WWMMD (What Would Mary Magdalene Do)?

Demeaning females and the subjugation of women is nothing new.  We appear to be in the midst of another wave with the so-called “war on women;” this time started by politicians who wish to start taking back some of their control over the female gender by way of legislature.  Oh, if they could just turn back the clocks to when women were more silent in the roles our patriarchal society determined for them, and they were complacent despite their own needs because “Father Knows Best.”

I don’t like the label of “war” on the current struggle going on. War implies violence, death, destruction.  I wonder if sensationalizing in this way was intentional, to somehow make it easier to minimize the actual struggle that is taking place.  As if to say, “She exaggerates everything; it’s all about the drama.”

This is not war.  It’s reclamation.

In ancient times, archeological findings have shown that the female form was most revered and considered divine.  The Goddess belief system from humanity’s past survived for tens of thousands of years in egalitarian societies, many without weapons of war or protections against the possibility of an invasion.  Christianity and other patriarchal religions have ruled modern-day societies for only about two thousand years, and with it they have negated the role of the female as a male’s equal.

It’s not hard to interpret words to bend to a belief system that one wishes to propagate.  Even the Holy Bible has been revised (edited/interpreted/changed) many times since its beginning.  The retraction of obviously erroneous interpretations, however, can be harder to accomplish.  When the portrayal of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute, a rumor started by Pope Gregory the Great in the year 591, was reversed in 1969 by the Vatican, hardly anyone took note, and the myth is continuously perpetuated to this day.

The controversial gnostic gospels portray a very different description of Mary Magdalene.  She is depicted as Jesus’s favorite disciple, not as one of the women who fawned over him and the disciples as a star-crazed groupie.  She is the one who was his closest confidant — the one who understood him above all others.  Many discount these gospels, but there can be no denying that even the books of the bible that do remain have shown Jesus to be a feminist.  Yes, Jesus looked upon women as equals, and this is in the Bible as it is written today.

A couple of years ago, I participated in a study group that focused on feminist theology.  During the topic of Mary Magdalene and her story, I remembered the teachings of my childhood church on Mary, and they were along the lines of the prostitute story.  When “Jesus Christ Superstar” came out, my parents bought the album and I listened to the tracks many times.  My favorite was “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” sung by the character of Mary Magdalene.  As I revisited the song with my new-found knowledge, I got a little angry.  It has such a beautiful melody, but the misogynist lyrics had ruined it for me.  And so, I decided to reclaim it.  I asked myself:  What Would Mary Magdalene Do?  And this is what she said:

Ode of Mary Magdalene (by ElizabethSaidSo)

 I don’t know how this happened
How the facts have been altered
I’ve been changed, yes really changed
In this modern world’s tale of me
I seem like someone else.
I don’t know how to take this
Why desire to discount me
Just because I am a girl
There is no need to be afraid
There’s wisdom in His love
I am His love.
Should I laugh out loud?
Should I scream and shout?
Should I speak of love?
Let the wisdom out?
I never thought it’d come to this
What’s it all about?
Don’t you think it’s rather scary?
That such a thing can even happen
The truth was lost and altered such
That I would be a prostitute!
Not worthy of the Life
It’s just not so.
I never thought It’d come to this
What’s it all about?
Let me set the record straight
We are love.  We are worthy.
That’s the truth. The Gospel truth.
My Jesus taught us how to love
He wants us all to know
I am his love.
You are His love.
We are His love.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Molly
    May 27, 2012 @ 12:57:07

    Elizabeth, these are great remarks. I am trying to remember is this the rewrite of a song you wrote during the Cakes for the Queen of Heaven class?


  2. elizabethsaidso
    May 27, 2012 @ 16:06:52

    Molly – That’s the one! 🙂 I was trying to organize my office a little better (talk about a battle, lol) and came across my Cakes binder, which I then *had* to page through….It was a nice walk down memory lane.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: