Monday, November 4, 2013
It's been so long since I posted on my blog that I'd almost forgotten that I could use this as a place to write out my innermost thoughts, or at least some of them. Some of my quietest leanings and my most unusual viewpoints are to stay right where they are because simply put, they're a little too controversial for now. I'm not saying that that's the way it'll be indefinitely, it's just for now.
Let's just say that I've been doing a lot of thinking and I'm also a student of theology, in a manner of speaking. I'm more like a student of the Bible and it's in a most unusual way. I like looking at the vernacular, or the original meaning because centuries of translating and retranslating causes what's been said in the Greatest Story Ever Told to become twisted or perverted according to the person writing and the person translating.
With that being said, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about Genesis, the first book of the Bible as most are well aware. I’ve been particularly absorbed with the whole idea of the role of women and more particularly, the restrictions placed on them as a whole.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame or hate men, not anymore. I used to but then again, coming out of a raising like mine, no one could be surprised or upset at me for it. My father is a misogynist, he hates women and I suffered for years for his prejudice and his leanings. Naturally, it changed my point of view and it took a lot of years and an ocean of tears for me to surmount what he did to me and all the ways he warped me by virtue of his horrible choices. A person doesn’t ever come out of the other side of something like that completely unscathed. Use your powers for deductive reasoning and I’m sure you’ll figure out what I’m talking about. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to understand and if you don’t figure it out, you’re in denial or you’re far more sheltered than I’d originally given you credit.
What I’ve learned is that mankind is still stuck in an idea that’s antiquated to the tune of two millennia. Not that we can be blamed as a general rule, it takes a long time to unlearn a few millennia of teaching and two thousand years is not enough to unlearn four thousand years of cultural teachings.
The primary cultural teachings I’m talking about revolve directly around the role of women in culture, in life and as a general rule, in history. I know I’m among the lucky few women with a man who understands and agrees with my view. Prior to him, I wasn’t even aware that there were men who truly agreed because I’d met too many of them whose true feelings were cloaked by an agreeable veneer. Everyone knows what I’m talking about or at least they should.
I’ve met a lot of people, men and women alike who seek to deny the role of both women and men. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a crazy feminist or a sour, embittered woman. I know because I used to be. There was a time when I would’ve done anything to deny the role of a woman in her world, when I used my anger and bitterness to justify emasculating men and I took a certain perverse pleasure in it. In my eyes, all men were cowards and sought to dominate because that was the only experience I’d ever had with men. That was my issue and I rationalized it with transference. I also tried to fit all men into the image of the role I was under the impression they all wanted and that image was simple: all women were property, they were subordinate.
My choices in companions in my life was a reflection of that for more than a decade and I can look back on it and realize that while I can hold each male with whom I got into an abusive and controlling relationship accountable for his actions, I also needed to hold myself accountable for my choices and my actions. I faced my demons in due course and walked away from them for the most part. By that I mean that there is still a part of me that automatically assumes that men only ever want to control and dominate women, that all they ever want is power and control and while this is not strictly the case, it’s still a present problem in even our modern culture.
More than anything, I guess I get tired of hearing men use a Biblical basis to further their desire for their dominion over women. Am I saying there aren’t exceptions? Dear Lord, no and if no one takes anything else out of this, mark my words, I don’t believe that every man is alike. I had to write that because people aren’t just prone to selective hearing, they’re also prone to selective reading or reading what they want to read as opposed to what is actually there. So there it is; qualifier inserted and if you should deliberately misconstrue what I’m saying to suit your own point of view or your own ideas or even simply for the sake of seeking to be offended, grow up and get over yourself. I weary of diplomacy far too easily and I’m not interested in trying to tell a bunch of people what I already said or seek to smooth ruffled feathers. I don’t have the time or inclination to make someone else feel all better because they want to whine about things I’ve stated.
For now though, back to my point. See? I was getting to it; you just needed to be patient. I’ve watched quite a few people of both genders seek to upend and overrule the natural role of women in the world while instinctively seeking the natural role and this causes a problem psychologically. Let me be perfectly blunt. Even Biblically speaking, a woman’s life role is clearly defined and the clear definition can only be found in the book of Genesis.
As succinctly as possible, Genesis states that woman, or Eve was created to be the HELPER of man, or Adam. Look it up in Genesis chapter two if you don’t believe me. I’ll even do the work for you and let you know that it’s stated in verse twenty. There you go, nice and tidy; no muss, no fuss. Now that I’ve probably pissed off a lot of people and they’ve quit reading this, I’ll finish writing this post while operating under the assumption that those who didn’t finish reading this simply aren’t ready to understand what I have to say.
