“Why are you—a Protestant—writing a book about Mary?” I’ve been asked this question many times. In fact, one person asked me the following question: “Wasn’t Mary a Roman Catholic?” (No kidding.)
Why write a book for Protestants about Mary? Here’s why: Because the story about the real Mary has never been told. The Mary of the Bible has been hijacked by theological controversies whereby she has become a Rorschach inkblot in which theologians find whatever they wish to find. In the midst of this controversy, the real Mary has been left behind. It is time to let her story be told again. Over the past ten years I have read shelves of books and articles about Mary, and I have discovered that almost no one is interested in what the real Mary was like in her day. The Real Mary attempts to fill in that gap and underscore the real Mary.
Why a book about Mary?
Because while Mary’s story is that of an ordinary woman, it is also the story of a woman with an extraordinary vocation (being mother to the Messiah) who learned to follow this Messiah Jesus through the ordinary struggles all humans face. In this sense, Mary represents each of us—both you and me—in our call to follow Jesus.
Why a book about Mary?
Because for years the view of Mary in the Church has been unreal. Mary has become for many little more than a compliant “resting womb” for God, and she has become a stereotype of passivity in the face of challenge, of self-sacrifice at the expense of one’s soul care, and of quietude to the point of hiding in the shadows of others. Nora O. Lozana-Diaz, a professor at the Hispanic Baptist Theological College, traces the influence of what she calls marianismo on Latin culture and claims this false view of Mary (marianismo) oppresses women instead of challenging them to live with courage before God—as Mary herself did! If a false view damages all of us, a more accurate view can encourage all of us, women and men.
Why write a book about Mary?
Because she was the mother of Jesus, and being the mother of Jesus ought to matter to each of us.
Read the rest of this chapter here.
It's great to have a book coming out that looks at Mary as a real woman and not as some docile caricature. You can order a copy of the book from the publishers, Paraclete Press for 20% off before December 3rd. There is also a free study guide available online.
BTW, if you're in the Chicago area, the Emergent cohort my husband leads (up/rooted) will be joined by Scot McKnight himself to discuss the book on Monday, December 11 from 7-9pm at Redeemer Church in Park Ridge, IL. Join us if you're able.