Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Lesson 3-6 "A Woman's Responsibility to Teach"

Wow, I like this lesson. I especially like the case studies; there's a lot to talk about there. How would you teach in a Christlike way in the following situations?
  • Sarah met Judy, a nonmember cousin, at a family reunion. They began a correspondence and became good friends. Judy recently wrote Sarah and asked her about her religious beliefs. [Hopefully Sarah's doing the same --j.]
  • Lynne has been asked to help her younger brother Tom with his math. He says that he hates math and numbers don’t mean anything to him.
  • Eileen has been called as a Relief Society visiting teacher. One sister has invited her to visit but has asked that she not give a religious message.
  • JoAnn’s father has assigned her to discuss the subject of repentance at their family home evening. JoAnn has three younger sisters and a grandmother in her family.
One thing I thought of when I first read the lesson... if women in their role as mothers can be effective teachers whose impact can be lasting and formative (the stripling warriors story seems a natural fit for this lesson), then I wonder what Mary taught Jesus? We can never know, I guess, but he was the master teacher and he progressed from grace to grace over time, and he must have had a good example in her. Some scholars think that Joseph must have died before Jesus reached adulthood, because he disappears from the story, but Mary outlived Jesus and was with him all along, and I wonder what part of Jesus's teaching style comes from her.

Perhaps some of his homey stories that involve close attention to women's work (bread/leaven, sweeping, grinding, for instance) suggest that he worked alongside his mother and that she taught him from her own experiences. There's a passage from Bruce Chilton's imaginative book Rabbi Jesus which makes such an argument (I don't recommend this book - there was a lot to object to in it, but this image of Mary's teaching through the everyday has stuck with me):

"His childhood experience in Nazareth also led him to speak of God in images drawn from the domain of women. While the males of Nazareth, including his brothers, were gathered in the synagogue, Jesus was learning about God from his mother's daily routine. Once, he was looking at a little mustard plant that spread eagerly over other herbs in Mary's courtyard garden.

'What, my son?' asked Mary.

'Malkhuta delaha,' Jesus replied. 'The kingdom of God.'

If she felt puzzlement, it would have increased when she noticed Jesus staring at her while she kneaded yeast into dough.

'Malkhuta delaha!'

These parables of God's kingdom, as seed and as yeast, are linked in Luke's Gospel. Scholars and theologians have often cited them as proof of Jesus' later skill as a teacher. Skilled he indeed became; but before he was skilled, he was incisive. These were the kind of connections that he would have made as a child, watching Mary and working side by side with her. God was not only Abba [Father], but his Kingdom could be seen, touched and shared in the life of a woman in a Galilean courtyard."

Source: Bruce Chilton, Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography (Image Books, Doubleday, 2000), p. 18.

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy i found this blog!! I am always looking for more things that will help me teach my girls!! it is nice to have some other insight from other people to add to my lesson!!Stephanie Shambaugh


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