The Current We Move in Today
- In July, the leaders in the House of Representatives refused to bring the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act to the floor for a vote.
- The laughter … having fun at her expense … is what remained emblazoned in Christine Blasey Ford’s hippocampus.
- Senator Chris Coons’ received so many texts during the hearing revealing sexual abuse and assault stories from women he knew and respected … women who had never told their story to anyone … that he had a hard time focusing on the testimony being given.
- Two women confronted Senator Jeff Flake in the Capital elevator and wouldn’t let him go until they revealed the message he would be giving them if he voted “yes” … that the hurt and pain they had experienced from being sexually abused didn’t matter.
- A 70ish woman called C-span and for the first time told about the sexual abuse that happened to her when she was young. She said the hearing was breaking her heart.
- Boys kept quiet about their abuse at the hands of priests for as much as forty years.
- #Me Too burst into a worldwide movement in October 2017 after first appearing in 2006. Silence about this shameful form of sexual violence is broken.
…sex is a pleasurable and meaningful activity with social consequences. ~Frances Kissling, President of the Center for Health, Ethics, and Social Policy.
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When it comes to sexuality, we have lost our way. We “miss the mark” ~~ the meaning for “sin” in Greek.
There is a spiritual path that views sex as the highest expression of the divine. I believe this view was lost when religious leaders began trying to control the embodiment of this powerful sacred force residing within all of us.
Well beyond the familiar universe of sexuality understood as pleasure or performance is a ‘Fifth Way,’ a path where the raw force of sexual desiring is gradually transformed into a sacred channel of conscious love. ~from The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity by Cynthia Bourgeault, Page 143
I hope we have reached the point where we can acknowledge that moral codes, restrictions, suppression, shaming, and the like are not working. Instead, repression is contributing to the unwholesome, unsatisfying, harmful, damaging manifestations that are filling the news today.
Doesn’t it make sense to consider another way?
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If we have reverence for God, we will have respect for one another. ~ Lailah Gifty Akita
I know nothing of Kilroy J. Olster’s religious life, but few people are as intentional as he in examining his life. He writes about his journey in his book, Dead Toad Scrolls.
As a trial attorney, Olster grew dissatisfied with the greed and conflict involved in the practice of law. Despite having achieved the American Dream of financial security, his life seemed banal and tedious. He decided to change himself and the trajectory of his life.
And so he set out on an exhaustive review of the formative personal experiences contributing to his evolving sense of self-identity. Using analytical writing as an investigative tool, he attempted to orchestrate a transformative learning experience that would allow him to alter his personality and lifestyle and overcome shame, remorse, and regret.
Olster’s writing forced him to accept responsibility for the malevolent ego wrecking his life. He sought atonement from the people he hurt with his selfishness, including his wife, a survivor of Stage III breast cancer, and his intelligent teenage son. And he set out to live a simple life of courage and grace.
The following quote epitomizes the wisdom he gained:
We foster personal meaning out of life by exulting in all of nature, exhibiting a reverence for people, animals, plants, and by expressing compassion and sympathy for the entire community of life. ~ Kilroy J. Oldster
- What if we did a similar exhaustive review of what has led to our current way of thinking about sex and relating to each other?
- What if we sought a transformative learning experience that caused us to change our thinking about sex?
- What if we took responsibility for the unwholesome, unsatisfying, harmful, damaging attitudes and behaviors that generates shame, remorse, and regret?
- What if we set out to live a life of reverence?
The dictionary defines reverence as deep respect … honoring or revering someone by regarding and treating them with deep respect.
At the end of my last blog post I asked a couple of questions …
- Will we teach our boys to be responsible with their sexual urges?
- Or will we perpetuate the “boys will be boys” message that has led to the arising of the #me too movement?
After posting, I wished I had spoken about reverence. That wish haunted me until I put words to it.
Reverence is an emotion that we can nurture in our very young children, respect is an attitude that we instill in our children as they become school-agers, and responsibility is an act that we inspire in our children as they grow through the middle years and become adolescents. ~ Zoe Weil, author of Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times
If you have read my memoir, A Long Awakening to Grace, you know of the confusing messages I received about sex and my difficulty learning to express wholesome sexuality. You know the struggle I had teaching my children respectful behavior. You know of the devastation to our family when my son molested my daughter.
My son lacked a conscience because of his brain anomaly that went undiagnosed for years. Sadly, he and others like him counld not have grasped the path of reverence.
However, I believe the Path of Reverence could benefit the majority of us.
I know I’m moving against the current … and I’ll probably be accused of being idealistic. It wouldn’t be the first time.
But I think we need idealistic leaders who give us a vision worth working toward.
What about you?