Do you think Jesus would invite a girl with a dragon tattoo for coffee? An author thinks so. “Lisbeth Salander, the troubled female in the Oscar-winning film ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, is exactly the kind of woman that Jesus would invite for coffee,” says Ruth Vander Zee, author of the new book “Woman Meets Jesus” (Edenridge Press).
“Salander,” says Vander Zee, “may not fit in at most churches but is the type of exploited woman that Jesus would befriend in the face of social and religious criticism.”
Salander, played by Rooney Mara, is a gifted, but deeply troubled young woman with bleached eyebrows, a black Mohawk, tattoos, leather-and-chain dress, combat boots, and atypical body piercings.
“Jesus was a radical rabbi who reached out to females who didn’t fit in with the religious and social communities,” says Vander Zee. “He didn’t care what the religious elites – the Sadducees and Pharisees – thought about women.”
Vander Zee, who spent years studying Jesus’ often-overlooked interactions with women, concludes in her new book that Jesus challenged the religious establishment’s oppressive view of women and befriended and advocated for females like Salander. “Jesus stood up for exploited, rejected, isolated, desperate, and self-destructive women,” says Vander Zee.
Vander Zee grew up in the church, learned the popular Bible stories, and eventually married a pastor. But later she chose to look at the second-class status women often occupied within the walls of the church. She decided to dig deeper into Jesus’ personal encounters with women. What she discovered changed her view of women and Jesus.
In order to show how radical Jesus really was, Vander Zee retells the stories of Jesus’ encounters with biblical women from their own, first-person perspectives. One woman is the prostitute who visited Jesus at Simon the leper’s house and offended the respected guests by lavishing perfume upon Jesus. Another is the ostracized woman at the well who had multiple husbands. Yet another is the untouchable woman who hemorrhaged for 12 years.
“The whole idea that Jesus was anti-women is a modern myth,” says Vander Zee. “I can imagine Jesus sitting in a Stockholm cafe with Salander, tearfully listening to her life story and encouraging her to follow the way of the prophet Micah to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with her new-found advocate, Jesus.”
Ruth Vander Zee is the award-winning author of social-issue-oriented children’s books, including “Erika’s Story”, “Mississippi Morning”, “Eli Remembers”, and “Always With You”.
A self-described late bloomer, she earned her college degree when she was 40, wrote her first book when she was 55, speaks to church and women’s groups across North America, and writes the popular blog journey-of-faith.com. She lives in Miami, Florida.
For more information about Ruth and “Woman Meets Jesus: How Jesus Encourages, Empowers, and Equips Women on Their Personal Journey of Faith” (ISBN: 9780982706350; $14), please visit http://www.journey-of-faith.com.