The word “helper” is defined very simply as “someone who helps someone else.” It is therefore only reasonable to state that the role of a woman in the world is to help. There is nowhere in the definition of helper that states that a woman is a man’s subordinate.
That being said, yes I do understand where the modern role of a woman comes from and I also know about the Biblical teachings about the role of a wife and the place of a wife but I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that upon the point of the “Curse of Man” or Original Sin as we call it, Eve was told that her “desire would be for her husband and he would rule over her.” I don’t deny this point. Why then, when we discuss the role of Jesus as the provision for sin of the world, or everyone, do we tend to leave women out of this? Why is it that only men seem to be redeemed in the eyes of so many men and women still have the role of subordinate thrust upon us? Did Jesus leave women out when He reversed the curse or did He treat women as His equals?
I’m also very aware of the writings in the Epistles of Paul, which are in the New Testament of the Bible and yes, I do believe that he was given to misunderstanding. Let me help you understand what I talk about. Paul, when he was Saul was a Hebrew and was training to become a Pharisee, or a Priest of the Hebrew Temple. He knew the law, being the law that God handed to Moses or the Mosaic Law, inside and out. He knew about the Hebrew interpretations of that Law and he knew about the role of women in that law, which was less than nothing. In accordance with Old Testament Law, women were nothing more than property and though they were to be property treated with a certain amount of respect, they still had nothing of their own and they had few rights.
Paul received the Revelation, or Apocalypse of Jesus after the crucifixion and resurrection but his leanings and understanding would have still been as much legal as they were spiritual. He would not have been able to avoid coloring his writings with his education and upbringing, that of a Pharisee. He would have understood the sacrifice that Christ made but his legal education would have made him to overlook that Christ didn’t only die to reverse the curse of Original Sin on men, but on women as well.
In keeping with this train of thought, when Adam and Eve sinned TOGETHER because they were together when they ate the fruit, the curse wrought upon the ground was reversed but so was the punishment placed upon women. This means that a woman’s desire for her husband and his rule over her were ended. And no, I’m not talking about sexual desire, I’m talking about the desire to be ruled by and submissive to a woman’s husband was no longer the punishment for that woman. This means that any woman is free to pursue and chart her own course in life, to decide what is best for her and to chase her dreams. That is the desire I talk about. It is no longer necessary for women to pursue their husbands’ desires as their own.
This is an idea that is so slowly evolving as to be at a snail’s pace. I still hear frequently that women are to behave as if they were still under the letter of the Mosaic Law when in fact, that’s simply not true. Women use it as an excuse to deny accountability and men use it as an excuse to be right and dominant when in fact, we are all equals. I have frequently failed miserably at learning in “quiet submission” and “obedience” as outlined in the Mosaic Law. Check the New Testament in Corinthians if you again, don’t believe me. I choose to read the Epistles of Paul through the filter of his education and understanding, as it should be.
In short, I am a woman and a wife. I am equal to my husband and he was the one who insisted that we affirm that in our marriage vows, much to my surprise. I am not his subordinate and I am free to pursue my own dreams and desires in life. He doesn’t rule over me. I am his helper and neither he nor I have sought for a very long time to deny the instinctive leanings of our genders. He seems to be perfectly happy being the “protector and provider” and I’m very happy being the “nurturer and caregiver.” We raise children together though neither of us is more important than the other and neither of us takes all accountability for the raising of the children. We face this world as life mates and as a team.
He enjoys his creature comforts and I enjoy taking care of him. Dinner and cleaning are things he doesn’t worry about unless he chooses it to be so and I don’t worry about going out and working to bring home the paycheck unless I choose to do so. We have an incredible agreement worked out and it works for us because neither of us seeks to try to step outside of what we were naturally and instinctively born to do. Those instinctive leanings compel us as a couple and as a team. I am his equal even if I am his house wife and that’s okay with me. He’s my provider even if he is the working stiff in the relationship and that’s okay with him. He says he’s old fashioned about it and that he loves having his wife at home when he gets here at the end of the day but really, we tend to be progressive in that we both accept the instinctive role of our particular gender and the modern definition.
I guess I wrote all of that to say this, if the curse was reversed for everyone with the sacrifice of Christ, that means that women are no longer subordinate to men and that men no longer need take the rule or the accountability for the things that happen in their home with their wives and children. That point was intended to be a major drawback to the rule over a woman for a man. Man was given that rule but he was also given all responsibility and accountability. When his wife made a poor choice or a mistake, he was at fault and now, men need not worry about that just like women need not worry that men are to be the ruler over them. Woman was created to be man’s helper, not his slave or his bitch. Man was created to enjoy all that God had given to him, and among the great and wonderful gifts of God was and is woman.
Posted by RJ Palmer at 9:41 AM
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