This morning's blogroll reading led me to Villainous Company where I found Cassandra asking for input into her post "The Womanliness Project". Below is my response to her request.
Anything I might say is a direct product of as much of my 64 years as I can remember, through three marriages and divorces, death of an infant child, 29 years of active duty in the US Naval Service, five years of pastoring a rural church, nine months of serving as a volunteer missionary in Ecuador, and death of my father at an early age. I would preface all remarks with the thought that my experience does not qualify me as an expert on any subject; even tho I may have the subjective and objective knowledge and understanding.
To begin, I believe God created humans for the purpose of being in fellowship: with each other, and with Him. I have studied psychology, in its many manifestations, and have seriously looked at Maslow's Hierarchy of needs. He coined the term "self-actualization" and placed it at the top to indicate a person becoming the very best they could be. Inherent in attaining self-actualization is the ability/availability of having met all the needs we understand humans have.
Being in fellowship with each other presents its own pantheon of road blocks and pot holes along the road of life. I have often thought how good it would be if God would just drop down a note saying where I am supposed to be, how I am supposed to live, and what I am supposed to do. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, that doesn't happen. I do believe, however, that God has provided us with an "owner's manual" in the form of what we call the Bible, or Scripture. And sometimes, I just don't want to look into the manual to learn what I am supposed to do.
Probably, the most copacetic life I have lived was in the Marine Corps, and I am not surprised that the Corps' philosophy was "God, Country, and Corps"; with the motto "Semper Fidelis". Multitudinous manuscripts could be penned regarding the Latin term "Semper Fidelis", Always Faithful! In this post-modern world we are living in, faithfulness is considered to be archaic, old-hat, part of an old paternalistic oppression. There was a time when the shaking of hands was considered to be good faith; today, we need a team of lawyers to decipher and translate small print, to make sure it is understood who is responsible.
Oh!, there is that inescapable word: "RESPONSIBLE". So much energy has been spent on making us understand that we do not have to be responsible for anything. We are told "guns kill people", "SUVs kill people", "its the environment that caused someone to do something", "my wife/husband doesn't understand me", "the Devil made me do it".
Something that has been nagging at the back of my mind is the idea that someone owes me something. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Roman Christians, entreated them to "Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law." It was Jesus who is quoted as saying, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."You know, I served 29 years in the naval service, basically laying my life down for: my friends, my family, my neighbors, but, also, every person who has ever breathed the air in the USA. Though I didn't know it at the time, my love was God, Country, and Corps. Had I been more oriented toward loving only myself I would have never put myself in the position of standing up to protect this country and the people who call it home. How do I qualify, or quantify, the fact that there are fifty thousand names on the Wall, and mine isn't there? I can't! Uhmm, while counseling, I learned that "I can't" is a cop-out; whenever I use it in a conversation, I need to replace it with, "I won't". In this case, both terms are effective. "I can't" explain why my name isn't on the Wall; and "I won't" even attempt to understand why.
Oooooppsssss! Kinda got off on a tangent.
When we accept the premise that God created us, and made us just the way we are, to be complementary to each other, in fellowship, we find the lines demarcating the separateness between us being blurred; and even eradicated. Something a friend of mine once told me, has had quite an impression on my outlook. A term we use for God, is Yahweh, or YHWH. Inherent in the understanding of Yahweh, is the understanding that God is both male and female. Now, isn't that a revelation? Feminists tell us that God is a male that has no understanding of female.
When I go back to the Bible and spend some time reading and studying, I find that, yes, God created us male and female, man and woman, but He also gave us the gifts we needed to be complementary. We need look no further than Jacob and Esau. We are told that Esau was a man of the earth, and Jacob was a man of the tents. Esau was the epitome of manliness...while Jacob was more domesticated. He liked to cook, and basically hated hunting. He preferred the safety of home, to the freedom of the open road. And guess what? Jacob became the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. Now, how can a reasonable person qualify, or quantify, why Jacob would be the "superior" one, and Esau would be in a secondary position? Basically goes against everything we are being taught in these days.
I have found, that my ability to cook, sew, wash clothes, iron, mend and do them domesticated kindsa things, has the propensity to bring out animosity from women. I look back on my most recent marriage and divorce, and realize that life would have been much different if both of us had accepted who we were, and were willing to learn from each other, and to help each other, rather than marginalize each other.
My ex has a beautiful singing voice, she plays musical instruments by reading notes, and "by ear"; and I am told she has perfect pitch. All my life I have wanted to be able to sing, and play an instrument. My father denigrated any effort telling me I was tone deaf. When I was participating in Barbershop quartet singing, I was given the opportunity to listen to the notes, and practice hitting those notes; sometimes pretty time consuming. How much different the relationship between my ex and I might have been, had she been willing to teach me some of the things she taught music students, rather than telling me I was hopeless.
I can see how the relationship might have been different if we had worked together in the kitchen, sharing cooking secrets, rather than feeling animosity because one was different than the other.
Seems to me, that if we will be comfortable with who we are, rather than striving to be someone we can never be, life would be so much better.
My mind has just told me, that what I am trying to say is, if we are willing to live in fellowship with each other; ready to learn from and teach to each other, life will be more copacetic, and livable. And we won't have any reason to demand respect or love from each other.