am so glad Scot has posted this important voice that speaks to what I see as the deepest sin of the Church that I am in communion with. I do hope that you and many others will read two things as you work your way your understandable ambivalence:
    one is a post I did highlighting important missional themes that have marked Bergoglio’s life and work. http://debatingobama.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-missional-pope.html
    Second is an article in The Guardian featuring an extraordinary story of Bergoglio’s deep friendship with the leading radical feminist of Argentina, Clelia Luro. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/14/the-pope-francis-i-know
    Third is the reaction of the father of liberation theology, Leonardo Boff:
    http://www2.webster.edu/~corbetre/personal/reading/boff-francis.html

    All of this is NOT to say that you will find satisfaction for your concerns about “ordered exclusions” (well put), or even that you should. And certainly not to say that you should be more interested in Francis than you are the wonderful folk you list, but perhaps to see why some of us who share your deep concerns, are also finding such hope, and are glad for the ways Bergoglio already took major steps to break down walls of exclusion for some.

  • http://www.debatingobama.blogspot.com Gregmetzger

    This was the quote I meant to highlight from Boff: “I am encouraged by this choice, viewing it as a pledge for a church of simplicity and of ecological ideals.” The above link was to a different Boff quote. I think that “encouraged” is a good word for how many of us who would disagree with Bergoglio on many major questions because to us the trajectory of his words and ministry is to Embrace not Exclusion.

  • Scott

    It might be helpful to point out that Mary wrote this during the conclave, before the new Pope was announced.

  • Mary

    Hey Greg you summed up what I was seeking for in what I wrote…embrace of those who face structures of exclusion. And it is throughout the church…and no tradition is without fault. I actually am really excited by what you have posted and am directing folk to your articles. I think it would be good if you, or someone like you could write a book on him up till the time he became Pope…

    I get the feeling..for such a time as this…


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