This continues the story I began last week. Catherina is my 2x great-grandmother; Agnes is my 2x great-aunt; Johanetta is my first cousin, 3x removed, and my step-2x great-grandmother; Henry is my 2x great-grandfather. It is true that Henry had eighteen children with two wives. It is also true that Henry and Johanetta married and had a child soon after Catherina's death. Some of the other details came in waking trance as I allowed the ancestors to tell their stories through me.
Agnes Lattauer Sweitzer: I thought the day Catherina left for America would be the worst day of my life. I did not know I would see Catherina again. I did not know I would outlive my two little sisters and both of my brothers. I did not know what my daughter would do. I read Catherina’s letters from America through my tears. How I wanted to be with her on her wedding day. How I wished she had been with us when we buried our sister Johanetta. My heart nearly burst when Catherina wrote that she longed to take my hand when she gave birth to her first child. My mind contorted itself trying to envision her living in a big city, in a big building, climbing up and down stairs, her feet never touching the earth, her hands never working the soil. What kind of life was that?
When I was a young woman in my early 20s, newly on a Pagan path, someone -- I no longer remember who -- put in my hands a copy of WomanSpirit Rising, edited by Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow. I had discovered Goddess-centered Craft a year or so before, when I attended a Spring Equinox celebration and was slightly confused (and then elated) when no male Godhead was invoked. The idea of an explicitly feminist, overtly political, Goddess-centered spirituality excited me -- a young activist who was really coming into her own political consciousness and who had begun to heal the deep wounds left by a childhood spent in the Church of Christ, with its punishing Father God.
Reading the recently released papal letter “The Joy of Love,” I was surprised to see that it opens a “new” discussion of marriage and the family with a very old patriarchal trope from Psalm 128:
Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways!
You shall eat the fruit of the labour of your hands;
you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house . . . (see ch. 1, pp. 7-8)
Notwithstanding the “inclusive language” translating the male generic in Hebrew as “one,” there is no way around the fact that this psalm is addressed by a male God to men. It compares women to property owned and tended by men. Nor does it provide any opening to consider the blessings of same sex marriage.
In today's Airy Monday, we've got challenges to patriarchal (Catholic) theology; religion vs. academia; Iron Age clothing; Romans in Japan; Ireland before St. Patrick.
As Pagan theologies grapple with our ever-changing world, it can be helpful to note that we aren't alone: this article describes four new fields of study (post-colonial, queer, feminist, and eco-thealogy) are impacting Roman Catholic scholarship.
I wanted to share the experience Roy, my husband of thirty years, and I had at the Goddess Temple of Orange County Friday night as the temple celebrated their first Green Man Father's Day. The temple for sometime now has been shifting toward welcoming families and on Fourth Sundays had been inviting men to the temple. Like the Green Man, Consort of Goddess, these men are encouraged to emulate feminist ideals or archetypes of protector, supporter, nurturer. These are the men of our future.
During the the evening the men who have helped the temple were honored - the men who built the Sekhmet's 4' pyramid throne, and do all the things at the temple the priestesses don't have the abilities or money to do. As each of the men stepped forward to share a few words, I have to tell you how gratifying it was to hear herstory coming from the lips of men. As I sat in the room and listened to one of the men talk about being a devout Christian in his twenties, then realizing the inconsistencies, to discovering the Divine Mother, then hearing him tell how patriarchy has dealt women and the planet a lousy blow - I had goose bumps and I had to hold back tears.
“The error of anthropomorphism” is defined as the fallacy of attributing human or human-like qualities to divinity. Recent conversations with friends have provoked me to ask in what sense anthropomorphism is an error.
The Greek philosophers may have been the first to name anthropomorphism as a philosophical error in thinking about God. Embarrassed by stories of the exploits of Zeus and other Gods and Goddesses, they drew a distinction between myth, which they considered to be fanciful and false, and the true understanding of divinity provided by rational contemplation or philosophical thought. For Plato “God” was the self-sufficient transcendent One who had no body and was not constituted by relationship to anything. For Aristotle, God was the unmoved mover.
Jewish and Christian theologians adopted the distinction between mythical and philosophical thinking in order to explain or explain away the contradictions they perceived between the portrayal of God in the Bible and their own philosophical understandings of divine power. While some philosophers would have preferred to abolish myth, Jewish and Christian thinkers could not do away with the Bible nor did they wish to prohibit its use in liturgy.