The better part: out of place

marthamarybyheqichinaOut of Her Proper Place. There are somethings that are culturally amiss here.  First of all, Mary is not in her “proper place” according to the culture. In the gender-based division of space in that culture, it is very likely Mary who is sitting with Jesus in an area reserved for men (whether dining area or “living room” area). Second, it is not clear who is the elder sister here. Since Jesus interacts with Mary here and in John 11, perhaps Martha might have been the younger sister. But since Martha extended the hospitality into “her” (?) home, she is the elder sister. Continue reading