Saturday, April 19, 2014

Resurrection Witnesses

The First Witness to the Resurrection was a Woman.

   The conservative blogdom went nuts when Nancy Pelosi went to an Episcopalian church to wash feet. A priest is supposed to do that and women are not supposed to do what priests do. That's the logic.
And its crazy. As for being in an Episcopalian church, the upper room was neither a temple nor a synagogue so any house of worship is an upgrade from a dining hall (likely on top of someone's house.)  Nancy Pelosi was imitating Christ in washing feet. Women are supposed to imitate Christ also. Do you have a serious question about that. What it is however, is reflective of a deeper sexism in the church that insists on all male fraternities of unmarried womenless men. Father Martin in his Washington Post essay reminds us that it is a myth or wrong statement that Jesus appeared to Peter first after the Resurrection. He appeared to Mary Magdalene- on purpose one assumes. There is reference to him telling her not to touch him because he has not yet ascended- which has been variously translated to mean 'don't hug too hard' or stop hugging me for those who know ancient aramaic and/or greek.

    So clearly there was a relationship between them that was close and special. She calls him Rabboni not Rabbi- which is a term of endearment not as distant as rabbi/student.  It always gets translated 'teacher.' It was more than that. Like calling one a cherie prof (in french), or something closer than Mr. teacher, Sir.

     The view of women perpetuates the myth that its holier to be without one, because they must be intrinsically dirty or unclean- all of them, all of the time.

    When I went to the church of San Pietro In Vincoli (Peter in Chains) the titular church chosen by the Archbishop of Washington, DC there was a plaque memorial on the floor of "Cynthia, wife of Bishop….." which struck me because that is my name- and because this was evidently someone so revered she ranked enough to be buried along with her Bishop husband inside not outside the church. The church is so old it existed during the time when it was commonplace for Bishops to marry wives.

    What has happened since the practice was banned, only about a thousand or so years ago, is that there evolved a theology intrinsically of the unclean unholy nature of priestly marital union-- rendering all 'flesh' evil- and a denegration of womenhood had to take place to justify it.   It was viewed as holier for men to just remain celibate among themselves. The theology changed to accommodate it. Any sexuality of priests became evil. It intrinsically adopted and incorporated a sort of pagan Platonic Realm of the Forms schism wherein matter was fleshly and spirit was superior and to live a holy life one had to swear off all forms of 'flesh'. It became inconceivable that Flesh could be used in a non- temptation way-that it didn't exist just for temptation but had a 'good' attached even for priests in proper context. That is why Jesus was 'fully human' and fully divine at the same time and in him there is no contradiction in that.

     The church needs to look at their views of women- what they believe they are capable of and expand it. Because otherwise it insults their creator who made women also in the image and likeness of God. God put talents in womenkind that have yet to be fully explored or nurtured. And this has to be one of the more egregious stifling of the Holy Spirit we ever witnessed or lived in.


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