Hello, Hipsters, and happy Monday!
Let’s get motivated as we look for more meaning in the media.
The release of WW is very timely — it’s hitting a very raw nerve. I am overcome by the vacuum revealed in the political climate and overall cultural tone. Emotions are getting escalated and there aren’t many dialogues (plenty of monologues!).
I want to begin this next phase of the “Wonder Woman” series by making myself absolutely clear: My overwhelming desire is to affirm and uphold the beauty, charm, mystique, worth, dignity, and importance of womanhood.
But I cannot do this alone.
So in response, with humble but dedicated effort I, a man, seek to defend the infinite, sacred worth of womanhood. This may seem strange, but I believe it’s necessary. Thankfully, I’m not alone in this effort.
To bring back our world’s wonder with women, I humbly suggest we look to the maker of women, God Himself. In my humble opinion, there is NO higher authority on the matter than the God who both created and died to redeem womankind.
Today, we will see Jesus do this in 4 ways:
- His Stance
- His Strength
- His Sanction
I’m sorry if that bothers you. I do hope you’ll stick around as I think you will be convinced that there is no greater source to turn our attention to on these matters.
Specifically, I’m going to be spending the next few weeks looking at what Jesus said and did regarding this topic.
They went each to his own house, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. John 7:53-8:6
Have you read this story before? If not, I’m curious as to what are your initial feelings are? How do you feel about the scribes and Pharisees? The woman? Jesus?
I don’t know about you but my bologna meter just goes off the charts every time I read this passage!
The scribes and Pharisees caught and brought an adulterous woman to Jesus. How??? Are they peeper creepers? Were the man and woman fornicating in public? Do these religious leaders hang out at the brothels?
And what I REALLY want to know is: Where’s the man??? How does one commit adultery with oneself?
Many questions will remain unanswered, but clearly adultery is not the REAL issue here. And since adultery is not the issue, neither is the Law. This is nothing more than a masquerade under Moses.
These religious leaders do not care about sexual purity (personally or communally). They do not care about justice, about equity, about truth, about tradition, and most clearly, about women.
Sound familiar? Can you relate?
Tradition even postulates that the reason these religious leaders were able to snag this woman for adultery is because one of their very own was “utilizing” her services! We can’t know for sure. However they pulled it off, it’s pretty safe to assume that they were swimming in the sewers themselves to present this situation to the Savior.
So it’s likely that they are not even concerned with holiness either!
And so here we are. The escort is now getting escorted, possibly by men who solicited her services, to a man they hate. She’s nothing but bait to them! A scapegoat they are willing to stone! A means to an end.
Sound familiar? Can you relate?
This is beyond disgusting, but you almost get the impression that this was not the first time this had happened. I mean, how would such an idea get into their heads? These were supposed to be lovers of God, pure and sanctified men of holiness. But Jesus knew them to be hypocrites. And so somehow they get the idea to use what may have been a hooker as the hook to bait Jesus.
Perhaps they’ve used such methods in the past to “save face.” This is religion and politics at their worst.
This is the reality we observe, a tension where we celebrate the impersonal, desacralized exploitation of women while somehow standing up for their personal, sacred rights as well.
We live in a world where pornography is proudly praised and yet the realities of abuse, slavery, and trafficking are more and more commonplace. There is a direct relationship.
I recall back when a friend challenged a relative of mine on his love and support for strip clubs. She was challenging him to think of the women as his mother, sister, wife, or daughter. He did not like this challenge and quickly dismissed it.
One thing was made clear: objectification is now ordinary.
It’s true of the top grossing industry worldwide or even the girl next door.
Fame, fortune and power cannot even provide security. Ask Taylor Swift, Zoe Kazan, Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren, Lady Gaga, Megyn Kelly, Angela Hutchinson, and Ashley Judd just to name a few.
Or do you recall what was found in Osama bin Laden’s lair? The ultra fundamentalist, who supposedly detested America’s loose morals to the point of orchestrating the worst terrorist attack in our history, had an extensive porn collection! And it was of a nature that our government has not felt comfortable releasing!
Women back from John’s gospel all the way up to today’s, including modern cultural leaders, are just relegated as voiceless, exploited objects.
How does Jesus approach this problem? Let’s continue the story.
And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
Notice Jesus’s response, especially given the context. Remember, He is being set up for his own murder!
Will he contradict Moses, God, and their tradition? Does he join them and throw the woman under the bus? Does He seek His own rescue and give into the crowd’s demands?
How does He react?
Jesus knows the heart of the issue because He knows the hearts of men. (i.e. Jn. 2:23-25) Oftentimes, we know what to do. It’s the doing that we struggle with, especially as we think about what others will say, think, and do in response.
Again, let me stress that Jesus is being set up to be killed here! Does He pursue acceptance and approval? We crave these so badly that we willingly modify ourselves to yield more likes on social media…
So how does Jesus respond?
1) STANCE: He stood with the guilty. He aligned with the condemned. She was a woman and a guilty sinner — this is two strikes in their culture. Even if she were innocent, this still could have happened because she was a woman. But Jesus does not adopt a false view about her and what she had done, and He doesn’t even condemn her!
2) STRENGTH: He brought equality and did so in an extremely controversial way. There was no march, no picket signs, just Jesus becoming a barrier between the unjust accusers and the helpless, rightly accused, woman — a defender to the defenseless. Woman is elevated.
* Side note: This is a great message for Sam Harris and all the “hatetheists” who love to convince the world how barbaric, cruel, and outdated the Scriptures are by quoting random verses out of Dueteronomy! God is NOT for stoning women and children. Read the entire Bible! *
3) SANCTION: He demotes the arrogant, religious leaders. “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” The summation is clear: none of the puffed up leaders were fit for judgment. They were not better than this adulterous woman! She was not subhuman; they were inhumane. Proud, pious, presuming man is degraded.
4) SALVATION: He saved her life and validated her rights, worth, and dignity. If you noticed, this scene is somewhat like a court case. For women, you were guilty until proven innocent. He saved her by exposing these hypocritical heretics. Further, He gave a voice to the voiceless and thus paid her the greatest compliment – she is of infinite value and worth! Her life was worth His.
I am overwhelmed by the example of Jesus who put it all on the line for one guilty woman. This story speaks volumes to how He viewed womanhood.
Come back next week for another story where Jesus stabs the sexist psyche in the heart. Until then, worship the true source of Wonder.
Enjoy this beautiful and thematically perfect song led by one of my favoritie female singers.
This song appears on this album: