Theological Violence toward the Divine Feminine: Praying for an end to Rape Culture

Essay by Rev. Roger Wolsey on 26 October 2017 7 Comments

 
If you have a Facebook account you are no doubt abundantly aware by now of the “Me too” campaign that has been taking place. It’s a powerful way for women to convey to the world that they have been the victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault at the hands of men. It is quite clear that nearly all women have experienced either of those – some on a daily basis. They’re trying to show us the great extent of this problem by simply posting “Me too.” My initial response was simply this: “I believe you and it’s not OK.”

But as I’ve pondered this more, it occurs to me that there is a direct correlation with men’s violence toward women with the theologies purveyed and adopted many men – a theology that commits violence against the feminine Divine – to the point of relegating it to invisibility, obscurity, and outright non-existence. Note: many women subscribe to such misogynist theologies – as unwitting victims and purveyors of their own internalized oppression.

It should be obvious that if a major swath of society embrace no feminine aspect of God, then this leads to a minimizing of the status and role of women in the world – and their essential worth. Such results include glass ceilings, discrimination, and harassment in the workplace; glass ceilings, discrimination, and harassment in the domestic home life; and glass ceilings, discrimination, and harassment in religion.

As a religion that emerged from several patriarchal cultures, Christianity has a long history of ill treatment of women in too many quarters of the Church. It seems to me that one of the things that many of the parts of the Church share in common is familiarity with, and use of, the Lord’s Prayer. I suggest that that prayer is due for a software update.

Let’s face it, the world has changed. That is,  understanding of it has changed – and how we perceive things – is reality for humans. For the first few centuries of Christianity, many people believed in a cosmology that had a 3-tiered universe; i.e., one where Heaven was (literally) above us. Earth is where we dwell now. And below us, for unfortunate souls, a (literal) Hell.

That view no longer makes sense to most people in the 21st century. We know that pretty much every point in the universe can claim to be “the center” of the universe. And we know that there isn’t any literal heaven “above” the earth – as we know the earth isn’t flat, but round, and that every point on the earth can claim to be “the center” of the earth. Every point that is “above” every point on the earth is equally “above”; and every point in the universe can claim to be “the center.” We adapted our views of reality based upon new information, needs and circumstances.

Similarly, there are over 38,000 different Christian denominations and none of them are exactly the same as the way the early Christians practiced their faith – nope, none of them. Indeed, each of those denominations wouldn’t even exist today if they hadn’t adapted and evolved along with the changing times.

Christianity of most every stripe is waning in the Western nations. This is largely due to many people mistakenly thinking that conservative evangelicalism or fundamentalism are the only forms of Christianity out there (many have never heard of progressive Christianity) — and they are rejecting the supernatural theism and substitutionary theories of the atonement that go with them — that is, they reject the notion of a magical, specifically male, god who lives in the sky who we should fear and who punishes us to hell if we don’t believe that Jesus’ death on the cross is what saves people’s souls.

People today experience God just as keenly out in nature as they do in Church — increasingly, even more so. People today know that no one religion has a monopoly on all of the truth. People today know that God is just as present within and among us, as God is transcendently beyond us (panentheism). People today know that God isn’t a boy – they know that Spirit is both (and neither) male and female — and beyond. People today know that theology is poetry – and that it provides meaning – not facts. Finally, people today realize that human-aggravated global warming is a very real and present danger and that taking care of the earth and our environment is a deeply spiritual matter – and that it’s part of being faithful to God.

With all of this in mind, it seems to me that the single most important thing that could help Christianity to become more relevant and viable to today’s people who are increasingly wary of it and off-put by it — would be to adapt the Lord’s Prayer. It’s already the case that there is no one “correct” version of it. Some of us say, “and forgive us our trespasses” — others say “debts”, and others say “sins.” Some add “and ever” after most of us say forever. Moreover, none of the liturgical versions of the Lord’s prayer are exactly the same wording as the (varying) wordings that Jesus taught his disciples to pray according to the various gospels. And, it should go without saying, that Jesus didn’t speak in King James English and that he never uttered a “which art”, “thy,” or “thou.” We’ve been changing the tune, and the wording of it, since the get-go.

