What Is Of Man, and What Is Divine?

Black Woman Meditate

This may end up being my first early Sunday Thoughts post.

What is of man, and what is Divine?

That is the question I put forth today. Oh, I might end up blaspheming and being heretical and/or come off like an infidel or heathen or whatever other names people like to call other people when religion gets involved. But at this point I absolutely don’t care.

I can tell you when something is of man. And I use man to mean male, not “mankind” which, is, if you look at it, basically the same thing. Which brings me right back to my point. I can tell when something is of man.

When there is an inequality between gender, when there is no reason for it.

Many people’s idea and concept of the Divine or God or a Deity I think is very small. If I was a being or an entity that could create not only the world and everything in it, but the vastness and Foreverness of something like the Universe, then REALLY. Am I going to be so petty as to assign hierarchy on my creations based on plumbing? I. Think. NOT.

~*~

Christianity and its two main branches, are ruled or headed by and large for the most part, men. Catholicism most definitely. Protestantism has so many branches of its own, there is not one central um WHATEVER to point out. However, if you were able to take a snapshot of every protestant service in this nation this Sunday, dollars to donuts you’d find the vast majority being led by a male. Ditto goes for a world-wide snapshot.

The Pope is the leader of the Catholic church. In order to one day become that leader, you must first be a priest. The Pope is chosen from the rank of Cardinal, by votes in conclave by other Cardinals. If you happen to be a Catholic nun, well then you are out of the running from the start. A priest can hope one day to become a Cardinal. A nun cannot.

There have been documented rumors of a female Pope or two. Because of that, now part of the investiture ceremony there is a checking of the genitalia. Yes indeed. No more sneaking into leadership positions! Until the Catholic church opens up the track of leadership to nuns, there will never be a female Pope.

The Protestant side of things is a bit more flexible. But not by much. I’ve noticed when say the Baptist Leadership gathers for a conference, there are little to no women present. Some may have experienced, and seen and been a part of protestant church life, and noticed that women have a huge role in pretty much running things. That is until you get to the level of Reverend, Pastor and Preacher etc. Then you see that glass ceiling kick in, more often than not.

~*~

Judaism has similar issues. I do know there are more and more female rabbis around (at least in the US), but in the orthodox, I’m pretty sure not. I am not as well versed in the practices of Judaism, as I am in other areas, so if I am wrong about something I write here, please do correct me.

I believe that women are separated from the men during worship services. Some synagogues they are equally seated in front of the (altar?) but with a sheet or some other type of barrier keeping them on different sides. Some other synagogues have women in a whole other place – up and towards the back or sides behind a screen type thing.

Women are also not allowed to to worship in public holy places like the Wailing Wall. However, google “women at the wailing wall” and you might come up with some interesting links…

The gender demographics in the Jewish orthodoxy might look similar to the Catholic gender demographics. Outside of the orthodoxy, maybe more similar to the Protestant demographics. Note, that in each case, women are still either completely excluded from leadership or are in significantly small numbers.

~*~

Islam is also problematic in this area. The Imam is the leadership role in the mosque, I believe. There are very few, if any female Imams. Women are also kept separate in worship. Sometimes “the Muslim world” will come together and appoint an overall leader – Caliph? – none have been female.

Again, if my information is wrong, please correct me. I am not so familiar with this religion either.

~*~

Buddhism, the faith that I practice, has similar issues as well. There are ever so many branches of Buddhism, that I could not begin to cover them all. I know that for the most part, like for example in Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama, the religious leader has always been male.

Interesting to note that the current Dalai Lama on his retirement in 2011 has indicated: that the institution of the Dalai Lama may be abolished in the future, and also that the next Dalai Lama may be found outside Tibet and may be female.

In my own particular sect, the priests were like Protestant pastors and reverends – able to marry and have families. However they were all male. I believe there is still very much a separation between Buddhist monks and nuns, akin to the separation of priests and nuns in the Catholic church.

There is inequality in the balance of power, in the tracks toward leadership positions, and so on.

~*~

How do I know when something is of man and not Divine?

When teachings say things like “we are all equal in the sight of the Lord” and yet the reality is so very unequal.

When teachings conveniently vilify women and uplift men. I know that to be of man and not the Divine.

When you have to check and make doubly sure the duly elected leader has “man parts” before conferring power. That is not Divine.

When the Divine is twisted and repackaged to support and further entrench the power of man.

When one gender is raised above another.

It has been said that the winners are the ones who write history. I say that the same goes for religious texts supposedly written by a Deity, or uttered by the Divine to be transcribed by mortals.

Every person who has gone through seminary school, and similar religious type schooling understands the reality of the scriptures that they are to go on and teach.

