Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Female Template: Implications for the Male Dominated Churches of God



The following facts, ladies,  are not ones in which your husband, your fundamentalist pastor, nor your literalist Church will rejoice in. In fact, they may ask you to quietly leave if you are going to believe this rather than the inspired, inerrant and historically accepted word of God."
"The primordial plan for both female and male fetuses in mammals is initially feminine.
Contrary to some creation myths, in mammals, maleness arises from femaleness, not the other way round.
Masculinization results from organisational effects of fetal testosterone (and its derivatives), which in humans occurs during the second trimester of pregnancy.
To be masculinised means that certain areas of the brain grow larger, while others remain smaller.
These differences to some extend explain sexual behaviours and preferences even in humans"
Dr. Alexander Thiele University of Newcastle upon Tyne Lecture 7: Social emotions -'the sexual brain'
In reality it seems that FEMALE is the default position as human beings develop in the womb. Maleness comes after with the proper wash of hormones applied at just the right time and in just the right amounts. The implications for literalists are staggering and for women, liberating!
In some cultures, young men are taught to pray "Blessed Art Thou O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has not made me a woman."
Mohammed is said to have stated, "When Eve was created, Satan rejoiced." Much if all of the orignal creation mythology's sole purpose is to depose any notion of "goddess" worship, which was an absolute fascination that women had the power to give birth and bring forth life etc, and replace it with a male patriarchy.
The Genesis story is not so much how life came to be or that we all came from two humans, named Adam and Eve, as it is to send the message that women, who are the fault of everything, are to have babies painfully now and say "yes Lord" to their husbands. From the totally mythological tale of the fall of man by the disobedience of woman, much misery and ridicuoulously false roles have been demanded of them by men and in particular the Christian church.
"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. FOR (the reason being) Adam was first formed and then Eve and Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, was in the transgression." I Tim. 2:11-14
None of the above is literally true.
So according to "Paul" (I Timothy is not currently considered an authentic writing of Paul but of a later author writing in the name of Paul when the church was in need of rules),  the literal truth of Eve's sin produces the literal idea that women are more easily deceived than men and prone to sin, and thus should be silent in church. Or as St. John Chrysostom, a fifth century church father noted, "The woman taught once and ruined everything. On this account...let her not teach." It seems wrong ideas of how things really came to be have very big consequences over a very long time!
Paul goes on to say..."The head of every man is Christ; and the head of every woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God....for as much as he is in the image and glory of God, BUT ( as in , don't get the same idea about women) the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is NOT of the woman, but the woman IS OF the man." I Cor. 11:3,7,9.
None of the above is literally true. 
1 Corinthians 14:35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
Reminds me of the woman who asked me about this one and said "what if your husband is stupid?"  
Very simply put, Paul said that men are over women, Christ alone is over men and God alone is over Christ. So it's God > Christ > Man > Woman > pets and small animals. It is notable that it is here that Paul makes it plain, based on the creation of woman out of man mythology, that Men don't come from women at all and that women owe their physical existence to men too. Like it or not guys, we come from out mom's literally and from the default fetal template of the female in time after we get our hormones in the womb. So men actually do come twice from females. Someone tell the Church!

