But it would be a different world
without women in it.
(Chanel / Macy's commercial)
The Battle of the Sexes, Carol Tavris" longest war: from the time i heard of it i took woman's part; even when i knew i was the enemy and acting like the enemy, i knew that woman's cause was the cause of justice and of truth. I have tried very hard, usually without success to be a male without being a "man." I am weak and it is hard to give up my privilege, but i know where justice lies. I had tried to call my private truce in that war, with Dianne, with my daughters, with my female friends. I thought i had to let the larger issues of patriarchy and sexism take care of themselves. But when supposedly well meaning men enlist God on their side (after all, He is male, isn't he), the odds seem just too great to let women fight this battle alone.
After i had got over Eckhart's description of angels (without noting that they are all, implicit ly, male) behind me (after all, i don't believe in angels anyway, at least i never knowingly met one), i encountered his attitude (his early attitude anyway) toward women. Nature always tries to produce a male; a man always wishes to reproduce his own likeness, but through error and corruption, mistakes are sometimes made and daughters are born instead. (Bad, bad. Leroy Brown, you were indeed meaner than a junkyard dog.)
People whom i respect and admire, people far smarter than myself, talk about Absolute Truth as though they might know what it is and have an obligation to tell others. No i'm not talking about fundamentalists who, by and large, i do not admire. I am talking about so-called "Trationalists" who believe that God has revealed his will for us through a limited number of traditions, specifically the Religions of India, Shamanism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Only by following one of these paths, or perhaps one of a few others, can we find whatever it is we need and whatever it is we should be looking for. When someone like Hossein Nasr talks about tradition or the Absolute, i feel i must take notice. But i have discovered a new filter for my Hemingway brand Fool Proof Crap Detector: "What think ye of women?"
Lately, it seems that dispatches from "the longest war" have been coming at me like rounds from a Gatling gun, but the immediate stimulus for this rant is the movie, "Vision: from the life of Hildegarde of Bingen" Hildegarde had an amazing life, especially for a woman in eleventh century Europe, She excelled, not only as a visionary, but also as artist, composer, musician, healer, craftsman, and preacher. But her relations with the Church and the world were never so strained as when shy stood up for the rights of women. If a nun became pregnant, it was not because she seduced some poor monk but because she was raped. No, no , no screamed the chorus of official voices.
If God were giving His Truth to his chosen prophets, would there not have been, somewhere among the dos and don'ts, somewhere between the order of worship and proper penance, somewhere between His Jealousy and His Mercy, some reminder of the first chapter of Genesis where he created us, male and female, in his image.
As i pursue my pathless path out of bits and pieces of the Tao Te Ching with occasional respectful bows toward Moses and Zoroaster, and the Buddha, and Jesus, and Mohammed and others, i can rest assured that if God has an Absolute Truth that he wishes to share with humans, He has not yet chosen His time or place to do so,. He has given us the tools, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, to find our way if we use those tools correctly. How do i know this? Because of women. The world would indeed be a different world that had no women in it.
When God has given some prophet, male or female, some clarity about the proper relationship between men and women, i will be far more attentive to what ever else they have to say. Many followers of many prophets have insisted that their prophet, unlike the others, had a proper respect for that part of the human race that holds up the other half of the sky. Unbiased and critical women have never acknowledged this. It is about time more men became unbiased and critical enough to join them.