Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Recovering like Philip Yancey

"We in the church have as much to learn from people in the recovery movement..."
--Philip Yancey

When Yancey wrote those words, he was writing a "back page" essay for Christianity Today magazine, and it was about the alcoholics anonymous recovery movement.

But he might as well have been writing about recovery from the church.  He's written lots about his upbringing and early adult life in Christian fundamentalism, and his movement out of it.  He's also written about recovery of the histories of Jesus.  He says the gospel writers tend to write like Barbara Tuchman, who's histories read as if they're happening suspensefully for the first time (like watching the movie "Titanic" for the third or forth time, thinking perhaps all will survive and the ending will be happy ever after).  He writes a history of Jesus that way, humbly, as if he never knew certain things about him.  It's a history looking at the facts of the underbelly of the story, so he says.  He's often disappointed with God, he says.  He's disappointed with people who wear God like a bumpersticker, I say.  There's a physical realism to his thinking that reminds me some of some good feminisms.  Feminist recovery work.  This is how and why he some in significant ways influences how I read the Bible.

Once upon a time in a blog post, I quoted Yancey - a quotation about how women were witnesses to the resurrection in the gospels.  Today in a blog post, April DeConick quotes Origen quoting Celsus - a quotation about how women were witnesses to the resurrection in the gospels.  The trouble is, when reading the bible, that many men have used women for many things.  What if they are witnesses?

1 comment:

J. L. Watts said...

But the women were witnesses, and provided the catalysts to nearly all of Christ's major moments - just not the Virgin Birth (solely dependent upon a woman), but the mission to the Gentiles, etc...

Further, while the men went and hide, the women carried on their traditions and rituals.