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Tuesday, December 04, 2007
The Real Mary - Week 1
During the month of December we will be discussing Scot McKnight's book The Real Mary. The Christmas season is in reality the only time of year that many of us in Protestant traditions ever hear Mary mentioned at all. But beyond her fulfilling her role of birthing a son, she often remains a background figure, unimportant to the story of our faith. McKnight's book is written mainly to those from Evangelical traditions to help us expand our knowledge of who Mary is, but I hope that all of us, whatever our faith tradition, can use this discussion to come to a better understanding of a very strong and dynamic woman.

To start our discussion, I think it would be helpful for us to share what our experience with Mary has been.
  • What do you know about Mary?

  • What impressions do you have of Mary?

  • How were the stories of Mary presented in your church tradition?

  • Is discussing Mary natural for you, or does it seem slightly dangerous?

In reading this book I discovered a new perspective on Mary and elements of her character that I had never considered before. I look forward to exploring some of those here over the next few weeks as we discover together the story of a woman who is so much more than just a supporting character in the Christmas story.

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posted by Julie at 12:07 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 12/05/2007 01:20:00 PM, Blogger Tia Lynn

    I attended a catholic school, but was raised in a conservative evangelical tradition, odd combo, I know. Anyhow, on the catholic side, some would argue their over-emphasis of Mary and on the evangelical side, the pendulum swung over to the other extreme of near dismissal of all recognition of Mary. It’s such a shame to have either extreme distort Mary’s proper place and role. We need a middle ground! Thanks for recommending the book, it sounds fascinating.

  • At 12/05/2007 07:03:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

    I just think of Mary as a regular, spiritual, Jewish (young) woman. Perhaps a little naive, passionate, idealistic -- you know, the kinds of people God uses, because they haven't figured out what is "impossible" yet.

  • At 12/06/2007 03:24:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

    Partly thanks to Scot's book, I've come to think of Mary as a passionate and politically revolutionary young woman - fearless and determined, indignant at the injustices being suffered by her people and ready to do whatever it took to bring God's justice and his kingdom to reality.

    I most certainly don't think of her as "Mary, meek and mild". I read her "May it be unto me..." not as a "Well, I guess if I have to", but as a "Yes! Finally God is doing something. Let's get this show on the road!"

  • At 12/06/2007 06:09:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

    I like the way you put that, Mike.

  • At 12/06/2007 09:24:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    I grew up never hearing about Mary, except to show how wrong Catholics were because they prayed to Mary. So for me, Mary was an off-limits topic because to talk about her could get you branded as Catholic (a bad thing).

    Even after I got over those negative views of Catholics, I didn't think much about Mary. She was presented as the perfect quiet submissive woman and just fit all the stereotypes of a woman that I was told I should be but never really wanted to be. So I wasn't a big fan of Mary.

    I don't recall ever really hearing the words of the Magnificat until just recently and being surprised by their power. It has forced me to rething my view of Mary.

  • At 12/07/2007 03:23:00 PM, Blogger Nancy

    Julie: My experience was similar to yours. I was raised in a Lutheran church and Mary was practically a non-preson outside of a figure in the Christmas pageant every year. Any reporesentation I had of her was "meek and mild" and passively receptive. I heard that my Catholic friends were misguided in parying to her. I could not imagine what power she would have to answer prayer.

    Over more recent years in a Baptist environment, I did occasionally hear some alternative views (from meek and mild) on Mary. More along the lines of a brave Mary for accepting the conception and agreeing to face potential stoning. But still nothing about this social activist Mary.

    I'm just at the start of Scot's book and am refreshed and intrigued by this notion of a more passionate, idealistic and outspoken Mary.

  • At 12/08/2007 11:15:00 AM, Blogger Happy

    I too grew up not hearing much about Mary except at Christmas, and then it was all about the coveted role in the Christmas pageant. The Mary costume was really pretty, and she usually got at least one good solo. (and of course the year i got to be Mary was the year Joseph got laryngitis and I had a cold, and our duet was hideous. my mom still loves to haul it out every year to laugh over it.)

    This book really made me stop and think. Mary must have been one incredible woman of faith - to say yes to what God asked of her! It was no easy thing... but it was her God who asked, and so she said yes. What incredible faith and trust.

    I love that verse that says that "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." I want to be like that... I want to have eyes to see what God is doing, and I want to treasure that vision.

  • At 12/13/2007 12:21:00 AM, Blogger Jenelle

    I really wish I'd read this book and had the chance to jump into this discussion. Maybe I still can. How long will it go on?

  • At 12/13/2007 03:42:00 PM, Blogger Happy

    Hi, Jenelle - you've got plenty of time! We'll be discussing the book throughout the month of December. Feel free to jump into the conversation even before reading it, if you like. :)


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