[continued from Part 2] . . . [read Part 1]
As was in the past, and sadly still today, zeal sometimes doesn't allow for peaceful communion to continue between those who share the common faith.
To follow the logical conclusion that Mary gave birth to a man who was revealed to be Lord and God in the flesh, was to me, an effort that eventually caused trouble.
For some, this notion about Mary was something that would have (and still could be) kept in one's heart, for it isn't theologically a salvation issue (although some may argue it to be).
For the motherless child, what is the harm in viewing Mary as also their mother, if not simply to draw a maternal example or the example of a righteous woman?
The salvation issue is the confession of the heart through one's mouth; Yeshua / Jesus is Lord...all other things secondary.
Notice how the effort of some Catholic priests in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries in correcting the waywardness of dogmatic Catholic church teachings eventually led to protests, divisions and bloodshed.
The names of these priests would eventually be titled after sects, denominations (named movements) and much more blood would be spilled as the church would begin fighting internally, now seeing itself as divided, where no such division previously existed.
How can I say this?
There is only one church, so why does the ignorant think they can perceive who is and who is not part of God's kingdom?
A new waywardness emerged, hypocritically clothed in “righteous judgment”, and this festering still continues to plague, with accusations, those who desire to live out their lives in peace.
The warning not to argue over words is still being ignored.
What was an early teaching about dealing with those who profess the Holy Name, yet are not of your particular group?
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your Name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
“Do not stop him,” Yeshua said. “For no one who does a miracle in My Name can in the next moment say anything bad about Me, for whoever is not against us is for us.”
- Mark 9: 38-40
This passage speaks especially Today, and is applicable in every scenario where perceived group differences may arise among those who call upon Yeshua as Lord and Savior.
Peace and unity is the aim despite differences of perception and opinion.
Instead of firstly standing on the Gospel's message that, by logical conclusion a non-believer cannot come to faith in Yeshua as their Lord, God and Savior, why do religious people think arguing over dogmas can lead people to make faithful conclusions?
And why does one think they know if another is under God's grace, saved or not, or something else?
Can they see another man's heart and soul?
If not, why then do they judge another man as if they could?
Because they don't agree with the words and thoughts from that man?
This is not only unfruitful, but is futile given the fact that faith is gifted by God.
Is a man disqualified from salvation if they believe other things besides or beyond Yeshua as Lord?
Speaking of Mary in logical terms, can she be a virgin and also give birth to a child?
If this notion lands on deaf ears as illogical, let it be illogical for the faithless without ears to hear.
But for those who do believe, although they may believe other things which you / your group may find false, why cannot you be unified by what is agreeable?
Why argue logical conclusions regarding things that are miraculous, mysterious and only accepted by God's gift of faith to the individual?
This also goes for how one group may perceive Mary and speak certain titles attributed to her.
What eternal difference is it to you personally if you don't agree?
Who calls you to accuse and protest another man's extracurricular beliefs?
Speaking to nefarious attitudes towards Mary; it isn't Mary's fault that men have reached further in their words than what was revealed to them.
She is the “mother of the Lord” as mentioned in an earlier part of this blog series, and if “Lord” is argued to be synonymous with “God” (in almost every instance it theologically can be), where does such contention actually originate if such is the heavenly testimony?
Was Christ contentious with those who opposed and maligned Him?
Wasn't He gracious, humble and kind even to those who desired Him dead?
It can be concluded that such harsh contention is not from Above, but from below.
One thing that needs to be objectively acknowledged is how a focus on Mary's role in the world, previously as the Christ-bearer, but now as someone revered, has become a key and sign for the rest of mankind.
Mary's veneration has caused a positive influence the world over by changing the way paternal societies view women.
Christ initiated men and women praying and worshipping together, breaking social and religious norms.
Such a notion was not previously allowed in Jewish circles, for men and women worshiped separately in synagogues, and this is still the case today in certain religious groups.
The social maturity of bringing women into worshipping union with men has evidently been established, while not yet universally realized.
How has Mary's position or character been viewed in the Islamic world?
Some Islamic theology holds the premise that Mary and Yeshua were blameless / holy above all other humans that have existed.
Some legends of Mary in Islam, being understood not as simply another woman but someone quite special and honored, has somehow helped that religion bridge gender roles from a superior – subordinate model towards something more mutual.
The evidence is there in Islamic theology and writings, despite arguments of the lack of cultural example in some Islamic countries.
I see this as quite a positive and significant idea considering the current mainstream Islamic ideas regarding Christ; namely 'who' and 'what' Christ is according to human logic, although as I've already stressed, the Gospel message goes beyond logic in declaring clear divinity status to Christ.
Yet, I must share that even the Quran does subtly forward the message of Christ's divinity...it depends on how that book's poetry is interpreted...also considering the portions of that book that clearly contradict the other portions.
In some Islamic theology, Mary is elevated as being free from sin, or being herself spared from any evil influence.
This furthers the notion of Yeshua being born a “pure boy” and “protected” from sin / evil / Satan's touch as is mentioned in Islamic writings.
Logically speaking, the vessel birthing God's mercy (Yeshua) also being found pure and sinless, would be a conclusive notion.
This is quite significant, and a positive reversal of the “women are evil” notion prevalent in some ancient societies, or as can be derived when people look at the Adam and Eve narrative, speaking of women being 'weaker' and incapable of being righteous / obedient.
Since Christ is likened to Adam regarding how Adam came to exist (without father and mother) and in full submission to God's command(s), in Islamic narratives Mary is also likened to Eve as the obedient woman who didn't fall into temptation like Eve, but fully obeyed God's desire for her life.
In essence, Christ and Mary are seen as the perfect examples of a man and a woman, but this may be me jumping to a conclusion some religious Muslims would contest...but such things are expressed in Islamic writings.
Islam has developed their own archetype of perfection answering Mary and Yeshua in Muhammad and Fatima, Muhammad's daughter.
The Islamic religious narrative is to uphold Muhammad and his daughter Fatima as being that perfect example of man and woman.
Some Islamic commentary has Fatima replacing the position of Mary, and regardless of the consternation this would have for religious debaters, I find this to be evidence of the woman's role, position and peerage being altered for the better because of Mary and the effort of men expounding on her role.
Hasn't this been what some Christian doctrines and dogmas have desired to express all along?
The two becoming one in purity and in spirit (brothers and sisters) and if God wills it, in spirit and physically (husband and wife).
The human examples of what it means to be obedient to God, now being found and expressed in a man and a woman, Mary and the Christ in Christianity, Fatima and Muhammad in Islam...that latter showing how God meets people where they currently are in their journey.
Speciality, once again...and God reaching for people for people's sake.
Considering man's logic when looking at mysteries from Above, it makes sense that men will have a role model in Yeshua (the role of a father, son, brother, friend, peer, example, etc.) while women will also have a role model in Mary (the role of a mother, daughter, sister, friend, peer, example, etc.).
And although every culture does have its mirroring, even though the names may momentarily be different, these realities exist for a greater purpose than we can currently wrap our minds around.