Thursday, November 30, 2017

0f #MeToo

I, along with most women, have lived with awareness of the smug presumed superiority of men . . . a ‘knowing’ that their position of being in control is exactly as it ‘should be’.  I am pleased to see signs of that assumption being challenged with the #MeToo movement.  It is bringing to light one piece of a deep human flaw.

Prejudices exist, some very overt, while others are often subtitle and even unrealized.  Do men today realize that the treatment of women as sexual objects (there for their personal gratification) is the ultimate expression of humankind’s deepest, most lasting prejudice—male superiority over women?  [prejudice: preconceived opinion that is not based on reason; dislike, hostility or unjust behavior deriving from unfounded opinions]

For thousands of years women have been silenced, kept from participation in decision making, dictated to about what ‘place’ they were allowed to occupy—various restrictions were imposed, while a male expectation was that women were there for a man’s pleasure.

In a primitive world ‘might means right’ made a lot of sense, brute strength was often the criteria for survival.  Men, being stronger took the lead and it eventually developed into a system of patriarchal rule—a system of society or government controlled by men.  Women were subjugated—and their perspective was left out.  Thus was meaningful contribution of one half of the human race lost to the world.

Men and women view life and the world through different lenses—that is not pejorative, it is simply fact.  The differences are not absolute and there are many nuances but surely no one would argue against the reality of fundamental difference between men and women that is more than simply anatomy.

We no longer live in a primitive world and women have awakened.  About 150 years ago women began demanding that their voice be heard.  They won the vote, began to pursue higher education and in the 1960’s led a women’s liberation movement, jobs opened up—but old habits and prejudices die hard; some men continued to expect that women were ‘there for their pleasure’.  That assumption is now being challenged.  Social Media with the #MeToo surge is shining a bright light on that flaw and I applaud it—BUT I caution over zealousness, let’s not accuse every man who pats a fanny of harassment, they came from a culture that endorsed it.  Save your anger for the real perverts who molest children, expose themselves, and draw a woman into an unwanted sexual contact.

                                                                                                                                 * see Feb 20, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Cells in God's Being

A central tenet of Christianity is the Trinity.  I accept Trinity but I believe it is a mistake to continue to refer to God as three ‘persons’.  By continuing to refer to ‘persons’, defining ‘Father’ as the first person, we cannot help but conjure up the image of an old man with a long white beard looking down from afar.  I say there IS a God beyond our knowing, who had been manifested to humanity in three ways.

Creator God is the energy force of creation—of the entire Universe.  You can’t fit that into ‘a person’!  Can I understand God as a causal energy force?  Of course I can’t—but neither can I understand how falling water, or wind, or burning coal, or reflecting sunlight can be the cause of the electricity flowing through wires to light our homes and run our machines and computers at the touch of a button.  I don’t understand it yet I accept it.  So too, I believe God is the energy force of creation because I am here, and the world exists.  St. Paul states: ‘God is All in all.   All exists in God’.  The human person is of God and God is in the human person.  We are free to accept or reject that.

God as Savior chose to manifest the God-self as a human to demonstrate how we are to live this life and to give evidence to immortality.  Jesus was clearly ‘a person’, living the individuality of a singular human being, thus demonstrating the sacredness of our individuality.  He shared a limited existence in time.  Time is limiting, sequential, and one-directional.  Eternity is none of these.  Eternity is infinite, all encompassing and a totality.  God’s Being is in eternity.  Life and material being exists in God within that eternity but has the limit of time.  As Jesus, God accepted life’s limitations, in so doing, connected humanity to the God-self—then empowering God’s spirit to guide us if we but make that choice.  God never insists.

That spirit is the third manifestation of God, known as the Holy Spirit.  Teilhard de Chardin added to our understanding of Holy Spirit in his book The Divine Milieu. Divine of course refers to God.  Milieu is a French word that does not have an equivalent meaning in English.  A dictionary may define it as ‘environment’ but the meaning of milieu is so much deeper, it is the ‘everything’ that sustains one—the air you breath, sunlight, nature, the people and things that surround you.  Holy Spirit/Divine Milieu is God’s spirit of love and goodness that envelops us and seeks union.  It is ever-present.  The meaning carried by the term ‘divine milieu’ brings us to see more clearly that we are all connected.  We are of God, we live in God, and we each carry a spark of God within us whether or not we acknowledge and accept it.

We can say all this but it is beyond our ability to actually grasp, yet we are called to trust (have faith) that it is so . . . accepting that it is the key to a higher consciousness wherein we as a people come to recognize our interconnectedness and begin to live differently—emulating Jesus’ call to “Love God with your whole heart and soul and your neighbor as yourself.”

I like the analogy of humans as cells in God’s Being.