John is distinctive from the other Gospels in multiple ways. The other three gospels are synoptic, meaning they are very similar (as in syn – the same root of synonym). It is clear from reading them that they shared a lot of the same sources.
So what makes John so unique? The author of John is a writer after a wordsmith’s heart; the gospel seems to have been written by someone who loved Jesus and language, and thoroughly enjoyed using words to present the Word.
The part of John that I have always found most striking and was even more astounded by during my reading this week is the way John presents women. They are not simply in the background or second class citizens as would have been the case in the society of that time. They are in your face. Or in Jesus’ face as it were.
They are thoughtful. They ask intelligent questions. They are not afraid of Jesus. They aren’t afraid to be seen with him. They are not intimidated by him. Jesus relates to them as he relates to men.
In fact, sometimes the male disciples come across as kind of slow. Talk about an upside down kingdom! Jesus turns societal norms on their collective heads and leaves the disciples scratching theirs. Go back into the womb? He’s talking with a woman? Living water? What’s that? Duh.
Sadly today there are still significant parts of the church which continue to treat women like second class citizens. How can the Catholic church continue to justify only male clergy? Why is there a decided lack of women leadership in Protestant denominations, including parts of the Mennonite denomination? It is almost as if these areas of the church subscribe to the Greek idea of women having no souls, an idea in definite contradiction to the Jesus of John.
Which makes me start to wonder, was John really a Johonna?
From a post for a seminary class forum discussion