Fifteen years after writing my Theology Masters Thesis, I am still thinking about it. Church Anew recently published a post I wrote about the themes and how I see them playing out in the Church and world today. There is a short excerpt below and a link to the full blog post. Summary: Just as Jesus’ body became more feminine in his ministry and life, now so is the Church. As the Church becomes more inefficient, more porous, flowing out into the world, we have the opportunity to transcend our limiting binaries. READ THE WHOLE POST HERE.
In Jesus’ culture, the male body was associated with dryness, compactness, and density. The female body was connected to coldness, wetness, and porousness. The female body, appearing to leak blood and milk in order to restore balance, was considered inefficient. The superior male body did not require such processes. A man who had a propensity toward nosebleeds, then, would have been considered a flawed, more feminine man. By tying masculinity to health, elite doctors and medical writers of the time ensured the assignment of masculinity to the upper class.*
I don’t believe in binary gender rules and value assignments, but I imagine the writers of the Gospels did. I find it interesting, then, that in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus becomes more porous, and thus more feminine, as the narrative progresses. God declares Jesus — in his ultimate porousness on the cross — divine. God names the inefficient, porous, feminine Jesus, the Christ.