Friday, July 31, 2009
The View and Mary Magdalene
This morning on the television show, The View, a reference was made to Jesus' interaction with a crowd and a woman caught in adultery. The emphasis was on "whoever is without sin, cast the first stone." At least, that was accurate. I believe that the woman was referred to as a prostitute, but she is not so labeled in the New Testament.
What set me off was not that reference, but the equating of Mary Magdalene with the woman caught in adultery. Never does the Bible make that connection. There is no evidence that Mary Magdalene was prostitute, only a close follower of Jesus who never deserted him, even in death.
Why is this important? Jesus made women equals. He welcomed them to study at his feet. As the church formed, women had a significant role, but as years passed and the church became an institution, women's roles were deemphasized. Making Mary Magdalene a prostitute made her less of a model for women, made her a second class citizen in the church. Denigrating the women in the Bible made the men greater and a woman's role subservient. We need to set the record straight. Lift up the women such as Mary Magdalene as role models for Christians and equal disciples of Jesus.
In our society, there is a woeful knowledge of the Bible. Instead there is a cultural knowledge that reflects, not Biblical truth, but beliefs fostered by men and developed by writers, storytellers, and the desire to spice up the narrative.
This common knowledge tends to enhance the risque, downplay the ordinary, and denigrate the women. Often the viewpoint is that of a fundamentalist. If more moderate Christians were allowed to participate in television interviews, maybe a truer view of Christianity would be common knowledge and women would be treated as equals.