Where’s the Mom in the Prodigal Son Story? This Preacher Has Some Awful Theories October 15, 2019

Where’s the Mom in the Prodigal Son Story? This Preacher Has Some Awful Theories

A Twitter account known for posting the worst of the worst sermons out there recently shared a clip from Pastor Tony Hutson, of Middle Tennessee Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, preaching about the parable of the prodigal son from Luke 15:11-32.

The TL;DR version of the story, if you need a refresher, is that a son demands his share of his father’s inheritance (in effect saying he wishes his father were dead). The father gives it to him. The son spends it frivolously, ending up in poverty, before crawling back to his father’s estate begging for forgiveness. The father gives it to him and even throws a party to celebrate his son’s return. The moral of the story is that God, like that father, has boundless love for mankind and abundant forgiveness of sins. If someone screws up and asks for forgiveness, then we ought to accept it and celebrate it.

Some people may wonder: Where’s the mother in that story? It’s really an irrelevant question, but Pastor Hutson took it upon himself to provide the answer:

… I read the story, and there’s a partner missing.

I’ve looked at it every which way — I’ve turned it sideways, and I’ve looked at it backwards and read it — I mean, somewhere, there’s a parent missing. You say what you want to, but mama ain’t nowhere in this story.

I don’t know, she might have been getting her nails done. She might have been at the tanning bed. She might have been working out. You know, a lot of mothers today are more interested in their figure than they are their family.

That’s a disgrace, ma’am. Amen! You spend more time in the gym than you do in the kitchen, something’s wrong somewhere. Oh yeah!

I don’t know where mama was. She might have been at a women’s meeting. I don’t know where she went, but I know where she wasn’t! She wasn’t in this story!

There are many theological takes on the parable of the prodigal son, but this is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone draw a sermon from it that criticizes women for not spending enough time in the kitchen. How you can criticize a character whose absence is never explained is beyond me, though there are plenty of practical reasons she may not have been there.

Maybe she was doing what the Proverbs 31 woman did and running her own business to support her family.

Maybe she died in childbirth.

Or maybe it doesn’t matter because the story isn’t about her.

Plenty of Christians were stunned that this pastor took such liberties with interpreting the story:

Considering he’s the kind of Christian who routinely accuses liberals of distorting the Bible, Hutson practically created a spinoff. He took one of the more well-known parables and found a way to misogynize it.

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