Mary, Men, and Women

Poor Mary.

It’s not like being the Christ bearer wasn’t hard enough.  She has to tolerate our deeply mixed motives for loving her.

For men, among others, it’s the need of a mother.  For women she’s a rallying point for women’s rights and empowerment.

There are arguments to be made for both points of view, but she was and is so much more.

There’s not a lot to go on in the Gospels and it’s hard to know how much another version of projected needs were already at work in the first telling of the story, but what a poignant mix of faith, courage, love, confusion, fear, sorrow, despair, and unflinching devotion.  And what a very different starting point if we take that picture seriously: the work and Kingdom of God.

Makes you think that as an intercessor she probably has more in mind for us than a mommy and equal rights — proving yet again that what we want and what we need is never quite the same thing.

The good news is: what a woman.  A Jesuit friend of mine observes: “When a door closes, Mary kicks out a window.”

 

About Frederick Schmidt

The Reverend Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr. holds the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and directs the Rueben Job Institute for Spiritual Formation. He is an Episcopal Priest, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, conference leader, writer, and consulting editor at Church Publishing in New York. He is the author of numerous published articles and reviews, as well as several books: A Still Small Voice: Women, Ordination and the Church (Syracuse University Press, 1998), The Changing Face of God (Morehouse, 2000), When Suffering Persists (Morehouse, 2001), in Italian translation: Sofferenza, All ricerca di una riposta (Torino: Claudiana, 2004), What God Wants for Your Life (Harper, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Revelation (Morehouse, 2005), Conversations with Scripture: Luke (Morehouse, 2009), and The Dave Test (Abingdon, 2013). He and his wife, Natalie (who is also an academic and an Episcopal priest), live in Highland Park, Illinois, with their Gordon Setter, Hilda of Whitby. They have four children and four grandchildren: Henry, Addie, Heidi, and Sophie.


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