Really think for a moment about the Jesus you have been taught about since you were a kid. Think back to the puffy books depicting Jesus sitting in plush fields with sheep or the Sunday school versions of the Gospel stories translated for smaller children accompanied by Jesus with a halo and outstretched arms. We are shown serene paintings of Jesus with a peaceful face gazing silently up to the heavens or holding a small child gently in his lap. We are taught as children that Jesus is our friend. That he is perfect and sinless. And rightly so. This week’s image of Jesus getting angry in the temple, driving the moneychangers out and being consumed with zeal, stands in stark contrast to the Jesus of our childhood.
I think this Gospel story is very important. It is important for us to not equate perfection with being passive, not to equate our friend with someone who is apathetic. When we love God and we love God’s people, there are things worth getting angry about.
Rath’s story is worth getting angry about. Human trafficking, prostitution, and gendercide are real and pervasive. I have to imagine that if Jesus were here he would turn over a table or two in the name of the abuse women are enduring in the world today. Half the Sky, a book I highly recommend, also addresses how things like rape, honor killings, and lack of health care for birthing women are horrible forms of modern-day slavery. We have to care about our sisters around the world who were created and adored by God. We have to get angry enough to move toward action. The book offers solutions. We are seeing that educating women and giving them micro-loans can benefit entire villages and economies. We are seeing study abroad programs and social media activity activate young people to make a lasting difference. As the book and Spirit so powerfully state, women are not the problem, but the solution.
March 8th is International Women’s Day. This year, dare to get angry about oppression against women. Don’t let that anger consume you, but like Jesus in the Gospel, let’s realize that sometimes destruction has to come before creation. Sometimes anger can lead to creative friction and agitation can lead to action. Buy the book. Check out the girl effect. Spread awareness on social media on March 8th. You are powerful and can be part of the solution. Girls like Rath need your anger desperately.
NOTE: If you are in the Twin Cities, Sheryl WuDunn co-author of Half the Sky speaks Wednesday, March 7th at 7 pm at the University of St. Thomas. Click here for more information. The event is free and open to the public.