by Rev. Kathy Bouchard
Misogyny (a.k.a. sexism) – a pesky bug, a spiritual virus, that infects communities around the globe. It’s a pandemic that often goes undetected because it is so widespread and presents itself as the norm. Women suffer the symptoms of misogyny when they find themselves feeling invisible in a world dominated by men. It can be as simple and insidious as their ideas being quickly dismissed rather than being given thoughtful consideration. It can be as unjust as being paid less than their male counterparts and being passed up for promotion in their jobs. It can be as violent as physical and emotional abuse.
John 7:53-8:11, the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery is evidence of the ancient roots of misogyny. At first glance, the story appears to be about the woman who has been accused of adultery. But when we consider the story in its larger context, we find that she is being used and abused at the hands of the scribes and Pharisees as they attempt to entrap Jesus in a debate about her punishment. She is used as an object rather than being recognized as a person. Jesus responds with an act of resistance that not only recognizes her personhood but effectively thwarts the scribes and Pharisees in their scheme to catch Jesus ruling against Mosaic Law.
Building up resistance to spiritual viruses requires facing difficult truths. The good news is that this story offers all the key players (including us) a second chance, a new beginning, a gift of grace. I hope to see you on Sunday as we peel back the layers of misogyny surrounding this ancient text and consider Jesus’ effective resistance as he speaks truth to power.