Where Have All the Mothers Gone?

One of the Take-home Points of Genesis (Both Books of Genesis I & II read together, not separately) is the Distinction of Male and Female, and Their Naturally Different Roles in Creations.

Yes, this is a Pastoral Care blog and I want to make a clear statement at the outset that my vision of pastoral care is holistic and very straight-forward; those who are familiar with my preaching and writing know that I shoot from the hip with a penetrating accuracy. I tend to pick things that are right before our eyes, and illuminate them so you can’t deny them.

We as pastoral and spiritual care providers, clergy, chaplains, pastors, ministers, lay ministers and religious have been called—whether by the Holy Spirit or by another spirit—to serve as exemplary disciples and servant leaders—although, as you will see, some are in the self-service business of leadership, if their ministries can be called “leadership”. We not only teach and preach sacred scriptures but teach and preach morality and ethics, appreciation of tradition, and humility when it comes to questioning the mystery of what makes our faith communities.

Some more or less recent events have drawn attention to the role of women in today’s world, and how they have not managed very well to handle the roles they have precociously demanded, and how they have managed to make a travesty even of their natural prerogatives and functions.

While this blog appeals to and is read by a very broad spectrum of traditions ranging from Orthodox Catholic to Buddhist and Hindu spiritual care providers, and some of our readers will be women who will take extreme offense at what I am about to discuss, while others will strongly agree with my observations, I will ask at the outset that readers, both male and female,  bracket their personal agendas and cast a seeing objective eye on the world around them.

Lets begin with a couple of images:

Yes! You are not seeing things. They are Vaginas carrying signs.

Yes! You are not seeing things. They are Vaginas carrying signs.

Now, think for a moment. Here are a bunch of women dressed up in vagina costumes, parading around in public and representing their most intimate parts. Is there a spiritual statement that can be made on this image?

How about this going down Main St?

How about this going down Main St?

We’d like to think that human procreation is analogous to Divine creativity. Indeed, for thousands of years the woman has been celebrated, even worshipped as the Earth Mother, as the giver of life. So where did this go awry and the outrage of commercialized abortion come on the scene (which implies reasonably, a promiscuity that is unparalled in human history).

Very, very ugly.

Very, very ugly.

Some of us can actually remember when women had some self-respect.

Would I want my mother, sister, daughter includedin this bunch?

Would I want my mother, sister, daughter included in this bunch?

For thousands of years women have had very important roles in community and family, and in ritual cultic life, too. While the notion of women as “priests” has almost universally been the subject of prohibitions—whether for reasons of cultural paradigm, ritual purity, or doctrinal reasons (such as the teaching that women as officiants reminisces of pagan practices)—women are not content with being honored and worshipped as carriers of new life, heads of home and hearth, and maternal figures—in fact, they almost insist on making parodies, if not making complete monsters of themselfs (vide supra).

We tend to agree with one traditional Church spokesperson: Vatican says women priests a ‘crime against faith’. The ordination of women as Roman Catholic priests has been made a “crime against the faith” by the Vatican and subject to discipline by its watchdog. When I am confronted by “disgruntled” women who want to be priests in the RC Church, I remind them that it has been tradition in the RC church that only celibate men be sacramentally ordained; if women can’t accept that, perhaps they’re in the wrong place.

While some may say it’s an overgeneralization, it has been my personal experience that the women who have been ordained in Protestant and Calvinist (note the distinction!) are generally post-menopausal, loaded with baggage, have an extreme feminist agenda (in many cases they have had failed marriages or have been abused as children or adults), are misfits anywhere else. One classic example is the popular Britcom “Vicar of Dibley”, an anglican clergy woman who is lonely, unattractive, judgmental, severely troubled, and sex-starved. Ring a bell ladies?

What you see is not what you get!

What you see is not what you get!

One Presbyterian clergy-woman I trained with came to work with clerical collar and multiple hues of clerical blouse, tight-fitting clamdiggers, and heels or slippers. Another, a Canadian Anglican, came from an alcoholic home, was abandoned by her husband, overweight, smelled like a whorse, tended to get weepy when complaining of her “suffering”, liked to tell male clergy off. What is your spiritual assessment of these pictures? What is the message being sent? Reverence? Humility? Psychopathy? Discordance?

A real mixed bag of tricks!

A real mixed bag of tricks!

In the photo above, center, you see Joy Carrol Walls, the real-life vicar of Dibley. Show me the company you keep….

A woman [?] priest.

A woman [?] priest.

As for women lay religious a.k.a. “nuns”…You know, the powdered and painted women who dedicate themselves to Christ among other pursuits (they used to be called temple prostitutes in the past). No not the ones we remember in the religious habits who stuck to the convents, the hospitals and the schools; they’re now extinct! We’re talking about the ones we write about at Renegade Nun… (it’s a longish article but it makes my point).