Specifically, I would like to suggest that congregations adapt the Lord’s prayer such that it adds a few, specific, words – see bold:

Our Father and Mother who dwells in Heaven and Earth, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Help us to avoid temptation and deliver us from evil, for Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

In this version, I’ve changed “Lead us not into temptation” to “help us to avoid temptation” – as that just plain makes more sense. God doesn’t lead us into temptation – we do that ourselves. Some might wish to change kingdom (seems antiquated) to “kin-dom” or “beloved community.” I tend to favor going with the literal translation of the Greek baselia – “empire” – as it helps point out the subversive nature of following Jesus that goes against the claims to power of worldly empires.

I realize that some may wish to jettison the parental imagery altogether, yet to the extent that there is an essential goodness in maintaining some aspect of traditional lineage and metaphors, the two primary changes that I’m suggesting are the inclusion of “and Mother” (which many congregations are already doing) and “and Earth.” Those two changes alone would help billions of people realize that our faith is seeking to remain viable and relevant. Over half of the people on the planet are female and any Christian leader today jolly well better acknowledge that. If there’s an Abba, there’s an Ama. Long gone are the days when one could say “but male words such as he and his are ‘gender neutral in English’ and therefore women (and men) shouldn’t have a problem with seeing the Divine only referred to with male terminology.”

I’m sometimes asked by college student’s “Is God actually genderless?” I respond saying that I think there’s something to be said for the Divine feminine & the Divine masculine. Certain other world religions embrace both of those energies and seek to foster and tap into each. Our Jewish friends embrace the Divine feminine through the concept of shekina and also el Shaddai – literally, “the breasted one.

That said, as Christians we also embrace the notion that “in Christ there is no east or west, male or female, slave or free, Jew or Greek,… for all are one.”

If we’re all one, and if God is immanent within each of us, when we harass or assault one another – we harass and assault God.

May those who have ears to hear, hear; and eyes to see, see. And may those who are willing say, “Me too” to needed evolution of our theological language.

Shalom, Salaam, Peace. Namaste. Amen and Amin. Blessed Be.

~ Rev. Roger Wolsey

p.s. I refer to God as She and Her about as frequently as I do as He and His/Him in my book “Kissing Fish” It is handicapping for English to not have a gender neutral pronoun. Sometimes, I think it might be a good idea to refer to God as “Y’allweh.” This has the added benefit of reminding us of the Trinity – the relational aspects of the Divine.)

 

Question

After reading your essay, “The Way Home for the Prodigal Species,” last week, I was left with a desire for further clarification. What would you say is the heart of your message — the essence of what you’re sharing with secular and religious audiences these days?

Answer

Dear Reader,

We are living in a time of unprecedented evil, yet we don’t see it; we can’t see it. Not only has industrial civilization lost the ability to distinguish good and evil, we typically confuse the two and casually treat things that are downright anti-future as good.

Q: Wow, that’s a bold claim. Can you give some examples of things that are accepted and standard today that you actually regard as evil?

As I said in my essay, it is not just immoral, it is evil to pursue one's own short-term personal or institutional gain in ways that diminish or destroy the long-term future. Here are some examples…

* It is evil to use renewable resources faster than they can be replenished.
* It is evil to use nonrenewable resources in ways that harm and rob future generations.
* It is evil to introduce substances into the environment that are not food for some other life form.
* It is evil to alter the climate and devastate habitats in ways that drive millions of other species to extinction.

All these things, and more, are patently anti-future and thus evil. Yet religion — the one institution charged with the responsibility of naming as “good” that which promotes personal wholeness, social coherence, and ecological integrity, and as “evil” that which diminishes or destroys the same — is asleep at the wheel.
Why? Anthropocentric idolatry.

To speak religiously, if measuring progress and success in human-centered ways casts us out of the Garden, measuring progress and success in Gᴏᴅᴅᴇ-centered (bio-centric or eco-centric) ways is our way home.

My mentor Thomas Berry regularly reminded us that “The universe is primary; humans are derivative.” In mythic language, “Reality rules—i.e., Gᴏᴅ is Lord” That’s a fact, not a belief.

When we honor primary reality as primary — as more important than us — our species can thrive. But when human wellbeing is put ahead of the health of the air, water, soil, forests, and life, we ensure the condemnation not only of our grandchildren but of generations centuries to come. It turns out that the Judgment Day is real; it’s just not otherworldly.

Q: Can you offer any hope?

Surely! Those of us who sacrifice our privilege, power, and conveniences today for the sake of future generations may be revered not reviled. To my mind, that’s what being a Christ-ian means. It’s got nothing to do with “believing in” ancient miracles and supernatural entities so that I get to avoid everlasting torment and go to some special place when I die. It’s got everything to do with whether I continue living in an anti-future (anti-Christian) way, or whether I choose to follow Jesus and live with a commitment to save the future and thereby redeem humanity.

