Monday, April 26, 2010
Prebyterian Theologian Wants to Replace the Cross with a Lactating Breast
Here's where the mainline Protestant denominations have gotten to theologically. The Presbyterian Layman reports that Margaret R. Miles, emerita professor of Historical Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkley, California, will deliver a lecture in early May which advocates abolishing the cross as a Christian symbol and replacing it with a woman's lactating breast.
This would be funny if it wasn't true. Professor Miles' topic is "Revisioning Historical Theology." According to The Presbyterian Layman article:
"In God's love, mother's milk," a January 2008 article that appeared in The Christian Century, Miles argued that the use of the cross to symbolize God's love was a latecomer to church history. An earlier and presumably more persuasive symbol of God's love, she claims, was the virgin's breast.
Although theologians may have claimed that crucifixion scenes exhibited the extremity of God's love for humans, it was scenes of the child sucking at the breast that spoke to people on the basis of their earliest experience," she said. This symbol was replaced by the cross, argued Miles, when patriarchal Western Europeans "secularized the breast."
Miles suggested that the cross is inappropriate as a symbol of God's love because "it presents a violent act as salvific."
"The equation of love with heroic violence and suffering is typically a male-centered perspective," she argued, leading to her conclusion that "the value of the nursing breast as a symbol of God's provision might need to be reconsidered in our own time . . . In societies in which violence is rampant on the street and in the media, the nursing virgin can perhaps communicate God's love to people in a way that a violent image, the image of one more sacrificial victim, cannot."
Except that Jesus of Nazareth is not just "one more sacrificial victim." He is God Incarnate, the Lord of the Universe, the Incarnate Word, the Eternal Word, the Logos, the Lamb of God, the Anointed One, and God With Us. Because of our human sinfulness, Jesus, being God incarnate in the form of a man, suffered, died, and then really, actually rose from the dead paving the way for all of us to actually, really rise from the dead as well.
Here at LOVE IN THE RUINS we are happy with our tired old out-moded orthodox backward patriarchal belief system. A letter to the editor of the print edition to The Presbyterian Layman opined: "I have closed my eyes to envision the Cross atop my church being replaced by a "lactating breast." Nothing came to me."
The BAD CATHOLIC doesn't know what religion Professor Miles is preaching, but it ain't Christianity.