Anybody interested in where I'm headed with this week's sermon can take a look at this article by Joanna Dewey, one of the early biblical interpreters who applied feminist thought to scripture. In it she gives a nice overview of feminist biblical scholarship over the last 30-40 years, and then she talks about the ways Mark 8:34 has been interpreted. This famous verse where Jesus says, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.," has long been used to reinforce an idea about suffering for its own sake completely foreign to the context of Mark's Gospel. Writings by women, ethnic minorities and citizens of the developing world all challenge the Western male understanding that it is the lot of some (many?) to suffer--after all Jesus suffered, so why can't you? It's an easy attitude to adopt when you wre the one in power and in comfort and others are asked to do the suffering.
Grace and Peace,