Can A Male Jesus Save Women?

A boy develops by first differentiating himself from his mother; a girl develops by first connecting with her mother. Does the typical call to follow Jesus by denying oneself work at cross-purposes with women's usual patterns of development?

Christian faith has typically understood human sin as self-centeredness, and salvation as turning toward God in order to love one’s neighbours.  Jesus saves because he poured himself out for humankind and Christians are called to believe in that self-giving love and to imitate him.  Recent psychology suggests boys and girls develop differently: a boy develops by first differentiating himself from his mother; a girl develops by first connecting with her mother.  While human maturity requires both individuation and relationality, it seems they come at different times and in different ways for different genders.  If this is true, does the typical call to follow Jesus by denying oneself work at cross-purposes with women’s usual patterns of development?  Do such definitions of Christian salvation prevent Christian women from maturing as people?  Or is Christian salvation something completely different from human maturity?  Questions worth thinking about.

If students want web-sites, I suggest looking for anything written by the following authors:

Serene Jones who blogs for the Huffington Post; blogs listed here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/serene-jones

Kathryn Tanner e.g. this one on doing theology with respect to economics http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/webcasts/videos/conferences-classes/interviews/an-interview-with-kathryn-tanner or this one on her Christology http://faith-theology.blogspot.com/2007/03/kathryn-tanner.html

Sarah Coakley overview of her life: http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=2714

Books and Articles:

Classic statements of women’s developmental differences and some evaluation from a theologian and a feminist

Belenky, Mary Field, Blythe McVicker Clinchy, Nancy Rule Goldberger, and Jill Mattuck Tarule. Women’s Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind. New York: Basic Books, 1986. just using the title in quotation marks pulled this up.  http://www.webster.edu/~woolflm/wwok.html and this more recent evaluation http://www.iier.org.au/iier20/khine.pdf from Issues in Educational Research 20 (2010)

Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982. selections from it available on-line: http://www.des.emory.edu/mfp/gilligan2.html

Saiving, Valerie. “The Human Situation: A Feminine View.” Journal of Religion 40 (1960): 100-12. available on-line http://religion.ua.edu/pdf/rel101saiving.pdf

Snitow, Ann. “A Gender Diary.” In Conflicts in Feminism, edited by Marianne Hirsch and Evelyn Fox Keller, 9-43. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Constructive Theology in this regard:

Coakley, Sarah. “Kenosis and Subversion: On the Repression of ‘Vulnerability’ in Christian Feminist Writing.” In Powers and Submissions: Spirituality, Philosophy and Gender, 3-39. Oxford: Blackwell, 2002.

Coakley, Sarah. “Does Kenosis Rest on a Mistake?  Three Kenotic Models in Patristic Exegesis.” In Exploring Kenotic Christology: The Self-Emptying of God, edited by C. Stephen Evans, 246-64. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Groenhout, Ruth. “Kenosis and Feminist Theory.” In Exploring Kenotic Christology: The Self-Emptying of God, edited by C. Stephen Evans, 291-312. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Jones, Serene. Feminist Theory and Christian Theology: Cartographies of Grace. Guides to Theological Inquiry, edited by Kathryn Tanner and Paul Lakeland. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000.

Tanner, Kathryn. “Incarnation, Cross, and Sacrifice: A Feminist-Inspired Reappraisal.” Anglican Theological Review 86 (2004): 35-56.