Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Inconvenient women

In case you missed it, there was a fantastic cover story about Mary Magdalene in a recent Newsweek: An Inconvenient Woman. Amazing that she’s getting cover story treatment!

Today I want to acknowledge another inconvenient woman, the one who founded Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy.

I’ve often contemplated the impact on me as a female of being raised in a denomination that accepts a woman as its founder. I’m deeply grateful for this—I think it had the effect on me of never doubting my value in God’s eyes as a woman. It never even occurred to me to see myself as second-class or weak or unintelligent. With Eddy as my primary historical hero (I don’t even want to write “heroine”), I had no reason to think my own potential is any less.

And not only was always having her as a role model and leader strengthening, witnessing the men at church, including my own father, joining in this acknowledgement helped me see I could expect respect from the men in my life. We were all working together to further Eddy’s work and ideas, and the men didn’t question this. I find that revolutionary.

In more recent years, as I’ve gotten to know more details about Mary Baker Eddy’s life, I’ve become even more impressed with what she accomplished. She’d be hard pressed to do all that today, let alone doing it back then with all the gender cards stacked against her. She didn’t give up, though, because her ideas were too big to keep to herself.

Today, as I contemplate my own place in forwarding Eddy’s healing system, I realize it’s up to me to do all I can. No one else is going to do what is my special slice to do, just as no one would have picked up the work for Mary Baker Eddy or even Mary Magdalene. The tasks at hand to do this work are 1) become a better healer myself, 2) make myself available to anyone who needs help, 3) not be shy about offering this great teaching when the opportunity presents itself, and 4) not be bounded by tradition or outside opinion as I pursue my vocation.

And I’m on the road to being somewhat of an inconvenient woman myself.

Read more about Mary Baker Eddy at The Mary Baker Eddy Library site.


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