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As I’ve asked myself this question over the past few days, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Mary. As in Mary-and-Martha Mary. When Jesus went to Mary and Martha’s house and Martha was all frantic and nervous about dinner getting on the table and the candles being lit just right, or the oil lamp, or whatever, Mary was sitting at Jesus’s feet, literally. Like he was her teacher, and students were only male then, mind you. She was sitting by his feet, listening to him while chaos was occurring in the next room. Then Jesus said, “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). The best reward. And she was a woman. She was not praised for her work, for her social status or ability to rise above female oppression and be highlighted in the most important literary work of all time.
What was she praised for? Her ability to be oblivious to all but Jesus.
Seeing as how Mary has exemplified the Christian life ever since she appeared in the gospels, I think that’s what being a Christian in the midst of feminist society is supposed to look like: to be so obsessed with Jesus, we just don’t care about much else. And to be so steady at his feet that we find ourselves able to love as he did. Love ourselves, love our gender, and love men, even the ones we think should value us a little more.
One of the most destructive attitudes of feminists is anger. It weakens the argument. Who wants to listen to someone who’s mad at everybody? Their words don’t make sense. They’re self-righteous and annoying. But what if we as Christian women who believe in our ability to be educated and have careers (a simplified definition of feminism I mentioned last week) stopped letting anger or self-righteousness drive that belief and started being oblivious to our entitlements and, instead, focused on Christ, our teacher?
That’s harder to do than striving to prove ourselves—something I do often and perhaps you do too. It takes more strength to relax and get over myself and admit that in reality I am nothing. Not because I’m a woman, but because I am human.