Monday, January 29, 2007

A Protestant appreciation of Mary

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Instead of asking what the real Mary was like, we tend to debate what she was not: whether she and Joseph refrained from sexual relations and whether she had a sin nature. A cursory reading of Jaroslav Pelikan's brilliant Mary Through the Centuries will acquaint any reader with the fulsomeness of such debates. Because Protestants have spent their time debating about Mary, they have rarely attempted to claim her as their own. Consequently, she has become little more than a delicate piece in a Christmas crèche, whom we bring out without comment at Christmas and then wrap up gently until we see her again next Advent.

But there are signs that those days are coming to an end. On the horizon today is nothing less than a Protestant reclamation of Mary, seen most completely in Tim Perry's new book, Mary for Evangelicals (InterVarsity, 2006). For the purposes of this article, we first need to ask, "Which Mary?" A good place to begin our search for answers is Mary's Magnificat. There we will discover not so much the Blessed Virgin Mary draped in piety, but the Blessed Valorous Mary dressed for action.

Read the whole article, "The Mary we never knew", from Christianity Today.


Anonymous said...

Some will inject their own viewpoint into scripture by saying that Mary was a radical. Some will lend their interpretation to what Mary meant in the Magnificat. What we know: Mary was a woman. Mary was a teenager. Mary was humble, pure in heart and in action and chosen by God. What does God ask of us? Does God ask us to be subversive?? IF Mary did anything radical—such as stand up to Herod—she did it not as a radical but as a child of God—speaking the Truth in love—with fear and trepidation.
When Mary sang the Magnificat—she was in awe of the mighty God. She was in total submission to His power, grace and mercy. That does not equate to subversive. Mary was not on a soapbox repudiating Herod, Pilate, the Sanhedrin—Mary was Holy, Chosen, devoted and totally submitted.

Anonymous said...

How about reading "Strange Heaven -the Virgin Mary as Woman, Mother, Disciple, and Advocate" by Jon Sweeney. Paraclete Press 2006