******

Deep Sustainability Resources

Click here for links to text and audio files ...

William R. Catton, Jr.: Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change
Tom Wessels: The Myth of Progress: Toward a Sustainable Future
William Ophuls: Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail; Plato’s Revenge; Sane Polity
John Michael Greer: The Long Descent; Dark Age America; Not the Future We Ordered; The Retro Future; Collapse Now and Avoid the Rush; After Progress
Richard Heinberg: The End of Growth; Afterburn: Society Beyond Fossil Fuels; A New Covenant with Nature
Nate Hagens: Youtube — Blindspots and Superheroes; Guide to Being Human in the 21st Century
Thomas Berry: The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; The Universe Story (w/ Swimme); The Christian Future and the Fate of Earth
Joanna Macy: Active Hope; Coming Back to Life; World as Lover, World as Self
Bron Taylor: Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future
James Howard Kunstler: The Long Emergency; Too Much Magic
Robin Wall Kimmerer: Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants
David Fleming: Surviving the Future; Lean Logic: A Dictionary for Surviving the Future
The Dark Mountain Project: Walking on Lava: Selected Works for Uncivilized Times
Richard Adrian Reese: Sustainable or Bust; Understanding Sustainability
Michael & Joyce Huesemann: Techno Fix: Why Technology Won’t Save Us or the Environment
Charles A.S. Hall: Energy Return on Investment; Energy and the Wealth of Nations (w/ Klitgaard)

~ The Rev. Michael Dowd

____________________________________________________________

Bishop John Shelby Spong Revisited

The Bible, Corporal Punishment and Human Guilt - Part 4

Spong

Is it accident, coincidence or strange fate that Christianity has managed to preside over centuries of history in which physical punishment has been the primary means of discipline in so many parts of our society? Or is there something within the Christian story itself that pushes us toward abusive behavior? These are the questions to which our study of biblically justified corporal punishment now drives us.

The idea of God as a punishing, heavenly parent figure is certainly present in the heart of the Christian story, though originally it was not nearly so prevalent or rampant as Church history and practice might lead us to believe. The picture of God as the judge assigning people to the eternity of hell with its ever-burning flames is surely found in the gospels, but it was never a major theme. It is not mentioned in Paul or in John. It is introduced to the New Testament by Mark by having Jesus say that if any part of one's body - the hand, the foot or the eyes - causes that person to sin, then that body part must be removed lest the whole body go to the unquenchable fires of Gehenna or hell (Mk. 9:43-48). A 3rd century Christian theologian of enormous influence, named Origen, took this Marcan text quite seriously and had himself castrated. Origen never revealed just how it was that his male organ caused him to sin! Matthew is the only New Testament writer who gives hell more than a single reference.

Yet the uncontested idea that permeates the Christian story as it enters history is that human beings are fallen, baseborn and in need of rescue, and without that rescue they are doomed. How punishment is to be dispensed properly is a major Christian theme.

If one begins with the definition of human life as a fallen creature who deserves punishment, then the system will surely develop a cure for that diagnosis. That is what has happened in the way the Christian story has been told historically, so the need for punishment entered the tradition and found a compatible dwelling place.

The way the Hebrew myth of creation, which opens the Bible, was interpreted in Christian history served to place this definition of human evil squarely into the Christian arena. That story was traditionally understood to say that human beings are not what God intended. We are fallen, willfully disobedient sinners who deserve divine wrath. Listen again to that story.

In the beginning God created a perfect world, but human life, endowed with the unique qualities of freedom and self-consciousness, disobeyed God and plunged God's perfect world into sin and evil. In that fall, the definition of human distortion and depravity developed. Not only were we fallen, but we also had no power to rescue ourselves from these self-inflicted wounds. Even our attempt at virtue only exacerbated our sense of being separated. As direct descendants of Adam and Eve, we bear the stains of their disobedience as our birthright. The sin of the fall showed up in the biblical narrative time after time. It was seen when Cain killed Abel (Gen.4:8), when people decided to build a tower so high it could reach into heaven where they might be restored to God (Gen. 11), in the story of the flood in which every living creature on the earth except for the righteous Noah and his family was destroyed (Gen.7,8). Presumably given the sense that God is just, human beings must have merited that destruction. Yet even that divine effort to eradicate the evil so endemic to human life failed. The Bible says that it was manifested in Noah's drunkenness after he disembarked from his boat (Gen.9: 20). Next the Bible says that God intervened to give people the law (Exodus ff.), to raise up prophets and finally to enter human history in the person of Jesus, who was understood to be the divine life who accomplished the rescue by paying the full price of human sin with his death on Calvary. The operative assumption in the biblical story is that human life is flawed; that this flaw is the source of evil; that only God can save so evil a creature and that the price of that salvation is costly indeed. It involves punishment even if it is done vicariously. To know oneself, according to the way the Bible has generally been read, is to know that one is evil, to experience guilt and finally to stand in need of punishment.

