author – activist – faculty – mom
One of my preoccupations as a romance writer is to create stories where men of color must wrestle through their attachment to male privilege and patriarchy in order to love strong women. This is the time of year when Western societies celebrate one of these stories. Joseph was an early example of men of color defying the patriarchy..
Mary was a feminist outlaw of her time. A teen mom with a massive destiny in the world, Joseph initially intended to reject her and send her to her doom (being stoned to death for being pregnant out of wedlock). But God sent him a message that he needed to get on board.
This is the conundrum faced by men who love powerful women. Sometimes the women are destined to be more powerful or famous, make more money, have higher status, or have a greater impact. And the men in their lives have an opportunity to fight against their own sexism to accept this reality. Joseph did.
Western versions of the Christmas story often focus on Jesus, the male child who was born. But at this point in the story, his destiny has yet to unfold. At this point in the narrative, Christmas is the story of a pregnant woman who believed in her destiny, even as the society regarded her as a “nasty woman,” a liar, and an outcast. A woman who had to flee misogynist persecution in her homeland to live her destiny.
I am an intermittent churchgoer, with a heavily interfaith belief system. But when I heard that Bishop Yvette Flunder was preaching today at Love Center Ministries, I eagerly attended. Bishop Flunder asked the women and men in the congregation: “what vision are you pregnant with?” And she asked us to be like Mary, to flee from anyone or anything that was standing in the way of our vision and our destiny.
I will ask the men out there: what if your destiny is to be like Joseph, to put your energy and resources behind a powerful woman so she can achieve great things in the world? Is there a woman in your life with a strong vision who is facing obstacles? A partner? A sister? A friend or colleague? A daughter? WWJD…What would Joseph do?