Jesus Elevates Women Luke 10:38-42

Praying over the city at Bruegger’s Bagels (800 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN).

November 9, 2018 – Saint Paul, MN

Life has been getting in the way of my writing and my soul has suffered for it. I have several wonderful things that God is working in my life. I’m not complaining, but I must become more disciplined to get everything done in a day that is worthwhile. Today, I almost didn’t wake to hit the gym before this pit stop. Can you see the snow in the picture? Staying under the covers seemed so inviting, but I know my weekend is equally as busy and this really mattered today.

What’s on my mind is the power of women. This recent election created another year of the woman with several “firsts”, but as Dr. Ford’s suppression also taught us, things are far from equal, fair, or just. Let me tell you a couple of interesting stories that illustrate this in a less controversial way.

This week at work I was teaching a class and a gentleman who had never registered before was in attendance. During one of the breaks, he started asking me if “Bryan Ventures”, the name of my company, ever did classes for one of our competitors in the 1980’s. I said, “No, I was still in school then.” He said, “Yeah, but did Bryan Ventures do classes for them?” Clearly, at this stage, he is missing the fact that this is MY company—I built it—and if I wasn’t working there, it would not be doing a darn thing. So, I say, “No, I own Bryan Ventures and we were not operating in this line of work until 1999.” He replies with, “Hmmm, I know I did something with Bryan Ventures in the 80’s.”

To this, I just look at him. I know he’s probably confusing dates or entities, but the fact that he is NOT taking in valuable information I am sharing with him about me and my company is so frustrating. I further understand that the paradigms in his head are limiting him from understanding that the woman he is talking to owns this thriving, professional, successful business.

I get this a lot. It’s gotten less frequent, but some people in class will even come up to me and ask, “Does Bryan ever teach these?” My typical response, in a joking way, is, “Yes, yes he does. BRYAN is my last name.” Some still don’t even get it then—these biases run deep.

Here’s another one that came up in one of our ethics discussions that still surprises me today. A gentleman in class had been reprimanded at work for calling a group of women who had just won an award, “girls”. Now, I personally think a reprimand was a bit overboard IF this was the first occurrence. I think explaining to him how that was offensive to grown women and to suggest he might avoid that language might have been a better route; however, this man was attempting to defend it.

His point, “What’s the BIG deal? I didn’t mean anything by it.” Point one, if someone tells you something is offensive, let’s just listen to them. Who are “we” to tell anyone else what they should accept or not? Another person’s experience is NOT ours and we should respect them enough to be treated in the way they prefer—PERIOD.

I let him rant a bit and waited to see what the group said about this. Most were agreeing with him and/or not being bold enough to bring forth another view so I said, “Well, what if those women called the men at your table ‘boys’?” To which all the men, and a woman or two, said, “That would be NO problem.”

Bull—that is NOT true. The use of ‘boy’ is a put down used to demean someone just like calling a man a ‘Sally’ or a ‘sissy’—both are also SUPER offensive to women. Just imagine what happens when a man says to another man, “Hey boy…” Or worse yet, imagine a woman saying to a man, “Boy, you better…” The use of ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ in our culture diminishes the status of a man or a woman.

Again, we see this refusal to see outside of our belief box to consider new and relevant information that just might help us to pursue better relationships and truly empower others, and all of it built upon a ‘story’ we were told about our role in society based on our gender.

There is another story like this in Luke 10:38-42. This is where Martha is distracted with the preparations for Jesus’ visit and she is frustrated that her sister Mary is just sitting with their guest. Martha believes Mary should be helping. In this story of women’s roles, we could take this in any direction and customarily many pastors talk about being too distracted with work to listen to Jesus, but recently, I was listening to a ROB CAST that put a new spin on this one for me.

Apparently in verse 39 when it says, “…Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet…”, these words are pivotal to understanding the context of this situation. In Jesus’ time, to sit at someone’s feet was an indication of discipleship. Mary wasn’t just listening to Jesus. She was being groomed to be one of the disciples—unheard of in this culture.

So, in Luke 10:42 when Jesus says,” …it will not be taken from her…”, this is so incredibly powerful. Jesus, the social justice warrior, was elevating a woman to a status unrecognized to women in this culture. He was illustrating, that regardless of gender, God created each of us with special talents and gifts to be used for the Kingdom, and He refused to bow to ‘social norms’ that might diminish anyone. He is my hero and I love Him so.

Dearest Heavenly Father, in your creation plan, we all have a purpose. Please help us to see where our bias might be holding us back from elevating and enriching others around us. Adam needed a partner—a help-mate and you built women to help men do what they could not do alone. We thank you for that gift of partnership and may we go forward recognizing the value everyone brings to the world. In your Mighty and Holy name…

I have gotten several prayer requests in the last few weeks. So grateful to be Spiritual connected to you. If you have something on your heart, please bring it forward. God is with you.

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