I want to return now to the biblical story of our beginnings as a human species to examine the definition of human life as fallen and sinful that is found there.

As the tradition developed this founding myth was seen as an attempt to explain adequately aspects of the human experience and to answer human yearnings. Why am I not content to be who I am? Why do I seek more? Why am I inadequate? Why do I experience guilt and jealousy? Why am I separated from God? Why am I victimized by sickness and pain and ultimately, why am I mortal? Why do I die? Accepting the reality of the human fall from God's grace, religious leaders began to organize the world so that human beings would recognize the necessity for our punishment and the human need constantly to implore God to save us, to rescue us from our sins and to redeem us. The stated goal of the Christian life was to live forever in that divine presence from which our ancestors had been banished in the Garden of Eden. Proper punishment for our sins thus becomes the prerogative of the heavenly parent and was necessary if we hoped to achieve our goal. Moderate suffering here and now was a blessing to be endured as necessary, if sinful people wished to avoid eternal suffering in the world to come. To state it bluntly, human beings were taught to understand themselves as the children of God who deserved God's punishment.

Though most of the educated people of the world now dismiss this biblical story of Adam, Eve and the Garden, with its interpretation of human origins, as a myth not to be literalized, that story has nonetheless continued to set the tone of the way our religious systems relate to human life in our world. Christianity, in both its Catholic and Protestant forms, has been constructed around its presumed unique ability to deliver forgiveness and thus to rescue hopeless, lost sinners. Enhancing guilt thus became the necessary prerequisite for the maintenance of institutional power once the Church had convinced the world that it was the sole place through which the gift of forgiveness was obtainable. Auricular confession, required as one of the seven sacraments, kept guilt ever visible in each human life. The minute ecclesiastical rules with their emphasis on such things as days of solemn obligation and the prescribed set of inescapable religious duties made guilt inevitable and thus proper punishment from God mediated through the Church as penances became the essential means of salvation. The power of religious guilt is hard to overestimate.

In Protestant Christianity the sense of human depravity was portrayed perhaps even more graphically. Human life was denigrated by the revival preachers as wretched, miserable, worm-like and hopeless so that the glorious grace of the rescuing deity could be more fully appreciated. When the 18th century Protestant revival in America known as 'the Great Awakening' swept across American life, led by the noted Massachusetts evangelist, Jonathan Edwards, it was ignited by his portrait of God, dangling sinners by the singed hairs of their heads over the fiery pits of hell. It was preaching designed to elicit a proper confession and to win a full rescue. The head of the evangelical Moody Bible Institute in Chicago repeated the mantra of his religious conversion in a radio broadcast with me some years ago, as he stated this theme of depravity over and over again: "The one thing I know is that I stand condemned before the throne of grace." The power found in the phrase "Jesus died for my sins," used in some form almost every Sunday in evangelical circles, is located in this same source of our human depravity. We, though the children of God, are disobedient children who deserve to be punished. This was the 'Word of God' heard regularly from the Church.

Human beings in both Catholic and Protestant Christianity were defined as deserving sinners, standing in need of punishment. A righteous heavenly parent figure was presented as the judge prepared to be the disciplinarian. That message is at the heart of Christianity, which makes it easy to understand why the sinful child standing before the parent prepared to apply corporal punishment is so neat a fit in Christian history. We raised our children with a style modeled after our understanding of how God was relating to us. That is also how violence and an unconscious sado-masochism entered the Christian story, causing a major religious emphasis to be the neurotic need to suffer.

To that story we turn next week as the next segment in this section on "The Bible, Corporal Punishment and Human Guilt" unfurls.