The questions we should be asking ourselves as pastoral and spiritual care providers is why this depravity is happening. How has the situation deteriorated to the point where sacred tradition, human dignity, biological prerogatives, even nature has been cast to the winds and gender has become ambiguous and all but disappeared. Why is it that God has to be male or female? Can’t we agree that whatever you call the Divine, it is pure spirit, ethereal, and purest mystery? What have we gained by dragging down our Divine differences that imbue us with dignity, created male and female, and even dragging the Divine down to our decrepit and miserable level?

Where some deranged women’s groups today are complaining of abuse and disparagement based on sexism, we see a myopic one-sidedness. Never before in the history of humankind has the male been made so ridicuolous as he has been made in the American entertainment media, especially American sitcoms. Women have set out on a massive conspiratorial campaign to castrate and enthrall American males to the point of reducing them either to sex toys or absolute morons. And the American male is allowing this to happen. Why is that, I wonder?

Living the Stereotypes We've Created

Living the Stereotypes We’ve Created

Duality, Yin and Yang, male and female are complementary, not antagonists; why can’t we leave it at that. And as PC providers are we providing more artificial and artifactual Political Correctness than spiritual Pastoral Care? Which PC are YOU providing?

Meeting the Monster We've Created Face-to-Face The Editor

Meeting the Monster We’ve Created
Face-to-Face
The Editor

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6 responses to “Where Have All the Mothers Gone?

  1. Heather Stewart

    The mothers have gone to work because they need to, especially when the fathers abandon them. Most problems that involve women and promiscuity are better revealed when asking the question, where have the fathers gone? Absent father figures is societally the leading cause of female insecurity and the desire to take things into their own hands.

    • Thank you, Heather, for your comment.

      Forgive me if I find it a bit “defensive,” but Hey!, with the subject matter as it’s presented I wouldn’t have expected otherwise.

      But did you get past the title of the article. That’s my question. You seem to have missed the metaphorical intent of “Mothers” in the title and have gone directly to a specific societal problem, although I’d like to know the statistics you have to back up your claim that working “mothers” are working because of being abandonded by the fathers. Seems to me you have a rather narrow-minded view of that problem, too. Don’t you think that working parents, single or both, has more sociopolitical, consumerist, materialist, ego-centric etiology even more than abandonment by the male? What about the families who have been abandoned by the female because she needs to be “fulfilled,” to “find herself” everywhere but in the family?

      Whether by divorce, death, or even abandonment families have been split since day 1, and single parents have made it. What’s so different today. You should give some thought to that and then consider the text of my article.

      Are you one of those abandoned, insecure women? Or the product of such a childhood?

      Would you care to elaborate on your statement that “Most problems that involve women and promiscuity are better revealed when asking the question: Where have the fathers gone?” Can you elaborate on that thought with reference to what I discuss in the article?

      Thanks in advance,
      The Editor

      • Heather Stewart

        No, actually I’m p a perfectly well adjusted woman who is an active member of my church and married to a youth pastor. My response was based on experience counseling others. There is also a large problem with women disassociating sex with love or marriage based on rape experience, of which I have also fortunately not been a victim. Any defensiveness stems from that you specifically used the photos that depict the worst of the feminists and those that most of the rest of us try to circumvent association with. The vast majority of us simply want equal respect and pay in the workplace and at home and we want to not worry about rape when we are not within our homes.
        Yes there are extremists, as there are for religious leaders and churches.
        While I understood most of your points and therefore did not say anything to criticize or oppose them, I just thought your title and photos were a bit out of line and reaching for blame instead of understanding, which did have a problem with.

      • Heather, you are confusing a great many issues in your responses: abandonment, rape, etc. I’m assuming that if you are counseling others that you have training in counseling either as a therapist, a psychologist, a social worker. I don’t think I wrote anything about “rape experience” in my article and generally, I think conjugal rape is a newer concept that has arisen in American minds rather than in the minds of persons who have voluntarily entered into the civil contract of marriage. In fact, one of the reqirements, at least in New York, is voluntariness of both parties to enter into the civil contract of marriage. So, the notion of rape within the bondaries of marriage is rather far-fetched. You, being a Christian (I don’t believe you have written which denomination), should know that Christian marriage recalls the teachings of St Paul and St James as well as Genesis in defining what marriage between a man and a woman should be. Any woman, or man for that matter, who enters into the marriage bonds enters with the fullest knowledge that sexual relations is part of the deal. Conditional period. But marriage is nowhere in my article so I don’t know why you brought it up in the context of rape, abandonment, sex, love etc.

        Again, I suspect you may have missed the metaphor of “mothers” in the title. But to bear children, which is implicit in motherhood, does not necessarily mean a civil marriage, much less religious exchange of commitment vows, but it does imply the notion of rearing, nurturing, protection, etc., all generally associated with mothering rather than with fathering.