St Clement, father of the Roman CHurch denied women the right to even exercise as men. He felt rather it was more in keeping with scripture that they be confined to spinning, weaving and cooking. Of course he could barely bring himself to add "and se..se...sex, unless it was out of the need to bring children into the fold.
St. Augustine, not the most balanced Church Father of the lot proclaimed that man only was made in God's image and not woman. But that's what Paul said too. He went on to note that men were quite complete without a woman, but that women could only be complete with a man. Man alone was self contained and complete alone. Once again, time has shown how untrue this all is, but the concept is still used by many churches and pastors to keep women in "their place" and fulfilling their "role".
Other theologians and Church Father's went on to note that men were the spiritual aspect of God, while women were merely a symbol of the flesh and thus she is the temptress and weakener of men who fail to see what the Church points out.
In the 16th Century, Clifford Alderman notes in a his book, A Caldron of Witches, that an early Church report noted that "Woman is more carnal than man: there was a defect in the formation of the first woman, since she was formed with a BENT RIB. She is imperfect and always deceives." Now there is some hot scientific reasoning for you! Of course no one notes that if women are deceptive because of being made out of a bent rib, men made out of dirt have dirty minds. 
Modern Christianity is still designed and used to annihilate the spirit of women. It's is still here to keep patriarchy in place and to defeat the matriarcy of former times. Women were mystical in those cultures as opposed to utilitarian in that of a patriarchy or man led society and religion. I believe I would much rather to have lived in a society where women were held high for their spirituality and creative abilities. As it is, we live in the age, not of Aquarius but of testosterone, where men rule badly, kill often and take the spoils from those who cannot oppose them. I like Rodney King's "Can't we all just get along" far more than those who bluster "Bring em on." But alas, tis not that way in our real world at this point.
The great philosopher Rousseau noted...
"As the conduct of a woman is subservient to the public opinion, her faith in matters of religion should , for that reason, be subject to authority. Every daughther ought to be of the same religion as her mother, and every wife to be the same religion as her husband; for though such religion should be false, that docility which induces the mother and daughter to submit to the order of nature, takes away, in the sight of God, the criminality of their error...they are not in a capacity to judge for themselves, they ought to abide by the decision of their fathers and husbands as confidently as that of the Church." Or as Paul would say, "if any woman has a question, let her ask her husband..."
So when does the church grow up and face the facts of science, and not base silly and demeaning demands upon women on mythology and error? When does a church finally admit to errors in teachings that hurt people? Never from what I can see. Let's remember, the Church took 350 years to apologize for almost burning Galileo at the stake for informing them that the earth was not the center of the solar system with the sun revolving around it or around the Church for that matter. Yet that's about the right amount of time for Churches to come to their senses and stop demanding of people things based in fallacies. 
Only a relative few Christian women will have the confidence to step out of the box of fundamentalist Church control. They will suffer at the hands of ministers who quote Paul who frankly was misinformed as to how things really are in biology, endochrinology and genetics. Literal control over a woman by using allegorical or just plain wrong "facts" is wrong. It hurts the spirit and demeans the woman in a world where we better soon wake up to the fact that we all are one and the same.
So sorry guys...without a woman, you would not exist, and without a good sprinkling of hormones at just the right time after your conception, the female default position you started out as would keep you there or perhaps acting in ways that the Bible also goes on to condemn you for, sometimes with death.
Whether your pastor, church, tribe or friends like it, good science, truthfully so called, trumps sincere but ignorant Apostles, Priests, Popes and Kings. Dr. Thiele is correct.

"Contrary to some creation myths, in mammals, maleness arises from femaleness, not the other way round."

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

All of this is completely irrelevant. 95% of your DNA is the same as that of a rat. I guess that makes you a rat. And most of your body weight is just the critters living inside you. I guess that means you are not even human.

Allen Dexter said...

Good article! Even when I was embroiled in WCG, I questioned the restrictions on women. I've always respected and valued intelligent women that many men flee from. I think, deep down, they realize they're not the all knowing beings they're supposed to be by this false doctrine, so smart women scare them. My Phyllis is in every way my equal in intelligence and has natural talents I respect and admire. We make a great team.

Miller Jones said...