There has been a lot of history where reading and writing has been kept firmly in the hands of those in power. Where around the table where such decisions were made as to what texts to include in the Bible no woman was present. And from what texts do you think the final results were chosen? Those written by men.

Things are more open now. You don’t have to believe me. Go take some of those seminary courses. Nab a few classes in Bible history and religion. Study the roots and the history of the texts of your own faith. Find out for yourself.

~*~

What is Divine may or may not have its own gender. But I tell you what:

Imagine a life where the head of your religious organization is male, where the God everyone worships is male, and his progeny – also worshiped as Divine – is male. Where all or most of your local and civic leadership is male. When you turn on the news, those telling you what happened out there in the world are more often than not male.

When your entertainment is made for males, the protagonist in nearly all stories told is male, when the point of view of nearly everything defaults to the male perspective. When the leadership of your country are nearly all males. Where the laws being handed down and enforced are almost always by males.

Where respect, power, fiscal advantage, security and movement in society rests nearly always in the hands of males.

Imagine a world like that, and you are male.

Imagine a world like that, and you are female.

~*~

These things matter. The imbalance of the world makes for horrible things to happen. That is why I say to all the males out there. You must step up. If you life your life without actively pushing against this male dominated society, you are complicit in its doings.

Just managing to live your life as decent guy is no longer enough. I truth, it never has been enough.

Those males that seek to have, hold and keep the reigns of power at the expense of females, have lulled their so-called brothers into the false belief that they need not do anything. That the world is as it should be.

In this nation where there are are nearly five million more females than males, this imbalance, this inequality is doubly galling.

~*~

I for one have had enough.

Recent events prompted me to write this. I can’t speak on those things specifically because they are too triggering. Thank goodness for Melissa Harris-Perry and others who have been so vocal about this. They speak for me and countless others who cannot.

Why all this religious stuff then?

Because the very places that so many of us seek solace and comfort in these times of hurt and stress, are as male dominated as the arenas in which we were hurt in and are fleeing from. 

Call it tactics. Whatever. I use what tools I have at my disposal to help make the subject matter pop out at you and then stick in your brain.

The stark reality is that males are ruling and running things, and females are subsequently put at risk because of it.

Changes need to be made.

There was a petition out calling for the judge in that case to resign. Perhaps now those voters will not re-elect him to his seat of power.

But it isn’t about one judge, or one national media source allowing a platform for a rape apologist to support his actions.

It is about if we as a society are tired of how things are.

I know I sure am. People say that I can’t just up and say that men aren’t fit to lead. I think that I can say those things. Men have been leading all aspects of our society since the beginnings of our nation, and look at this horrible mess.

Perhaps women should give it a go. It will be difficult, because as we have seen many times before, just being female doesn’t guarantee that you aren’t already conditioned by the patriarchy and its misogynist rape culture.

We will have to pick and choose wisely.

Women will have to reach across those aisles and political divides – those man-made divisions – and come together in solidarity and drive and fight and make those much needed changes.

We all have seen males squabbling and disagreeing and digging their heels in – over such petty differences – that they get in the way of themselves, get in the way of justice, get in the way of governing and doing for the people what we have demanded and elected them to do.

So out with the lot of them. It will take time. Years, decades, whatever. But we need to start yesterday and play the long game and turn the tables.

For the Love of our Daughters. Our Mothers. Our Grandmothers. Our Nieces. Our Aunts. For the love of good and decent people everywhere who are tired of living in this man-made world.

______________________________________________

I’m tired.
I am physically ill contemplating how our nation is, how the world is.
Inequality is so dangerous and so death-making.
I pray whoever reads this gains inspiration to start the ball rolling. To come together with other like-minded individuals.
To begin to make a world that the Divine most likely envisioned when She created the World, the Universe and Everything Else.
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About Awake BW

Black Celibate Buddhist Nun Insomniac Wordsmith iDance Womanist Domme iRead Incognegro Our Lady Of The Two Black Cats Educated Bodhisattva Silver Glitter Nailpolish Is My Crack TWiB Addicted Ain't I A Woman.
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8 Responses to What Is Of Man, and What Is Divine?

  1. revmatthews says:

    “…If I was a being or an entity that could create not only the world and everything in it, but the vastness and Foreverness of something like the Universe, then REALLY. Am I going to be so petty as to assign hierarchy on my creations based on plumbing? I. Think. NOT…”

    Then, follow your logic to its natural conclusion. He didn’t assign hierarchy based on plumbing. He assigned it based on function. Your argument is like a wrench arguing against the role of the screwdriver. Two different tools, two different functions, metaphorically speaking, but both having their place in the toolbox.

    Men function with power. Women function with influence. Not to say, I repeat, not to say, that women cannot effectively exercise power. What I am saying is that for every man in positions of power, there is a slew of women who influence the use of his power. Wives, mothers (in law), staff members, girlfriends, etc, ad infinitum, all influence his decision-making power.

