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About the Writer:

As a wife, mother, daughter, friend and believer, Jo explores the work of God in all her roles and situations. With a deep hunger to learn more about the ways of the Lord, Jo conveys the truths she's learned through vivid descriptions and personal stories. Her love of Jesus carries her and her writing expresses her deepest love.


Jesus at Josephine's Teahouse:
Creative Theological Exploration

By Josephine Ludwig

Rd Associate - Theological Explorations Committee

This spring’s encounter with our Christ through the exploration of Christology is exciting and challenging and at the same time fun and refreshing. The fun and refreshing piece is part of today’s commentary as we share thoughts together as Dominican family.

In Alton, Illinois, about an hour’s drive from my home here in Florissant, Missouri, is an actual restaurant delightfully charming called JOSEPHINE’S TEAHOUSE. It is famous for being the ultimate in a girl’s day out luncheon extravaganza. Women of all ages, statures and interests gather there daily during the lunch time hours to be, of all things, “women”! The interior design of the eatery is lace and fluff and pretty pink cushioned chairs. The gift shop adjacent to the restaurant expands the feminine expression the Teahouse encourages and is adorned with a sundry of items that are delicate and fancy. In a sense, taking a male there seems ridiculous amid the floof and poof of womanhood.

Interestingly enough, however, is a darling fact regarding my husband, Ken, currently studying with us in St. Louis to make First Commitment as a Dominican Associate. Ken’s heart’s desire for years now has been to take me to a special lunch at Josephine’s Teahouse. Of course, the fact that my “name” is Josephine adds to the delight for him. And yet, I think Ken’s heart says much about Jesus’ own heart towards women.

I believe Jesus would come to lunch at Josephine’s, too. And I propose Jesus might even come solo. The tradition of the gospels, from which a great deal of our knowledge of Christology comes, is filled with evidence that Jesus cared greatly for women. The status of women in the historic context of Jesus’ first century Palestinian world was everything except warm and welcoming. Much of this was cultural and yet Jesus’ attitude in opposition to this cultural norm of the time and his radical and regular outreach to the women in that society shows us the heart of Jesus. Jesus was inclusive and equal. Donald Senior, in his book Jesus: A Gospel Portrait, says this, “The liberty of talking with a woman alone, and a Samaritan woman at that, shocks the disciples into embarrassed silence (John 4:27)”. (Senior 68). John’s gospel is not the only one of the accounts to credit women with special attention from Jesus.

In all four of the gospel accounts, women were the first ones to discover the empty tomb of Jesus after his crucifixion. By placing women in such an implied stature, the evangelists unanimously confirm that even though the patriarchal language of the scriptures does not specify elevating women, the reality of the report of their presence at the tomb first does.

What does this say to us today, then, about Jesus and Ken and men like them who are willing to listen to the heart of women? To me, it says that Jesus is not only sensitive to women but that he also displays a freedom in being a man that would not be encumbered by culture nor frightened by entering a teahouse full of women. I see Jesus’ heart and Ken’s heart as one in that they want to know and love us as who are, women, “just exactly as we are”. I see hearts that so want to love and know us that they are willing to enter our world in an intimate sense. Jesus is, was, and always will be “the welcoming sort” and women are at the top somewhere on his luncheon chat list. What a joy and gift it is to know that Jesus would come to where we are and who we are and love us in that very place; that a charming lunch with Jesus Christ at a “girlie girl” luncheon palace is not out of the realm of imagination for us in relationship to Jesus. Amen, I say to you this day, we who live our lives for this warm and sensitive Jesus are indeed among the most sincerely blessed!

The next time you are going to lunch for a day out, be sure to pass an invite along to your Savior. A gentleman like Jesus, I am sure, might even pick up the tab!

Resource: Senior, Donald. 1992. Jesus: A Gospel Portrait. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.

Copyright © February 3, 2006 – Jo Ludwig. All rights reserved.


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