Oh man. I devoured books as a kid. I am the person I am in large part because of the books I read as a child.
Now that I think about it, my parents did a pretty good job getting me books with female protagonists and written by women authors.
Books and authors that still stick with me and I still think about a lot:
Do you have any thoughts on successful social justice work done in a Christian spirit, but without the neg. side of proselytiz/evangeliz?
Leaving aside your characterization of evangelism as negative (my feelings on this are ridiculously complicated, but I see the issue more in shades of gray), I’ll just try to focus on the first part of your question.
I think Christians can do social justice work without proselytizing. The most successful models I’ve seen/heard of are ones where the help being offered is not at all contingent on whether the recipient accepts Christianity as well. Obviously a lot of Christians are going to be in foreign countries or doing social justice because of their Christian beliefs, but that doesn’t necessarily have to imply anything ethically shady.
Did that answer your question?
That’s not a stupid question at all.
My basic answer is that the Incarnation is not subjugation. Mary gave her consent; she had free will. She had the right to say no and she didn’t. “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). I’m honestly not too troubled by the Incarnation itself, although I do agree with feminist theologians who have problems with the implications of the virgin birth for women’s roles in Christianity.
Of course, my Protestant brain start freaking out anytime I get near the topic of Mariology, so I’ll be careful here. Mary deserves a lot of respect and veneration, more than most Protestants give her. However, I am wary lest veneration of Mary leads to furtherance of a patriarchal society. It’s very easy to step from holding up the Virgin Mary as an example of extreme obedience and virtue to setting up standards that all women need to abide by. Mary’s ‘yes’ to the angel should not necessarily always inform the behavior of women or the role of women in society and the church. So, while I don’t think of Mary herself as being subjected, I do think that Mary’s example has all too often been used throughout history and today to hold women to standards that are unhealthy.
As for your idolatry question, I’m sure that sometimes veneration of Mary can turn into an unhealthy obsession or idolatry, but I don’t think that honoring her decision needs to distract from worshiping the child that she bore.
[If anyone has any other questions, you can ask them here.]
Yeah I’ve been reading theology for quite a while now. It’s not like I just started this year from scratch.
I also don’t include books on my reading list if I’ve only read chunks of them. I read quite a bit of City of God last semester for a class but not the whole thing, so I didn’t list it. I’ve read the Confessions several times though.
I’ve read a lot of Aquinas, a lot of Luther and Calvin, several of Jonathan Edwards’ sermons. I was on a phase last year where I read a bunch of the early Church Fathers. If you don’t see me talking about some of the older theologians it’s not necessarily because I haven’t read them.
I’m not sure his ministry or the purpose of his incarnation was for his disciples to soak up all of his teachings. Sure, their inability to grasp who he really was and what he was teaching was frustrating to him, especially at the end when he’s sitting there all alone and they’re sleeping.
I think he did have something to fulfill - the ultimate destruction of the power of evil, our liberation from sin. Isn’t that why the crucifixion is the ultimate sacrifice of love? It was the decisive moment in a war, the most perfect display of strength through weakness.
Christ entered into human misery and brokenness and destruction and redeemed it. He could have run away, but he didn’t. And then when everyone thought he was gone, he came back. It’s the best story I’ve ever heard.