    But, I give you credit in that you shape your argument well. Too bad your premise is faulty. An inch off @ the beginning can make you two feet off @ the distal end…

    Keep writing. This (male-dominated) world needs a non-traditional POV.

    • Awake BW says:

      To begin with, I’m not sure The Deity you are speaking about even has a gender.

      I also don’t believe She assigned the hierarchy I spoke of, which is my point. Those things are the man-made. What we have done with our free will.
      You could say males have assigned themselves roles of power or function or whatever. When we live in a world where there is no need in about 95% of human arenas for gender splitting, I can see no other reason for it. It makes no sense otherwise.

      Why do you think so many women use that influence thing instead of that power thing? When you are denied those power roles, you do what you can with what you’ve got. It is not because of some divinely assigned role.

      Would a female totally eff things up if she were a pope? A rabbi? A pastor? No more or no less than any other human being would or would not. If you gave those behind the scenes women opportunities for leadership what do you think would happen?

      “Because you are female” isn’t a reason to deny equality, equal access, balance in social structures. The only areas where I see differences are in the physical things like sports, and even now, as we are finally free (er) to learn just what our female bodies are capable of, that divide narrows by the decade.

      The woman exercising power and influence behind the scenes, the “behind every strong man is a strong woman”, thing is tired and old-fashioned.
      Behind every strong woman, there is a strong man. Does that sound funny to you? It shouldn’t. What I do is flip the script. But also those old school mores leave out LGBT, and I’m not about that life either.

      Why should I sit down in church every Sunday and see women running the whole shebang “behind the scenes” in support of the male preacher? Why not we ALL pitch in on ALL levels and balance out the numbers at the top? Why should I accept that glass ceiling? Because it is the way it is, or it is the way it has been for centuries?

      Racism has been the way it is, and has been that way for centuries and you don’t see me sitting down and taking it. So too should you or me or anyone else reading this NOT sit down and take gender inequality.

      My views are not non-traditional. They are what time it is right now. They are the future.

      And especially in this country where women are the majority by about 5 million, our voices should be heard, we should be in within those power structures, we should be in those positions of power. Those things, those entities, those positions dictate how our lives will be effected, and there is nothing that you or anyone can tell me, any reason anyone can give, to convince me that what I just said is wrong.

      I’m advocating for equality. Pure and simple.

  2. revmatthews says:

    You make a valid point, (despite your predilection to verbal convolution). Since I have the same trait, it would be hypocritical of me to be mat at’cha. So, I shan’t. However…
    Your first 2 sentences invalidate each other. Either (S)he did, or (S)he didn’t; either (S)he can, or, (S)he can’t. Pick one.
    You can’t castigate men for acting true to their nature to exercise power, then hide behind the feminine trait of manipulating events to divert blame (“…the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”)
    If “the “behind every strong man is a strong woman”, thing is tired and old-fashioned.” then so is the idea that “men have all the power, and we females are denied access, but if we had power, the world would be a better place, Kumbaya, Kumbaya, blah, blah, blah…”

    You can’t exercise influence and beg for power. It doesn’t work. If you (I don’t mean “you” in a personal sense, of course) want something a man has, you have to do what he did to get it, and, frankly, in my experience, most women don’t have the cohones to pull it off. I wonder why?
    Oh!
    Because ovaries aint cohones! Who knew?

    Gender equality is, in the words of Bob Marley,
    “…will remain but a fleeting illusion
    to be pursued…but never obtained…”
    Why? Because power is never yielded willingly by the powerful, it must be taken by force, by people who are willing to die in the attempt.

    I don’t see many women lining up for that.

    I don’t want to end on a cynical note. I came across your writings a few weeks ago, and I am an admirer of your skill in the handling of words, as well as your apparent passion for your belief set. I enjoy engaging intelligent and open minds, and exposing people to alternate POVs.

    • Awake BW says:

      It kind of works better to have conversations here – and elsewhere on the net I imagine – if you don’t go around commenting on and attempting to correct my grammar and whatsnot. I replied to your gendered rendition of a deity with a gendered rendition of my own. On Purpose. To make a point. The same point which seems to have been lost on you three times now, so I’ll stop bothering.

      In about two months I will be celebrating my 45th birthday. I have traveled the globe and lived in countries other than the USA. I’ve seen and experienced enough to fill two or three lifetimes. I love learning and teaching, sharing and observing. Being talked down to, or at doesn’t work well for me, or to have my words twisted and changed.

      I never said: ““men have all the power, and we females are denied access, but if we had power, the world would be a better place”. In the tons of blog posts I’ve done about equality, I’ve talked about women running things, and my interest in seeing what the outcome would be. In this post alone I express that females in leadership roles will have the same chance at success or failure as any other human being.