~ John Shelby Spong
Originally published July 7, 2004

 

Comments

 

7 thoughts on “Theological Violence toward the Divine Feminine: Praying for an end to Rape Culture

  1. Rev. Wolsey, you mentioned, “…the Lord’s Prayer are exactly the same wording as the (varying) wordings that Jesus taught his disciples to pray according to the various gospels.” Apparently you assume that “Jesus taught” or use it as if that were so. I’d like to refer to Chapter 13 in that book by Jack Spong《Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy》(pp.131-139) as he concluded on p.137,“So it becomes obvious that the Lord’s Prayer is the creation of the church and never was taught us by Jesus.” But the Divine Feminine,which you seem to attribute it partly to the wordings in the Lord’s Prayer, might have attributed it to what Jesus taught his disciples who then taught us … through the 2000 years. I would like to suggest that the Divine Feminine assumption had begun in about 400 CE with the onslaught by bishop Augustine of Hippo in North Africa which forced it onto Christianity and the Church that God made the man first before making the woman from the man’s rib, and that the Bible was perfectly made by God etc. Many people still forget that Jesus was a Jew, and that he himself did learn from the Jewish Synagogue and had taught there in his whole life.The same assumption of Divine Feminine was also thought and taught by Paul from the Jewish law that a woman must not even speak in the church, and must cover up her head, etc. All this has resulted in the legal restriction of women from the US Senate and the US Congressional chambers for a long time. In the US senate up to 1981, it has been less than 0 or 2 senators in total. The numbers slowly increased to 20% today in the current Senate chamber.In 2015. There were no female in the US Congressional Chamber in 1909. Today there are about 520 in the US Congress and 100 in the US senate. The new Congress is 80 percent white, 80 percent male and 92 percent Christian, 19.6% Female.Certainly with the men holding the political power and keeping it all these years,the glass ceiling,the power of the male domination over the decision of a woman for her own life and her own child get to be under male legality. As a comparison, there are 2287 Congressional representatives in the current Chinese Congress with 432 women or or about 19 percent Female today. It did not wait for 100 or more years for it to come. Perhaps in China they don’t have the Christian Divine Feminine for 2000 years. Eugene, from Suzhou, China

  2. You misread what I stated. I stated that what Jesus taught is *not* exactly the same as what we find in our Gospels.
    “Moreover, none of the liturgical versions of the Lord’s prayer are exactly the same wording as the (varying) wordings that Jesus taught his disciples to pray according to the various gospels”

    Also, please remember that the apostle Paul affirmed numerous women as leaders of the early church, and even counted one of them as a fellow apostle.

    Roger

  3. Roger: You have made a few changes and left most of it in Bold:“Our Father and Mother who dwells in Heaven and Earth, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Help us to avoid temptation and deliver us from evil, for Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.” Since“Heaven and Earth” are no longer the same in the 21st century, we can just get rid of Heaven, and change “earth”into“our world”; “hallowed be Your name”can be changed to:“Grace and Peace be your name”; Since there are no more kings and queens,“Your kingdom come”can be changed to:“May True justice come”“Grace and Peace be your name”and“Your will be done”can a;so be changed to“Your wish for a Green Environment be fulfilled”; and“ on Earth as it is in Heaven”can be changed as:“in all the world”; since our food and drink come from the working men and women, not given by God,“Give us this day our daily bread,” can be changed to:“Let us thank the working men and women for our daily food”;and“Yours is the kingdom, and the power,and the glory”can be changed to“Your Good Health,Happiness, and Peace”. Now the new Prayer could be:“Our Father and Mother who dwell in our world,grace and peace be your name,may true justice come, may your wish for a Green Environment be fulfilled in all the world,let us thank the working men and women for our daily food,and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Help us to avoid temptation and deliver us from evil. May You have Good Health, Happiness,and Peace forever, Amen.” Eugene, from Suzhou, China

  4. Eugene,

    I think Heaven can still be included because, although ‘things’ have changed in the 21st, Heaven still speaks to the idea that God is not only connected to this one planet, ‘our world’ but the universe and is also ‘transcendent’ or More than the universe (unless of course one is a pantheist).

    As to hallowed be thy name and your change, I am neutral although a bit of an update might be helpful. However Grace and Peace seems a bit unnatural or awkward.

    Even though there are still Kings and Queens, I agree it is not the experience of all, yet I still lean toward Kingdom since it suggests that all are together and under one Rule: Love, The ideas of the Kingdom of Love / God sounds perfect. Your alternative might not work because Justice is even less experienced among some people than is a King.

