Monday, January 28, 2013

"sexually suspect" women used of God: "the most boring chapter in the New Testament"

It probably takes a woman to realize how profound "the most boring chapter in the New Testament" is.

Caryn Riswald  actually calls it (Matthew 1's genealogy) The Most Interesting Chapter in the Bible:

Perez and Zerah by Tamar.
Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab.
Obed by Ruth.
Solomon by the wife of Uriah.
Mary “of whom Jesus was born.”

These five are vulnerable women on the edge of society.  They are not the relatively empowered matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, Rachel, or even Hannah.  They are women who engineer their own survival and the survival of their people despite the odds against them.  They do what it takes, even if it means sleeping with the father-in-law denying you your rights.  Or lying to protect spies who strike a bargain with you.  Or letting another woman raise your child because she has status and you do not.  Or doing what it takes to survive when the king demands to have you.  Or offering a fierce yes to God’s call.

None of the women are in situations that are ideal:  widowed, unmarried & pregnant, a public woman.  None of them are what we’d like to claim as mothers of the faith.  But they are.  God trusted them – women on the margins of social and sexual acceptability.  They made decisions and engineered their lives, all in less than ideal situations.
  Full article here

More on this:

We began looking at the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1, noting
-that since "genealogy" is literally "genesis" ("beginning"), there is an inclusio from the first sentence of Matthew to the very last sentence ("till the end of the age"). Point:  Who is Jesus in Mathew?
He is the Beginningg and End.

We also noticed that strikingly, against Jewish tradition, women were mentioned in the geneology.
Not only that, but most were controversial and GENTILES (outside the bounded set of Judaism.
We noted yet another inclusio from beginning of the gospel (Gentiles highlighted in the geneology in chapter 1 and end of gospel ( "Go and make disciples of all nations [literally "Gentiles"] 28:18-20

  • not just women, 
  • but 5 (hmm, remember that number)  women,
  • and 5 women who had a "shady reputation".

That's no accident; we decided that  one way to answer "Who is Jesus in  Matthew?" is
"One who includes all types, even outcasts, in his family,  Very centered set, and we are only in Chapter 1.  (:
 By the way, how many controversial Gentile women show up here?

5...hmm. Must be no accident..

Who is Jesus in Mathew?

The One who is not ashamed to include  four triple outcasts:  gentile/women/people with a shady reputation in his family tree.  The fifth woman was Mary, who fit all three categories except "Gentile".  All women have  a "sexually suspect(Luke Timothy Johnson's great phrase) reputation
and were surprisingly and sovereignly used of God.  -DW

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