In case you’re wondering what theological issues to grapple with today, let me put forward for your consideration the Virgin Mary.  This may seem like curious fare for your food-for-thought today, but there’s a lot of disagreement and concern – 2000 years later – about what we do or don’t say about Mary.

Consider the following two articles.  The first warns us of the dangers of obsessing too much with Mary (or more specifically, of asking her to intercede on our behalf).  The second encourages Protestants to spend more time thinking about her.

While I acknowledge the theological accuracy of the first article, I appreciate the contemplative and reflective encouragements of the second article.  What we do or don’t say about Mary ultimately affects what we do or don’t say about Jesus.  Ignoring too much the reality of Jesus’ mother leads us to possibly discount or ignore his humanity in favor of his divinity.  Likewise, elevating Mary’s own person (immaculately conceived herself, perfect, perpetual virginity, etc.) tends to end up reducing Jesus’ humanity as well.  The reality is that once again God uses a virtual nobody, somebody that is not perfect but very real and ordinary to accomplish his extraordinary purposes.  We dare not ignore Mary, but we dare not exalt her beyond what the Word of God tells us about her, either.

We must leave her thoroughly human, thoroughly exceptional yet unexceptional.  Only in maintaining this tension can we hope to maintain the far more complicated tension of our Lord’s humanity and divinity, the Word made flesh.


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