    Next, thy will be done is much broader than a Green Environment; the will is to Love. It should stay. Plus would a green environment speak to those in lands covered by sands or snow? However, the Irish would love it. On earth as it is in heaven: has a nice ring to it and captures in simple idea of Love done everywhere. I say let it stay.

    The bread line can also be thought of as the bread of life and that comes from God or is God, given through men and women. It also rings true on the everyday level: (if one believes that) God is Creator and gave life and the possibility of continued life, carried out in and through man, including the production of actual bread. So I think it stays.

    The alternative to kingdom, power and glory seems a bit tepid – the original speaks volumes when one knows that we are talking about Love: the glory of, the power of, the reign of Love.

    Having said this, although I followed Roger on his changes, I don’t think that the addition of Mother is sufficient nor will it do what is hoped.

  5. Roger: In your response to the“Me too”campaign,you seem to find s “direct correlation with men’s violence toward women with the theologies purveyed and adopted many men – a theology that commits violence against the feminine Divine” We know that the Second Amendment was adopted on December 15, 1791, as part of the first of ten amendments contained in the Bill of Rights.But there were no women in the US senate up to 1981;it has been less than 0 or 2 female senators in total way back in 1782.So can we describe the result by men to bear arms, again as a part of the theologies feminine Divine? Guns in the US-The statistics behind the violence (BBC) 5 January 2016: The US has approximately 300 million guns – nearly one for every member of the population. US has started to allow armed students: University of Texas allows students to hold guns in their bags at school. All shootings: Some 13,286 people were killed in the US by firearms in 2015, according to the Gun Violence Archive, and 26,819 people were injured [those figures exclude suicide]. Those figures are likely to rise by several hundred, once incidents in the final week of the year are counted. Base on the a survey of 16,000 Americans by the United States Department of Justice in 2000, it showed 22.1 percent of women and 7.4 percent of men reported being physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, boyfriend or girlfriend, or date in their lifetime.60% of American Indian and Alaska Native women will be physically assaulted in their lifetime.A 2013 report by the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 26% of male homosexuals and 44% of lesbians surveyed reported experiencing intimate partner violence. The study evaluated 2010 data from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, which involved over 16,000 U.S. adults. Victimization from domestic violence transcends the boundaries of genderand sexual orientation, with significant percentages of LGBT couples facing these issues.Religion and domestic violence: One 2004 study by William Bradford Wilcox examined the relationship between religious affiliation and domestic violence between 1992 and 1994. The study found that 2.8% of husbands committed domestic violence among active conservative Protestants, followed by 7.2% of those nominal conservative Protestants.I have no data among the Catholic or Jewish people, but it would appear that those who are religious tend to be less violent toward their own spouse or partners in domestic issues.
    Now let us take a look at the Chinese National Statistics:“Among 270 million families more than 30% or 81 million families reported domestic violence in China.”Perhaps due to lack of education as well as the traditional belief of male domination in the old farm countries where husbands beating their wives was regarded as part of the virtue.The practice of bound feet along with zero schooling for young women was the norm in China until after 1911 when the revolution started by Dr.Sun Yet Sen became a success.But the old habits change very slowly.In the PRC National statistics used by an attorney in Guangzhou using the computer intelligence between 2014 and 2016, based on 94571 cases ending up in divorces,99.9996% of assault and physical violence (no gins were allowed)had been done by the husbands.Only 38 men reported being physically injured by women. Among the highest provinces,Shandong ranked No.1 with 8205 women, Henan No.2 with 6986,and Hunan No.3 with 6930 women having been beaten or by some other means. Most of them were not religious. The favorite excuse by men used to be“This is my family affair, and is none of your business.”As it was initiated by the PRC leaders in Congress, a new law named《The PRC Law of Anti-Domestic Violence》was discussed by the 18th PRC National Congress,was approved, and signed in December, 2015.It contains 38 items in the new Law which was included immediately in the PRC Constitution.It began to be enforced as of March 1st,2016. In the past, the average number of domestic violence don’t get reported to the police until the woman has been violated 35 times in China,partially because there was no law at all to begin with.The police officer usually tries to talk with them and tries to persuade the man to stop. Since there was no law in anti-domestic violence, the men who had committed the crimes would just continue their behavior as before.We shall observe the effect by the new law in a few years to see the improvement. Eugene,from Suzhou, China

