Not only is what the virgin birth implies about female sexuality disturbing, but it strips Mary both of all agency and of any identity other than the “Mother of the Lord.” Re-read the first two chapters of Luke (Matthew is strangely unconcerned with Mary’s point of view) and notice that even as Mary is showered with praise, she has no more agency than in Matthew’s version, which is told entirely from Joseph’s point of view and has Mary as basically nothing more than a MacGuffin to move the plot forward.
Gabriel tells her she will conceive the child by the Holy Spirit, then tells her what to name him. She goes to Bethlehem only because Joseph must travel there to be registered for a census (a proposition that makes any real historian want to get blackout drunk). Considering the deeply patriarchal world Luke was writing in, it’s astonishing that he even gives Mary as much characterization as “She [Mary] treasured all these this in her heart” (2:51).
This is all very sad, because if you ask me, Mary does deserve to be lauded and venerated.
The theologians, apologists, and clergy who have for centuries all but deified Mary while holding up her perpetual virginity and devout submissiveness as virtues are actually right, in my opinion, but for the wrong reasons.
See, I think Mary probably was someone that all women, and especially mothers, should look up to.
Maybe I’m biased because I’m a single parent (like Mary was), but the strength, wisdom, and courage it must’ve taken this dirt-poor Galilean woman to raise at least seven children (see Mark 6:3 parr. Matt. 13:55-56) in a po-dunk town like Nazareth all on her own is something I can only imagine.
What I’m saying is, Mary not only raised seven (or more!) children all alone, she raised them to be woke. She possibly got knocked up as a teenager and then was forced to marry and pop out more children until Joseph died, all in a world where women were barely a step above property.
And what do her children do? One of them founds a radical religio-political revolutionary movement that evolves into the greatest religion the world has ever known, and the other invents communism.
I’m only half-joking, by the way. This post isn’t about the possible communist overtones of the Kingdom movement, or the exact political nature of the Kingdom of God.
This is about Mary, a role model to millions of people all over the world but for all the wrong reasons.
How about instead of glorifying her for things that a bunch of men made up about her, we glorify her for being the badass single mother to a bunch of rebellious, activist children who changed the course of human history that she actually was?