Dennis,

Your post underscores how many within the Christian community have used Scripture to promulgate/perpetuate a paternalistic society (within and without the Church) and a misogynistic view of women. It is, however, simplistic and misleading to suggest that this is the only possible interpretation of the Judeo-Christian Bible.
Yes, Leviticus 12 and 15 make women's menstrual cycle dirty/unclean; but Song of Songs celebrates a woman's body and Christ heals a woman who had apparently suffered for many years with abnormal menstruation (Matt. 9, Mark 5 and Luke 8). The patriarch Abraham is juxtaposed with the matriarch Sarah in Scripture. In the book of Judges, we are told that the women Deborah and Jael saved Israel (Judges 4 and 5). One of the most remarkable books in the Old Testament is focused on the story of two women (Ruth and Naomi) and was clearly intended as an introduction to the story of David (In other words, the fact that David had his origins in them). In the book of Proverbs, the importance of a virtuous wife is underscored (Proverbs 31). In the 139th Psalm, the author tells us that God knit him together in his mother's womb (Psalm 139:13) - there's at least one man who clearly originated in a woman! In the New Testament, we begin with Elizabeth and Mary and proceed to a Christ who preached to women and also counted them among his disciples. Moreover, the Church is portrayed as a woman throughout the New Testament.
As for Paul, some of his writings (or those attributed to him) most assuredly do reflect the paternalism and misogyny of those times. However, even in the instance of this man, we must admit that we have a very mixed bag on this subject. Although Timothy is instructed that women shouldn't be allowed to teach men (I Tim. 2:12), the author also acknowledges that Timothy's faith had its origins in his mother and grandmother (II Tim. 1:5). He also tells us that Eve was deceived, but that Adam had his eyes wide open (I Tim 2:14). Paul told the Galatians that there was "neither male nor female" within the Church, that they were "all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). Finally, the book of Acts informs us that this man shared his ministry with a woman for a while (Acts 18, see also Romans 16:3 and I Corinthians 16:19).
Hence, although many have used the Bible to justify their awful behavior toward the female gender, the Bible is a very complex book and does offer another perspective for those Christians who are interested in pursuing a different view of womanhood.

Hoss said...

From a non-COG source, some verses in Genesis were interpreted to claim Adam was originally an hermaphrodite - Eve was a clone of Adam, and the final touches made them distinctively male and female.

DennisCDiehl said...

MJ. I do understand all that. My point and perspective is on the specific reality that women don't really come from men as in a rib, the woman did not sin first and thus is the cause of all the world's misery and needs to be reigned in and can't ask questions without filtering them through a man etc.

These inaccurate views of why women can or can not do or be something in church still haunt church rule and practice today. The mythology of Adam and Eve, the Two Trees and the Fall are all used to literally control women in a church setting to this day.

While Gospel Jesus and the Apostles spoke as if the story of Adam and Eve were literally true, it is not where humans came from. It is not where women came from. It is not why women have babies painfully nor why they must call their husbands "Lord". You can't take a mythological origins story and make literal rules for women based on how the tale is woven and who the bad girls are.

Women came from the rib of man not because of the smultsy poem that notes "because she is close to his heart." The reality is that men have lots of ribs and losing one to make a mere woman would be an insignificant loss to the man.

The Bible is complex and does offer many views on many topics often contradictory. This reflects the human authorship as opposed to from the mind and mouth of God of course.

Anyway, the specific scriptures limiting women in their "roles" (great word) speech and questioning men etc are justified by events that simply did not happen in reality to this day and is all about male control of the church.

Admittedly I'd rather live in a culture of Goddess Worship and matriarcy than a male dominated patriarchy based on Priests and blood sacrifices of gazillions of animals because the god loves the sweet smell of a good steak. Does God have nostrils? :) Gen 8:20-21

nck said...

Some time ago I saw a documentary on (an) African Tribe(s). Women who were menstruating, (being "unclean/pure" and all) got together in one of designated hut/house to spend time together, while separating themselves from the men for a certain period.

I found it a dangerous ploy of those women to adhere to a religion that let room to get away from their daily chores and let men cook for themselves. On the other hand perhaps the men invented that religion to have a barbeque together without the inconveniences that go with living with a woman who is suffering the monthly cycle.

I don't know who came up with the ideas regarding women. I do know that first man must have guessed that all this inconvenience and bloody spectacle had something to do with the procreative function and therefore life itself and placed special/holy/ritual meaning upon all this esoteric knowledge. Perhaps it was a good way for women to be left alone for a while during their time of inconvenience.