  6. There is and has been one law that precludes your needless, though well- intentioned rewriting of the Roman scriptures: to Love one another as thyself. Jesus was praying to the “Father in Heaven” knowing full well that, materially, Satan had control over the world. To use Spong’s latter comment, I would add, emphatically, that Rome is “how violence and sado-masochism entered the Christian story, causing a major religious emphasis to be the neurotic need to suffer.” If given enough time, the same focus upon all the agendas of Romism are either neurotic, diabolical, or slanderous at nearly every turn. Satan having power to make an angel of light—i.e., manipulating Jesus— is so megaloamaniacally outlandish to the innocent mind that it is hard to realize that Josephus was communicating– in his own captivity– that Satan was Rome. As Moses was captive in Egypt, and as Daniel was captive in Babylon, so was Josephus in Rome; the voice of their communications subjected to the Gestapo authoritarianism that “allowed” their privilege to live. One thing is needful— until the totalitarian, methodical eradication of everything that Rome did not approve becomes the context, Dis-information will continue to be the foundation of compounded Error. Additionally, the parables were a means to “stay under the radar” of Imperial scrutiny, upon threat of death, torture, or both. There is no reformation possible without Repentance, and the world needs to see how Rome “wrote the book” on Puppetry. For those of you having intellectual discipline, go see “Caesar’s Messiah” on you tube– and/or related items, such as the old bronze letters that told of the building of the Coliseum from the gold of the temple. Then consider the hidden mockery {with the “Jewish lens” you never grasp} that, after Rome transfigured holy relics into a building for debauchery, ‘the Jew Jesus’ gets to chide the Victims, “Lay not up treasures on earth!”…. if you really had a taste of the gall, {for many such things they do) you might just see how cruel the context was, and wake up from your “Pollyanna piety.” Who do you think you are, rewriting the “STRIPTURES” ? Are you not still doing what the Mother ordered, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”? The Mother=Mater, and she is the things of the world. I have told you many of the things of the Father, which is Spirit, and like vipers, you revert to hide in her mouth when you feel ‘threatened’ by the Truth. Many of you have not sought, because you think the Many has already found it for you, and those who ask amiss compound the numbers who will yet seek amiss. The Truth cannot set you free if you are unworthy to behold it. Amen.

  7. Where to begin Theodore?

    First, before Roman violence and sado-masochism (really?), there was the ‘taking’ of the Promised Land, the Kingdom of Saul, David (hey, wasn’t he the guy who send his buddy to war and death so he could sleep with his wife -a bit SM, no?) and Solomon, the Zealots, those guys who picked up stones to kill the adulteress (possibly SM for some?), Saul (before he was Paul). So, long biblical story short, the Jews had their share of violence (and some SM) and, it is evident that the Jews knew suffering before Rome.

    Satan, involves a literal reading, some of us recognize ‘the demonic’ in creation (human actions taking on an unintended life of their own; more than the individual ever intended) but have moved past a ‘guy’ or being called Satan.

    The temptations that Jesus confronted are the same for any individual with power: to choose self over God/neighbor.
    Also, some consider that Josephus was more of a free agent than Moses and Daniel (if indeed this latter existed); if nothing else, he seemed to collaborate with the enemy more than other figures in Jewish history.

    The one needful thing is dis-information (?) or is this a sentence structure error?? And, not sure how we got to Parables, but ok?? And, the parables of Jesus were for his Jewish audience – and they were intended to make a point – thus had to be understood – perhaps after some consideration. Perhaps you’re thinking of Revelations.

    A Roman puppetry book? And definitely, YouTube is the place to go for those with intellectual disciple and seriousness of purpose – right after they get off Facebook or Twitter (not that these are bad things :-)). Then you drift and lost be at debauchery (but I was initially intrigued) , almost had me back at Gaul (or gall?) and lost me again at Pollyanna – a biblical figure?

    I guess, “Who do you think you are” was directed at our host for this week but the same could have been said for any of the biblical (including NT) writers who wrote the scriptures before there were scriptures. And whose Mother ordered what? Ah, a little play on the Divine Feminine? Clever. But the Mother is British?

    Could it be asked, “who are you to tell us of the Father?” Turnabout is fair play. And whose mouth is what viper hiding in – is that on You Tube also? And how many have found it already and who is a Miss – the Mother?

    And finally, could it also be asked, “who are you to tell who is or is not worthy, who has or had not beheld the Truth?” Isn’t that for the Father and him alone?

    Time for YouTube!

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