Why the Virgin birth?
In Sunday school I recall being told Mary was the first woman born without sin. I was told that God sent his seed to her. I didn’t know anything about human sex at the time. Nobody told me about the amazing abilities of the vulva or the complexity of the clitoris. I had only seen dog sex. One dog humping another with wild abandon until the two were ingloriously connected (while my mother sprayed the garden hose).
When I saw dog sex again, my friend said the little dog didn’t feel well and the other one was just pushing her home…
I believed in the God seed thing as easily as the kind male dog pushing “her” home. I also believed I should baptize my cats to get them into heaven.
When it comes to virgin birth, some say you really can’t be a Christian without it. You have to believe that Mary, even while being married, never “knew” Joseph.
The idea is that Jesus isn’t God’s son due to being born of Mary, he is God’s son because God put him in there to be born.
So what does that make Mary?
It sets up a body politic of assumptions. First, why should a woman’s sexuality or uterus be her own if it can be inseminated by the hand or issue of God? Mary didn’t own her body, it was owned by a patriarchal system to be rented for the patriarchy. (Does this sound at all like Texas?)
It sets up a politic of woman’s bodies being managed and manipulated by a maker, or a religious body that has created this inseminating maker.
Additionally, it sets up the politics of receiving. Women receives the seed, and has no choice what to do with it, at least not B.C.E.
I believed in the virgin thing. I also believed in baptism so strongly, I had to do it myself. I trapped my favorite cat, carried her by the scruff and laid her across my thighs, face up, hovering over the dog’s water pan. The pan was green with algae and low, and I filled it to the rim. Kitty wrangled herself upright and bit my hand. I was like God. I was going to save her. She would receive my offer. I calmed her and held her back down, face up, then dunked her head into the pan, “In the name of the Father…” I didn’t get to Son or Holy Spirit, she had already scratched ribbons of blood into my arms before running off. My belief in baptism was just as strong, but Cat, being cat, would not be a part of my system.
I was no John the Baptist.
But why the virgin birth? What is it about the nature of a penis and a vulva riding out a stormy night in marital bliss? Are men just dirty? Or is it women? Or is it that human dignity can never redeem itself with right choices and actions and absolutely must have an outsider as the healer-redeemer?
I understand Matthew and Luke include Virgin Birth in the books dedicated to them. When were those written? Isn’t it important to look at the culture that shames women for their sexuality, shames men for their carnality, and points to an outsider as the only redeemer, as truly suspect.
We live in a time of great need. It is time for compassion, problem solving, and hope. It is time to put aside greed and the politics embedded in religion. What if Jesus was born of two loving parents who did the best they could, and he went on to teach us to love one another, to care for one another. Is that so bad?