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The Male Jesus, an Obstacle (Date: Sun, 13 May 2007 08:43:53 -0500)

Maybe it was simply the four evangelists' male lack of understanding of the work it takes to serve a nice snack or meal to a guest, but they seem to portray Jesus as unaware or unappreciative of women's work. Many parables depict men sowing seeds, keeping accounts, looking for their children, etc. - all male images. But how many images of the woman are there? One woman searches for a lost coin and another bakes bread, but there are few indeed. Why does Jesus seem so unconcerned about feeding and caring for the body or of the daily work involved in the average person's life? Women often react with, "What's with these guys?"

It's disconcerting (again especially for us women) that Jesus chides Martha when she complains of having to make lunch by herself while Mary sits and listens to him (Lk 11:38-42). She has performed the womanly task of preparing a nice meal, a necessity and nicety for a guest, and from which he benefited, so you would expect a word of thanks. Even though he clearly loved women, he doesn't seem to appreciate their role or work. Is this the male in Jesus? The only one who seems the least bit sensitive in this area is John (Chapter 4, the Samaritan Woman at the well). The fact that Mary Magdalene may have had a hand in this gospel might explain it.

For many women, this "maleness" presents an intrinsic problem. The humanity of Jesus is framed in his culture and time, but his divine message is in the eternal NOW. Women need to hear the divine message of Jesus now. Might more women authors take this up and provide us with a women's perspective of Jesus' message for today, rather than the insensitive, male-oriented one which is often offensive to women? It is there in scripture, but the message needs translated to the present. We can hardly look to our male writers to help with this for they are products of a male church tradition and culture.

Other voices

Another Voice

Questions From a Ewe

Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

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