Tag Archives: the Gospel of Whedon

Sunday Funnies:How Jim West Found My Superpowers

“Speaking of the bizarre, Rod Thomas’s post on on some comic book (and his ability to wrest something worth discussing from the most banal rubbish) is ‘interesting’ reading. Why, you ask, do I mention it if I think little of it? Because, tiny pilgrim, I understand that what doesn’t interest me may – for some godless reason – interest others.”

Jim West, It’s The August Edition of the Biblioblog Carnival

Thanks Jim, for bringing attention to my super powers, in addition to being the third smartest person in the world (like my avatar, Mister Terrific of DC Comics fame), I have partially photographic memory. I also have the ability to create my own lexicon of clever words that should exist, as well as annoy the administrators of Twitter that they have to put me in jail. My weaknesses include but are not exclusively so, are theology & history during the Middle Ages after Constantine/before the Protestant Reformation because I just don’t care, staying on Twitter for far too long (both on my laptop & mobile), as well as pineapple sherbert. Make of that what you will.

Evil foes, beware!

The Quest For the Historical Mary: Akin, Rape Culture, and Christianity

There Is Something About Mariology

“Virgin Mary, Mother of God, become a feminist
Become a feminist, become a feminist”-From Pussy Riot, via Bridget from Women in Theology “Virgin Mary Mother Of God, Become A Feminist”

“The Virgin Mary brings the maternal back into the theological picture, one might say, especially in so-called Alexandrian traditions that emphasize the union of human and divine natures in Christ in such a way that Mary may be seen not only as the mother of the human but also the “God-bearer” or “Theotokos.” “-Virginia Burris in an interview with Religion Dispatches, “Let It Be Unto Me”: Akin, Rape, and the Early Church

I have been thinking about Mariologies recently, and what they may mean for cultures. If Christologies can be used to interpret modes of human action (ethics) and the types of moral agents communities desire to see, I would argue that Mariologies equally play a role in this as well. Postcolonial theorists have criticized the use of the image of women as nation-states (God bless America, and her people, for example) because of the history of war and the war crime of rape. Along with Scripture, particularly 1st Samuel and the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, Chandra Talpade Mohanty‘s Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity as well as science fiction media featuring strong female protagonists have gotten me thinking about Mariologies in a different light. I am coming to the conclusion that there are secular Mariologies that very much parallel and mimic the New Testament witness to the Theoktos (Mother Of God).

Mary superimposed on its Hebrew source מרים (M...

Mary superimposed on its Hebrew source מרים (Miryam/Miriam). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

In the USA, the country serves as both Uncle (Uncle Sam) and Mother, delivering us into life, liberty, and the pursuit of property. The citizens are weened on false myths such as American Exceptionalism derived from exclusive notions of prosperity rather than justice. Nationalism is a false idol and Mariology, parodying Christianity, giving birth to the nationalist war hero (the messiahs). Of course, the thing about these secular Mariologies is that they all start with the premise of Gentile superiority, completely severing the ties between the theological Mary, the Historical Mary, and the nation-state’s pseudo-Mary. The Mariology of this MTV world’s generation is the woman-as-consumer, enjoying her “freedom” while being objectified simultaneously. In a sense, the Kim Kardashians, Paris Hiltons, and Basketball Wives engender the social performance of late capitalism’s “virgin” (re: innocent) birth. The system, it now works for women! It is beyond critique!

One of the frustrating parts about being Protestant is knowing where to start with the personhood of Mary, Mother of God’s Only Begotten Son. Should we start with Karl Barth, as Dustin Resch of Briercrest does? The Patristics? The New Testament? Tradition? The Creeds?

Separating theology from history, many so-called Christian thinkers ignore Mary’s history and Jewishness. Supersessionist theologians tend to inevitably turn a blind-eye to both Jesus’ & Mary’s Jewish roots, while also showing willful spite towards the marginalized and the less fortunate. An example of this is Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri, he of “Legitimate Rape” fame. Akin, a member of the Presbyterian Churches of America, whose leadership has worked to silence scholars mentioning anything positive about Second Temple Judaism: please see the Federal Vision Report: linked here, link to PDF. In sum, the New Perspective on Paul should be rejected because it is not in line with the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF), which is THE standard for the PCA in interpreting Scripture.

Akin, like Augustine before him, and now with Jared Wilson and The Gospel Coalition, believes that the blame of rape falls solely on the victims. Rape victims are cast as liars, in conservative Reformed traditions, and so theologically, rape victims are violators of two of the Ten Commandments at the least: adultery and bearing false witness against her neighbor.

I start with a none-of-the-above approach. Rather, I choose to begin Mariology, as a self-imposed rule, with the story of Hannah, and her cry for justice, which resonates with Mary’s Magnificat. Both reflect a faith in a God of Justice, who takes a primary concern for victims first “YHWH raises the poor from dust”; “God has brought down the powerful from their thrones.” (1st Samuel 2; Luke 2:46-56). There is no Mariology without Mary’s Second Temple Jewish context, and quite literally, as Christians, we cannot reflect upon the story of King David, the monarchy, and the prophets without appropriately thinking about Mary, Jesus’ Mother.

“And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary”

– United Methodist Hymnal, traditional Apostles’ Creed

“For by Isaiah He says,: ‘Hear me, and yes shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you,” adding. ‘the sure mercies of David,’ in order that he might show that that covenant was to run its course in Christ. That he was the family of David, according to the genealogy of Mary [.]”-

Tertullian, Against Marcion, Book 5, Chapter 1

“And in the Gospel according to Matthew, the genealogy which begins with Abraham is continued down to Mary the mother of the Lord”

-Clement of Alexandria, who makes the connection between Israel’s story and the story of Mary, from Abraham to David, from David to exile, in Chapter 21 “The Jewish Institutions and Laws of Far Higher Antiquity the the Philosophy of the Greeks” of Book 1 of Miscellanies (my translation of the title is “Carpets”).

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