So I thought I’d put my money where my mouth is and actually get down to writing some kink/BDSM themed sexual theology. If I’m going to seriously explore this side of theology and ministry I figured there’d be no better place to start then in some harmless blog posts, and in true indecent theological style I’m writing without any underwear on, just to make Marcella proud.
I thought I’d pick a passage that was really opened up to me a few weeks ago when it was reflected upon focusing upon the sexuality of the woman involved.
The passage is Luke 7:36-50, Jesus forgives a sinful Woman. (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+7…
In this passage Jesus is invited to eat in the home of a Pharisee when a woman, who is believed to be a sex worker, comes to wash His feet. As a sex worker the woman would have been considered ritually unclean and would have been at the bottom of the social order, an outsider. By standing behind Jesus, and therefore outside the conversation, and then washing His feet this woman is acting in a submissive nature. Traditionally this act is understood as a “socially” submissive act, ancient Middle Eastern guests often had their feet washed by the female house slave and so this would not have been unnatural. However this woman is not a house slave, she has come in off the streets and so is not performing this act out of duty. No, for her it is something different. This is an act of thanks, of praise, of worship. She is doing this because she feels utterly compelled to give thanks for what she has received from someone who is above her.
This woman has entered a space with people who were her social dominants and receives complete and total forgiveness of her sins from Jesus.
But how can she repay Him? As a sex worker she would have been poor and so not had anything spare to give to Jesus. All she has is her self and who she is.
As humans we are sexual beings and this woman would have been no stranger to this notion. Why then shouldn’t she offer herself fully to Christ in thanks for what He has done? She bends down at His feet and washes them, worships them, services them.
This woman performs a submissive sexual act of foot worship on her social dominant. If we actually imagine the act there is no other way to see this then as the perfect, intimate submissive act. This is no withdrawn sterile action of dipping Jesus’ feet in a bowl and then drying them at arm’s length with a towel, she washes His feet with her tears and hair. She is knelt down behind Him with her face pressed up against His feet and ankles, using her hair to wipe away the shed tears and rub in the pungent ointment.
In the D/s world this is often the way a submissive will greet a dominant as well as being a way of giving thanks for rewards or following punishments. It does not necessarily involve a foot fetish and so we can see this act by the woman as an act of sexual devotion rather then as a need to fulfil any paraphillic desire.
In fact since hearing another reflection and actually imagining this act properly I can’t help but see it as anything other then sexual devotion. If she wished to give thanks she could have vocalised it. If she wanted to wash His feet she could have used a bowl and linen. No, this is so much more then that. This woman is so over powered by Jesus, His presence, His demeanour, what He has done for her, that she can not help herself but perform this obedient submissive sexual act for Him in front of everyone.
She is so overcome with this feeling of submission that she can do nothing else but fully enter into the scene and perform for Jesus who not only lets her, but welcomes her to act. Her submission is so total that she is willing to perform it in the middle of everyone out of fearless, complete and utter devotion to her Master who has given her everything!
People often talk about being unable to vocalise their love and adoration for Jesus and how submissive they feel towards God as Master or Mistress.
How glorious would it be if we could perform acts like this woman? Embrace our sexual and submissive natures and use our bodies freely, uninhibited and uncaring of how others perceive us in total adoration and submission to our heavenly Dominant. To enter into God’s space with the humility and adoration of the submissive woman and submit ourselves to His care and service.
 Marcella Althaus-Reid, Indecent theology : theological perversions in sex, gender and politics, (London : Routledge, 2000)
 Disclaimer – I am fully aware that what I have done here is stretch and warp and bend the passage and taken a large dollop of artistic license, but I feel that is the best way to do theology and Bible reflection, to stretch the text to breaking point. Also it’s a bit of fun and is aimed more at those outside the church then in, and if it helps people take a second look at Jesus and how to approach God then surely it can’t be a bad thing?