It one of the strange things about nature that a group of women seems to "synchronize" their periods after some time. Just as nature has it that under normal circumstances there are about the same aomunt of male and female from a group perspective. Even if one family might produce 3 daughers and the other in the street 2 sons.

My question would be. Why would God create "synchronized" menstruation for female groupings? I have doubts he did plan that, but perhaps it was on the design table a long time ago.

nck

DennisCDiehl said...

And too MJ, we both know the Church of God hierarchy are not going to gravitate towards any scriptures or examples that uphold women in the church setting. All my time in WCG I did not see them used to free women from the constraints placed upon them by the New Testament rules for women.

Even in the genealogies of Jesus the five women included are women of questionable behavior and repute.

Tamar pretends she is a prostitute and conceives a child by her father in law
Ruth is a Moabite through whom no King of Israel can come
Rahab is an out and out prostitute who did a good thing
Bathsheba seduced David or David seduced Bathsheba and conceived Solomon who is said to have turned out pretty good

And then Mary. To me and many theologians, the message is that God can work a good thing, Jesus, through women of less than stellar reputation. The implication here is that Mary also may have conceived Jesus in less than a stellar way but not to worry. It all worked out. The genealogies were a much older part of the Gospels and were in the originals before the miraculous birth stories, and they are just stories, of Jesus were inserted in the texts to counter questionable pregnancy of Mary as a single mom and Jesus being born of fornication.

The author did not choose Sarah, Leah, Rachel or a Deborah and in reality women were not included in such ways in genealogies. It was a calculated and specific reason these women of ill repute were.

In reality, the simplest explanation is probably the correct one

Near_Earth_Object said...

A few comments:

I am not sure I get the biological analysis that leads the essay. Referring to the feminine state as "default" does not quite make sense. The out-of-Africa theory of hominid development does not mean that Blacks are the "default" race. Blacks are rather an early, pre-mutational hominid form and a separate race.

Most societies that we have any history about were patriarchal. This not a product of religion but of evolution. This biological dimorphism is reflected throughout the non-spiritual animal realm. This human gender functionality difference is then reflected in society and culture.

The Bible is incarnational - instantiated within time, place and society. The events that make up the Biblical record occurred within a societal context. The Bible operates within but does not necessarily endorse that context. Philemon involves a slave but the book is not about casting down the institution of slavery, rather it is about operating with Christian behavior within those boundaries. Elsewhere Paul says it is better to be free without calling for a revolution.

This is not to say Christianity does not encompass societal reformation. But Christianity does pursue a different approach. In Vietnam, when the war was all but lost, the US forces finally got a clue and began to embrace the winning of "hearts and minds." Too little, too late. Christianity begins with hearts and minds and societal change follows. Christian abolitionists were at the forefront of the anti-slavery movement in North America. There are, of course, nominal "Christians" who favored slavery during the Civil War and who are against women's rights today.

In Corinthians, Paul speaks of a worship mode, who should have their head covered and who should not but finally reaches the foundational principle and states:

"Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God."

First, Paul propounds a worship protocol based on a hierarchy of relationships with the objective of ensuring Christian practice. Seeing this as a hierarchy of human worth is novel and subjective. Then Paul concludes by asserting existential parity between the genders.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it more accurate to point out that women historically have exercised their power in a different way than men have?

One of Rod Meredith's earliest battles with the Global Church of God ministry involved his keeping Sheryl Meredith on GCG's Board of Directors. The Board controlled the Council of Elders, which meant that those elders were under the authority of a woman. People close to Rod knew that Sheryl often gave him ideas about doctrine and how to conduct the Work.

Much the same can be said in PCG about Barbara Flurry, and about Helen Amos after John Amos and Barbara Flurry both died. Barbara Flurry and Helen Amos each affected PCG doctrine and practice far more than anyone other than Gerald Flurry.

We know that HWA got the whole idea for his religion scheme from Loma. Even in the Radio Church of God, Loma loomed large before her death, and many members looked to her as a spiritual authority in her own right.

