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Saturday, May 1, 2004

Mary's Feminism

Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word. Luke 1:38
In society today, we see a lot of anti-male philosophy being promoted. This ranges from the thought that women are equal to men to the much radical thought that the only purpose for men is to donate their sperms.
This is the world's view of feminism. Indeed, this type of feminism has even infiltrated the church such that there are moves in the Catholic Church to pressure the pope to allow women priests for the sake of equality. There is even a move to remove all male references to God, some even go to the extent of calling HIM a Mother! Some translations of scripture already does that!
My purpose for writing this article is to give my perspective on feminism as defined in scripture.
Christians have often been accused of putting down women, yet, if we read scripture, we see that Christianity has always extolled the value of women in society. It is only in Christianity, Catholicism specifically, where we extol a woman over all human beings. Mary is not God but she is given the highest respect (note, the word is respect and NOT worship) above all other creatures, even higher than her spouse St. Joseph! The accusations that the Church is anti-women therefore does not hold true.
These models of womanhood did not strive to be better than men. They did not insist on doing what the men were doing. They did great things because they were obedient to their Lord and God. Their womanhood comes from humility before God. Mary called herself a handmaid of the Lord. She spent her whole being joined to the sufferings of one man Jesus Christ, her Son.
Yet, if we look at Mary, we see that she was not a weak woman. He Magnificat tells us that she is a strong woman. Someone who can proclaim the downfall of the princes and the proud is not a weak person. She was in fact, a strong woman who probably played a major part in holding the apostles together after the death and resurrection of Jesus. This is probably why she was specifically mentioned in list in the Acts of the Apostles.
The difference between Mary's feminism and the secular feminism is that Mary knew where her strength lies. She knew that her strength lies in the Lord. “He who is mighty has done great things for me”.
This is true for the other women in scripture. Deborah, in the book of Judges, Judith and Esther conquered their enemies by trusting in the power of the Lord. Ruth had to be a strong woman to leave her nation and live with her mother-in-law in a foreign land. Hannah pleaded with the Lord and relied on the Lord to take away her shame.
These women and Mary show that feminism is not in being better than men. Feminism is knowing where they stand before the Lord and trusting in the Lord. It is a willingness to obey the Lord no matter what the cost.
Let us then pray that there will be more women who will embrace the feminism of Mary so that they can live their lives in the power of God.

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