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Women who taught Jesus (and what he learned from them)

January 25, 2018

Ann Durham taught him (these lessons: to live among & to learn to love and appreciate people who are very different from you religiously, racially, linguistically, socio-economically, sexually – because they’ve taken us in when our family was vulnerable and far from home; to resist folk who doubt your birth certificate and incessantly sneer about your legitimacy; to be okay with yourself when your father leaves the scene after you reach puberty; to be a community organizer & somebody who taps resources to give food to people who are poor and can’t manage well for themselves, or who just won’t for whatever reason, and to do all that with compassion and without judging their motives).


Oh, wait. Ms. Durham is Barack Obama’s mom. I meant Mary, the mother of Jesus, taught him (these lessons: to respect the Egyptians who didn’t throw the family out when they were refugees, in de facto deportation from home because of the actions of the leader of the land; to resist the rumors of illegitimacy and to trust that angels had spoken to your parents; to listen to your mother when your father’s absent; to help out at a wedding, to make a miracle when the so-so wine has waned and the people at the party are already tipsy and there’s only water left to give them;  to use what you’ve learned there to serve more people generously and from your deep reserve of compassion and out of the deep resources that they’d never earn for themselves, without judging their motives).

Hillary Clinton taught him (these lessons: to break the Billy Graham Rule; to find yourself alone with a woman everybody loves to hate on; to listen to her with respect; to enjoy a give-and-take with her actually; to forgive her; to encourage her to help others, in compassion, whether they deserve it or not; to change an entire village and to recognize it takes a village).


Oh, wait. Ms. Clinton is Billy Graham’s friend. I meant some unnamed mixed-race woman, in an unnamed village in Samaria, taught him when foolishly Jesus found himself alone with her, tired with her, hungry with her, thirsty with her (these lessons: to trust her to have the resources to slake you and your parched mouth; to listen to her with respect; to enjoy a give-and-take with her actually; to forgive her; to encourage her when she spontaneously runs back to a man who’s not respected her sexually, and to all the others; to support her in her efforts to be an evangelist, a village changer who believes in the power of a village to help folk and to change the world).

The Rev. Father Wil Gafney taught him (these lessons: to listen. Despite what Euro-American seminary-chancellor-disciple John Piper was urging men like you otherwise, just to listen & learn & be moved, then, to action).

Oh wait. That professor teaches seminary men and women elsewhere. I meant that the woman whose daughter got caught up in #metoo taught Jesus. You know, that woman, yes, from those foreign sh-thole countries, Tyre and Sidon, Syrophoenicia, or was it Canaan? Anyway, it’s in Matthew 15 or in Mark 7, in those canonical gospels if we have to go there. She taught him (these lessons: to listen. Despite what your pure-race “make Israel great again” followers are urging men like you otherwise, just to listen & learn & be moved, then to action despite the ostensible cost to the fatherland).

Lottie Moon taught him (these lessons: to trust her to get the good word out when the men are nowhere to be found).


Oh wait. Ms. Moon, who taught hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of men, was that evangelist in China whose name has been used by the Foreign Mission Board or the rebranded International Mission Board to raise funds each Christmastime in Southern Baptist Churches across the US. Fortunately the Southern Baptist Churches are finally apologizing for their race based slavery and are distancing themselves from other groups latched on to white supremacy and are slowly entertaining the notions of what it might be like for women evangelists to teach the male seminarians. I meant Mary Magdalene taught him (these lessons: to trust her to be the first to get the word out when the fellas are all hiding out in some upper room somewhere, doubting).

It’s possible other women taught Jesus (other things too). This may not be the exhaustive list. Who could teach us (more)?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2018 10:18 am

    Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.

  2. Ken permalink
    February 26, 2018 3:32 am

    That’s a lot of reading into the text. I may as well believe the Orthodox stories of Saint Photina (the Samaritan woman at the well). At least it’s older and grounded in some tradition. Not some political rant on a blog.

    As for the text itself, Jesus never forgave the Samaritan woman. It doesn’t say either way. All he did was chide her for focusing on land (Jerusalem vs Mt. Gerizem) It ends abruptly with him turning his attention to his disciples.

    Anyways. What do you teach God? The incarnate Logos himself. The whole notion is ridiculous. But I gather this place isn’t very down with Nicene tradition.

  3. February 26, 2018 7:18 am

    Thank you for taking time to comment here. I only wish you’d have had a bit more time to read what you were commenting on to try a little more to understand both its politics and its perspectives on what it might mean if Jesus had learned not just from one woman but from a few women.

    Well, without asking you to stay here too long perhaps you’ll move on. Would you consider a post at a different blog, such as this one, that has the following clause in it?

    Theological conservatism is typically very good at using Christian principles to shut down political struggle…

    I wish you all the best in whatever it is you’re seeking to do.

    – J. K. Gayle

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