A man like Rod Meredith liked to be seen as powerful. Many women, by contrast, are happy to be powerful without calling attention to themselves.

Anonymous said...

After reading this article I still don't know what point you are trying to make. I attend a church in which the associate pastor is a woman, I suppose you have a problem with that?!

Cowgirl In Arizona said...

I'm a fundamentalist preacher and I'm a woman.

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous said...
After reading this article I still don't know what point you are trying to make. I attend a church in which the associate pastor is a woman, I suppose you have a problem with that?!

Doesn't sound like you read the article.

Ariel Ben Noach said...

Dennis,

Just to clear something regarding what you said, "Ruth is a Moabite through whom no King of Israel can come".

Ruth became an Israelite (Ruth 1:16-17). She said to Naomi, "Your God is my God, your people is my people", and she sealed it with a vow/oath, "So shall Yehovah do to me and even more if anything but death separates you and me". She joined herself to Yehovah and the people of Israel (Isa 56:1-8; 14:1).

Were you referring to Deu 23:3? If not, please let me know which verse. If yes, verse 3 speaks of the assembly of Yehovah which is also found in the two prior verses. There are 3 groups of people excluded from the assembly - eunuchs, illegitimate and Ammonite/Moabite.

Some say Deu 23:1-3 is a prohibition relating to citizenship or marriage? Daniel was likely a eunuch. If citizenship related, was he excluded because of being a eunuch? If marriage related, marrying female captives was allowed (Deu 21:10-14).

One interpretation is the assembly of Yehovah is the Temple or House of God. In Neh 13:4-9, Eliashib the priest housed Tobiah, an Ammonite, in the storeroom of the house of God. Nehemiah learned about this and kicked Tobiah out. Lam 1:10 states, "The adversary has spread his hand over all her pleasant things; for she has seen the nations enter her sanctuary, those whom You commanded not to enter Your assembly."

Hoss said...

nck re: menstruation

The action you described, women isolating themselves during menstruation, could have been done to avoid making others unclean (Hebrew: tamah). Lev 15 shows that this type of uncleanness is "contagious" to varying degrees.
This may not seem significant today, but in the Biblical setting, someone who was unclean was not allowed to enter the Temple until the uncleanness had been dealt with in the prescribed manner.
Apart from the Torah instruction, I wouldn't know how a tribe in Africa adopted the practice you described.

What About The Truth said...

In my early years in the Worldwide Church of God as a single person I had no idea there was a problem with the overlording of women by their husbands and the ministry. In 1990, we got a new minister and this man's first priority was to try to put and end to the lording over of women by their husbands. All the women in the church were raving about the minister's words and actions. This Pastor even dissolved the marriage of one couple because the husband would not change his ways. They shipped the man to a neighboring Pastorate. I was now awakened to the fact that there must be a big problem in the church.

Obviously this isn't only a church wide problem. The church always mimics the world. Don't believe me - go read Corinthians for a little perspective. The upbringing of male children is a huge factor in how that now man, will interact with the female gender. Poor mental health ads to the problem - I have known many men with an inferiority complex usually with very pretty wives who absolutely smother them from all angles.

Hard solutions in this day and age for all. If the men in positions of authority are not going to change their ways, there is no chance that the church culture will change. And the poor women of the church are at risk to always being a continuing victim.

Byker Bob said...

I’m wondering how these ACOGs will react in a few years when such sciences as stem cell research and genetic engineering literally make it possible for one to alter one’s gender! The lines on their teachings are really going to be blurred by that breakthrough!

BB

nck said...

"I’m wondering how these ACOGs will react in a few years when such sciences as stem cell research and genetic engineering literally make it possible for one to alter one’s gender! The lines on their teachings are really going to be blurred by that breakthrough!

BB"


During my stint in WCG I was never taught differently as to the outcome of mankind.
Genderlesness was the ultimate goal, while ruling that hamlet on tatooine.

nck

Anonymous said...

http://lemonlimemoon.blogspot.com/2007/11/why-ruth-was-not-moabite.html