Rev. Ruth Everhart says in a column for The Washington Post that church culture has been so focused on the Virgin Mary’s virginity that it’s made it into an “idol of sexual purity.”
And that’s set an impossible standard, especially if you’re a rape victim, like Everhart.
“Of course, I was traumatized. But what was harder to describe — and more long-lasting — was how the crime became bound up in a sense of sexual shame. I wondered constantly: Did I somehow deserve to be raped? Had the rape ruined me irreparably? Both questions seemed inevitable. After all, what is the opposite of being sexually pure? Sustaining irremediable damage. Being ruined.”
Everhart says that instead of Mary’s story being about just a virgin birth, it’s also about the “beauty of incarnation.”
“The fact that God chose to send Jesus to inhabit a body is powerful,” she says. “Let’s not assume this basic fact. The incarnation is one of the unique aspects of Christianity. Incarnation means that it’s not a bad thing to inhabit a body.”
Also, Everhart says that “being ruined,” allowed her to appreciate redemption.
“God worked on me gradually, of course, the way God does. The three primary avenues of healing can be named by the roles I acquired: wife, pastor, mother.
“Decades of being a wife taught me healing touch and faithful love. Decades of being a pastor taught me to wrestle with scripture, where some women were healed by Jesus, and others were torn limb from limb.
“Decades of being the mother of daughters made me want to pass along the lessons that are so hard to articulate — that I want you to be modest and good, yes, but also confident in your own skin.”
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: December 19, 2016