Mary Magdalene's life changed irrevocably. Nothing could be done to change what had happened. After finding the tomb empty in John 20, the other disciples returned to their homes. Mary could not leave.
Recently, a friend asked me an unexpected question. “Do you identify first as a Christian or as a feminist?” I was surprised by but not unprepared for her question. I’d considered it before, and the answer is complicated. Stick with me here.
“Do you want a divorce?” My husband was momentarily speechless. From the earliest days of our marriage, we struggled with sex. By the time I asked the question that so shocked my husband, it was apparent that we couldn’t resolve the issue by talking to each other or to our friends or by reading books.
Christians are used to hearing about Joseph and Mary, usually around Christmas. Then, they’re the supporting cast, and Jesus is the focus. They certainly don’t often come up in conversations about Christian marriage. Perhaps they should.
Growing up in a complementarian, Baptist church environment, I thought I knew exactly what God expected a Christian wife to be. I was confident that a good Christian wife keeps her house clean and orderly; it is to be her hard-working husband’s haven. She ensures that her husband comes home to a homemade meal every evening. She stays out of the financial affairs of the home because her husband is the breadwinner. She obeys him without question. She supports him no matter what. She does not complain. She does not rebel. She is her husband’s faithful (albeit often silent and invisible) helper.
Seventeen essays explore how the biblical Miriam, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary of Bethany, and Mary Magdalene were portrayed in the early Christian era, also touching on Jewish and Muslim interpretations.
A summer issue of Time magazine caught my eye with the title: “The Childfree Life: When Having it All Means Not Having Children” by Lauren Sandler. The link will not provide you with the full article, so I encourage you to either purchase the issue online or run by your favorite local bookstore/library for some coffee and a relaxing read.
I was raised in something of a theological echo chamber where my complementarian convictions went undisputed. All diligent Bible readers would obviously conclude that men were to lead, and even more obviously, that women were not to be pastors. What could be simpler?