        While I may have presented some pretty impressive examples in terms of “the worst of the feminists” not all of the examples or discussion centers on “feminists” per se, so those examples may be valid in your discussion albeit extreme, they are not that far from what many of the pro-choicers advocate, they just say it, present it a bit more in your face. Can we agree on that?

        What I am concerned about is your statement that they are those “that the rest of us try to circumvent association with.” While that may be so, you apparently mean a direct association with those nutballs; what about the ideological association? Abortion is abortion, whether advocated by a nutball or a Christian counselor; advocating being a slut to mean the freedom to use your body any way you like, even promiscuously fornicating, is but a difference by degree from the claim that a woman’s body is hers and so is the decision to freely do with it as she wills, even to fornicate w/o precautions and if she becomes pregnant, to abort.

        You are also conflating two different concepts in your comment: You are apparently confusing equality with equivalence. Men and women are sufficiently different that they cannot be equals (things different cannot logically be equal). Men and women may be thought of as being equivalent in their human dignity, though, and should not be subjected morally or ethically to different standards of human rights simply because of their plumbing. That having been said, I agree that if a man and a woman are doing the same job, both should be paid the same, providing that the production and requirements are the same; in other words, we pay for production not for gender.

        Your statement that you should not have to worry about rape when you are not within your homes is well taken. That’s why we have rather severe laws dealing with rape and rather sever penalties, though not as severe as in some countries. Neither should men have to fear rape, or do you totally discount the incidence of male rapes and female-on-male-spousal abuse?

        I am pleased that you understood most of my points (but I do differ in the reading as pointed out above). I expect you better understand the title and the photos (some of my readers are visual rather than verbal) but the photos are genuine and do represent real people and real approaches to expressing their views. I do disagree, however, that the photos were “out of line” or that they were “reaching for blame instead of understanding”, and I do believe that I make very clear from the outset that the reader should reflect on the pictures and what they mean (reflect: to think about what they mean to the reader, not to me), and I acknowledge right from the start that they may offend and do not include all members of the class.

        Thank you again for taking the time to comment and to respond. Our ensuing discussion has proved to be of benefit to other readers, I am sure of it.

        Peace!

        The Editor

  2. Heather Stewart

    I didn’t say anything about rape within marriage, I even specified that it was rape outside of our homes that I was expressing concern about. Conjugal rape is a growing concern, as you mentioned but not something that I am familiar with.
    Assuming that men don’t nurture and shouldn’t be associated with nurturing is also very narrow minded. The nurturing aspect of fatherhood should never be underestimated.
    I did not advocate promiscuity or abortion either. Those are not points that I typically argue with people and wouldn’t think I needed to argue with someone in Pastoral Care. I know what sin is, I just don’t judge people for theirs.
    I did not mention because it was not within the scope of our discussion about abuse, spousal or otherwise.
    I am well aware of the incident of male rape and deplore it as well, but I am not familiar with the disassociation of love from sex in male victims, so I did not mention it.

    Don’t misunderstand, I would equally correct one of those women for assuming that all ministers and priests just want to play with little boys. I live staunchly in the middle and attempt to promote understanding and non-judgment of other people. This was the Message as I have always been taught it and what I was attempting to do in the prior response.
    Again, the initial response was meant to address that fathers play a huge role in the lives of their children. Father absence statisctics on both about.com and fatherhood.org support that absent fathers are a major factor in the “worst social problems” as fatherhood.org says it. Consequently there were no statistics on absent mothers except there has been a rise in it and therefore no statistics on how many did it to “find themselves” which is an archaic concept of why a woman would leave her family anyway.

    There are some great, nurturing fathers out there and you ignored their contribution to their children’s lives by only asking about the mothers of those women. You assumed that a maternal absence causes women to grow up into sluts or to want abortions. If you had statistical evidence, it wasn’t provided. You just ranted about how someone’s kids were acting. I had a problem with that. I had a problem with implying that the vagina wearing women were the accepted image in feminism and a desire for “equivalence.” I just pointed out that you were wrong about that. You also completely discounted a father’s possible influence of the lives of those women and I have read an explanation in two responses now that defend that stance and I still don’t understand why the fathers get off without equal accusation when fathers are so important to children’s lives.
    But you have said it twice now, and you’ve said it in different ways. So I’m going to go with that we will just not be able to see or understand each other’s side of the importance of fathers in the home and the lasting effect it has on the standards, behavior and issues of their children.

    Good night.

    • Thank you, once again, Heather for sharing your strong opinions. You have elaborated extensively on your standing and position on a number of issues.

      Could you take one or two of the issues I wrote about and speak directly to that issue as presented in the blog.

      Thanks,

      The Editor

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