      I personally believe that things would be better if there was balance and equality in all things across the human spectrum. Because I’m not interested in continuing to live in the status quo, because it is a mess. Change is needed. If things could be fixed the way they are and have been, then they would have. They haven’t been, so I say lets try something different and see how that goes.

      Which is again my point. That the requirements for so many of these positions are that you be human. Not male human. That the gender requirement is the man-made construct, and not a mandate from heaven or anywhere else.

      Women don’t “beg for power”. If we want it, we take it. I was told knowledge is power, and that having an education would open doors for me. So I put myself on the pathways that would lead to that knowledge and power, just like so many other women have. Of course those in power aren’t about to give it up to anyone. We didn’t start this movement towards equality yesterday, or last week. We have known and understood this across the ages.

      It could be said that in order to win within a framework that is set up for those bearing “cohones”, that it would be impossible to do so unless you were so equipped. I’m not sure what exactly you were referring to other than American society in general, but there are 100’s if not thousands of examples of women how have “pulled that off” and then some.

      It doesn’t take some special sort of male whatever to be a construction worker. It might take some brawn, and some training. None of which is outside the realm of women to acquire. It doesn’t take some special sort of whatever to be (trying to think of male dominated fields here): a scientist, lawyer, IT tech, athlete, doctor, author, religious leader, coach, judge, mechanic, plumber, STEM etc etc.

      In fact, many of those fields are already starting to become equalized. You might not like my grammar or my writing style, but are you saying that you are not interested in equality between human beings on this planet? I’m just curious. You can pick apart my writing, and I’ll just ignore it and keep it stepping, but are you pushing back because you do not believe that men and women are equal beings?

      There is an imbalance in this country and in this world. I seek to and fight for, and have put myself in harms way for the balancing out. Yes, women – in this country and around the world – have “signed up for”, have stood up, fought for and even laid their lives down for equality. I’m sort of sad that you said you have never seen that.

  3. revmatthews says:

    O……..k…

    My sister (a fellow blogger) often tells me, “Reading is fundamental,” when, in my haste to get to the bottom line of what she is telling me, overlook a key word or phrase she is trying to impart.
    I seem to have been guilty of that again. Mea culpa.

    I wish to clarify one point, however. I was, in no way, shape or form, attempting to correct your grammar. I have encountered quite a few females who INSIST that God is a female. I mistakenly thought you were in that number. I keep forgetting that typing lacks the nuances of spoken conversation, and that keystrokes can only process words, not raw thought.

    I also have difficulty with pronoun usage, in that I have to learn to express a difference in “you” impersonal, versus “you” personally. Please understand that when I say “you,” I probably more accurately mean “people in general,” although I think that’s a bit complicated to do without making 3 left turns to go right, verbally speaking.

    Anyhow, I think our point of disagreement is the belief that “I personally believe that things would be better if there was balance and equality in all things across the human spectrum.”
    Nothing wrong with balance and equity in areas where it is useful and effective, but when I need an apple, an orange won’t do. And, vice-versa.

    “… are you pushing back because you do not believe that men and women are equal beings?”

    Equal in talents, giftings, intelligence, and potential? YES.

    (Actually, science tells us that the female brain has a neuron density greater than a male brain, but that’s another topic for another day.)

    Equal in function and purpose? NO.

    What I do think is that together, we make one sentient whole. That together, we complete what singularly, we lack. As far as men being in power, the warped result is what happens when we warp the Original Purpose. A dent in the cookie cutter makes batch after batch after batch of messed up cookies, AKA The Human Population, AKA Human History. To be honest, I wonder why, (sometimes) considering the plumbing, women AREN’T in charge.

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding you, which is completely possible. And, it is also possible that your study, research, conversation, and association (I forgot, participation) with the “talented tenth” of your gender causes you to transfer your POV on all women. Same thing happens to me when I assume all Black men are Afrocentric, then I’m shocked to find they’re not.

    Once again, I apologize for unwittingly insinuating that your use of (forgive me) the Queen’s English was less than stellar. Did NOT mean that, do NOT believe that. I read a lot of blogs, and I only comment on those that I find thought-provoking and a challenge to my traditional, Old-School thinking.

    Your blog more than qualifies.

    Please keep writing.

    BTW, your Paragraph 2 is lacking 5 years and a masculine pronoun to be a pretty good description of moi.

  4. Amira K. says:

    I just want to say that you inspire me so much. This was an incredibly well-written and hard-hitting post that has, like so many of your other writings, inspired me to sit up and take notice. It’s long past time for the world to bring equality to the fore and make every human equal before the eyes of God AND man. Out with the old prejudices, in with the new equality.

    Thanks for writing this.

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