mary12Choosing to write about religious topics is risky. All my writing book advisors go on about ‘finding your niche’ and being sure people want to read what you are writing…and of course, being contrary, I wrote the book and then wanted to publish it. It’s a bonus if people buy it, I told my self.

But my self is a horrendous lying thing.

Of course I want people to buy it and read it and like it or think about things. Even if it isn’t easily classified, if it doesn’t have a GENRE, really. Does everything need to have a genre? Apparently, if you want to be found.

So why write about Blessed Mary if the book isn’t genre?

Because of Elizabeth Warren. Or any of the many many other women who are overlooked, whose accomplishments are minimized, who feel like they have to shout to be heard (and then they are called strident). Women who cannot be seen even if they want to be. Women who are told they have no purpose except to make men happy and birth the next generation2d1df2684651e1b0a983f960b4171b4a

That happened to Mary. Here she was, the mother if this big important man, and her contribution was so minimized she barely existed until the Catholics used her image as advertising copy and trotted her out everywhere like a show pony, changing her completely as they did so. They used her as a friendlier contact point than a bleeding man on a cross.

She was the perfect mother figure, a loving presence for all the church. Then the church men started playing with her. (I refuse to call them church fathers.)

They needed to make her unusually pure. Never mind the ‘why’ — what about the how? The church men were puzzled. Oh, right, she must have been born without that original sin thing – that’s how she gave birth without any pain. (Say what? Given that men were also telling every other woman that their births had to be painful because of Eve and the

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At least she’s having fun here…

apple (a set-up if ever I heard one), this all seemed a bit strange.)

But wait – how could she have been born without original sin? Well, her parents must have been unusually holy. And their parents before them, and so on, like some backward-dated Ancestry file. Never mind that previous documents assigned the line of David to Joseph. “We can change that!” the church men said. “While we are at it, let’s make her ever-virgin, unsullied by man. Because women who have sex are dirty. Men who have sex are dirty, too, but they have urges that must be met.”

Despite being the mother of THAT guy, she only gets a mention at birth and at his death. Oh yes, except she is brought up to ‘fail’ him by asking him to make the water into wine at a friend’s wedding. Apparently, this indicates that she doubted his mission. I’d argue that this would have proved that she thought he had unusual powers, but of course, she must have known that given the angel, etc, etc.

That’s a problem, too. How did a baby form in her unsullied womb? Lots of ideas were trotted around, none of them particularly convincing, until people just gave up and said it had happened. The bible doesn’t say much. That hasn’t kept people from discussing how, though, and mostly making the pregnancy seem like a total out of body experience for Mary.

The-Immaculate-Conception
what’s that funny feeling?

This resulted in ridiculous discussions like one I had in my Mariology class, about THAT guy’s DNA. “Of course, he must only have a half set of chromosomes!” one woman opined, forgetting the need for a double set to make that baby grow at all normally. Or let his beard grow.

I can find no mention of Mary’s parenting of THAT guy. But surely she had a huge role in that? Perhaps she was the source of so many of his ideas about mercy and wealth and kindness? What if Mary was the actual founder of the religion we all call Christianity, and if THAT guy had to take the reins because women weren’t even allowed to speak then?

You see? Once you start looking at Mary’s story, questions arise. Why are the church men so mean to her, so determined to wipe her out of the picture, while still using her as a meme? As I dug into books about Mary, I found myself feeling frustrated on her behalf. I wanted her to be given fair coverage, for her and the women who followed her.

I tried to present a story about Mary, done with respect and care. Oh, and let her have a little fun along the way. I’d like to hear from you if you think if I reached that goal.

Find my book on Amazon.

 

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