Title

The apple didn't fall far from the tree : meeting the woman who formed the Lord.

Date of Award

5-1-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

School

Drew Theological School

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry

Abstract

The woman who speaks more words than any other woman in the New Testament is mute in most Protestant churches. She is the unfortunate victim of a church fight that is more than 500 years old. My journey with Mary began with a mystical encounter at a shrine in Brazil. It has become a personal and theological journey with and toward the mother of the Lord. This strikes some people as odd and perhaps it is, but it is my Protestant faith that has propelled me deeper into this journey. For example, how can so-called "people of the Book" ignore the rich theology found in scriptural passages about Mary? What about Mary the prophet, the theologian and the very first person to believe the Good News about Jesus of Nazareth? In my studies, I have discovered that I am not alone. Mary has been making a come-back among the Protestants since the 1960s. What happened to me has happened to other children of the Reformation. Are any of them in my congregation? During the four Wednesdays of Advent 2012, I taught a course entitled "There's something about Mary" to approximately sixteen persons. A survey was completed by most of those persons beforehand to gauge their level of knowledge and interest in Mary. The four weeks were divided as follows: Mary in the Bible, Mary in Eastern Orthodoxy, Mary during the Protestant Reformation, and Mary among the modern day Protestants. Another survey was completed afterwards by seven of the persons who had completed the first survey. The results are included here and form the basis of my conclusions. I also preached a sermon on the topic to the entire congregation on February 3, 2013. Approximately 40 persons participated in focus groups that immediately followed the sermon. Those results are included here as well. What I discovered along the way is that while each spiritual journey is unique, there are others in my congregation who identify closely with the Protestant tradition and yet are eager to meet and know this woman who formed the Lord.