Calling all apologists!
You know I'm rereading The Da Vinci Hoax. The first time through, I did start to wonder why Jesus couldn't have been married. Mind you, I never went to the fantasy realm of "He was but it was hidden," but the question of "Why not?" was bouncing around in my head.
I dawned on me one evening as I was brushing my teeth. Duh, His bride is the Church. Hit me upside the head with a grouper, why don't you? And yeah, it's sinking in now this second time through.
Anyway, I was discussing this with a non-Christian friend (who probably will read this, so if you comment, be charitable). She finds Jesus' lack of sex unnatural. She doesn't question his celibacy, as far as I know, just the naturalness of it. If He were here on earth to have the full human experience, sex would have to be included.
That assumes the goal of the Incarnation was to have the human experience, not to redeem us from sin, which as a Christian is what I believe. The means was taking on flesh, not the end. His goal was to save us through being human.
She also questions Mary's perpetual virginity. Her opinion is that Jesus would not have been born into an unnatural relationship, which is what Joseph and Mary would have had (given that it was not sexual in nature).
I explained the idea of the Jewish tabernacle, where God dwelt, and its inviolability. Being a good and observant Jew, Joseph wouldn't have to be told that bit twice. There's also that ancient Jewish tradition of a husband ceasing relations with a wife after rape or adultery (at least, if he were a priest). Though Mary was neither raped nor adulterous, and Joseph a carpenter not a priest, she did bear a child not her husband's, so it would make sense that he would not have relations with her.
My question to all of you apologists is, how to explain this stuff to a non-Christian? Sex is a natural thing. True. It's a very good thing. It's God's invitation to create the best He's done with Him: another human being. I know it's not a right, it's a gift or privilege.
So how to explain that it's not unnatural not to have it?
Feminism vs. Motherhood
It's still Heather, though a slightly darker shade of red. I thought it would be easier on the eyes.
I'm currently re-reading The Da Vinci Hoax (highly recommended!), because the first time wasn't enough. There's a lot of meat there. I'm struck by the idea of the "sacred feminine."
I've already mentioned the Church has one: Virgin Mary. What feminists try to do with Magdalen is turn her into Peter in drag, and the idea of her with Jesus' child is a footnote. Does that seem to denigrate motherhood, or is it me?
But that is what modern feminism seems to want to do to all women, not just Magdalen: turn us into men in a dress. Sure, we can be just as good or bad as men at just about anything. I believe that. We can be just as altruistic, just as selfish, just as smart or stupid. Really. I might not watch much news, but I do watch enough to know that.
Once upon a time, feminism was a good thing. We couldn't vote, own property, keep our children after a divorce (or even widowhood, possibly). We weren't allowed into institutions of higher learning. The list of injustices could go on and on. Now we can, at least here in the U.S.
All of these to get women equal importance. What has been forgotten is that "equal" is not synonymous with "identical." We aren't the same as men. The native American proverb is, "Women hold up half the sky." It's not the same half as men. It's the complementary half.
What can women do that distinguishes them? Have babies. Become mothers. (On a related note, why does "mothering a child" involve an interminable list of activities, while "fathering a child" involves just one?) Our society gives lip service to motherhood, but in reality does not much to support it. Just about any stay-at-home mom will tell you that.
I think feminism found a foothold in that societal denial of women's importance and it's perpetuating itself by cutting off the head of the hydra it's purporting to fight.
So women can't be men and we keep trying and get frustrated. If we could let ourselves just be women, and our society realized our importance, I think the feminists would find their meetings a lot lonelier.
These are some pieces of advice I've picked up or figured out in my almost 3 years of motherhood. I've got an entry on feminism and womanhood incubating, but it'll take more time than I have right now, so these tips will have to do.
1. An hour or so of monitored TV (like a DVD or commercial-free program), so you can do something like shower/dishes/use the toilet unsupervised/put laundry away, is nothing to feel guilty about nor will it probably do irreparable harm.
2. Decoration on the front of little girls' panties helps them get them on frontwards. Fabric paint is great for this, and if you let the little girl concerned suggest the decoration it's even more fun. (Little boys don't have this problem, what with the fly in front and all.) It's also convenient if your little girl develops a fondness for construction equipment--she can wear her backhoe panties, be happy, and nobody else is the wiser.
3. A mesh laundry bag, like the kind for delicates, is wonderful for keeping tiny little socks out of trouble in the washer. I read a blurb from a mom who pins the socks together in pairs, but that means keeping track of safety pins. Frankly, throwing them all into a bag takes less time. You'd have to unpin them to wear them, anyway.
4. Though letting a small child choose their clothes can really provide some fashion accidents, they probably won't be bad enough to go on What Not to Wear.
Does anyone else have survival advice?
And the award goes to...
Madeleine's current favorite video is, of all things, our wedding video. It ranks higher than Sesame Street, even. A few years back, Dale got it on DVD for me for Mother's Day (we already had it on VHS, but we could see where the future was going). She actually prefers the mass part (she recognizes the church) to the reception part.
How did she find this out this existed? We have an 8x10 picture up in our living room, from a Polaroid taken right after the wedding (thank you, Mrs. Beth G.). I asked if she wanted to watch it on TV. The talking lamp? Of course, Mom!
It was of course a Catholic wedding, full mass. Despite the responsorial psalm seems to last forever, and the priest (God love him) has a kind of lengthy and meandering homily, the girl won't let me skip parts. She wanders away, sure, but most of the time she's attentive. Even the little guy watches; maybe it's the seeing familiar faces on TV that gets his interest.
As I watch it--for the third (fourth?) time in three days--I'm reminded of how happy I was that day. There are no real embarrassing moments for anyone. The closest I can come is a friend trying to do the splits and about doing a Theisman on the dance floor instead, but his pants remain intact.
I see again how pretty everyone looked: all three of my bridesmaids, my sisters-in-law, everyone. Misty wore a dress, and the only other time I can recall her wearing one is her own wedding (if it weren't for church, I wouldn't be much different). Maria looks stunning, especially considering she got ready in a hotel that morning and was in the first trimester of what I recall being told was a tough pregnancy. The bridesmaids, both mothers, and Maria were all in green, a fact I find kind of funny. My sister would have been, too, but her order didn't arrive in time so she had to borrow one from her (now) mother-in-law.
On tape my dress seems a lot more sparkly and sequined than I recall it being, but that's okay. I'm afraid to show her my dress in its box. I'll have to drag it out on a regular basis, I'm sure, for quite a while.
Madeleine hasn't asked where she was that day yet, but I'm sure it's coming. She's already sure she stayed with Grandma for the honeymoon.