Words

Life

Category: Person and Nature

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.

by Andrea Elizabeth

During one of the Q&A’s, Fr. Maximos was asked if man-made things have a logos. Fr. said no, only natural, God-made objects do. I would propose that man-made objects have a different logos. This is a combination of a God-created and man-manipulated logos, meaning intention. I believe God created nature to be somewhat manipulated, or cultivated. The discussion was many faceted covering things like gmo’s, atomic bombs and sky-scrapers which were strongly felt to be very unnatural. Items worked for use in the Church were not designated as having a logos. I believe that artificially (in the Aristotelian sense) manufactured items are imbued with a creatively inspired logos that God has given man the ability to bestow on his creation. There are three possible categories for these logoi: consecrated for good, evil, or for secular use. Even if an Auschwitz gas chamber were made, I don’t think it is totally without a logos. The stones and metal have been abused. They are still performing their God-given functions of strength and distribution, but to their dismay are being used for ill. I think decommissioned Auschwitz is a shrine to those whose lives were lost, the devil’s enslavement of the Nazi soldiers, who still have a logos by the way, and the abused materials that made the buildings.

To say a manufactured product, which also includes fine art, has a divine logos is to say that God determined that that piece would be made exactly as it was. This is how Calvinists view the Bible. Contrarily, if we think that the stories in the Bible were also influenced by human free will, then the Bible is a combination of divine and human intention.

It’s kind of like God is the grandfather of man-made things. Grandchildren have the DNA of the grandparent, but of three other grandparents as well.

Back to naturally created things, I saw a PBS show a while ago that said that geology is changed when man is present. I wish I could remember more, but I think it was saying that man’s simple act of breathing chemically changes his environment. If that is true, then nothing is untainted by human manipulation.

By the way, I don’t agree with Aristotle’s quote in my title either. There was a similar division proposed in the lectures between the outward appearance and inner essence of a thing as well. I don’t think the outer and inner are so divorced from each other. St. Maximus taught that Christ came to heal divided things. Granted inner and outer isn’t listed in his famous five*, but still. The superficial is a respected part of an object and can communicate a lot about it, like a face in an icon does. It does take spiritual sight to see the divine, but the divine doesn’t destroy the created thing, which is the whole point of the burning bush. The fire and the bush are significant.

*created and uncreated, intelligible and sensible, heaven and earth, paradise and universe, male and female. from here, which is not where I originally got it. I think it was from Dr. Joseph Farrell’s introduction from St. Maximus’ Disputation with Pyrrhus, but it may have been from On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ.

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More of me and thee

by Andrea Elizabeth

Since my last post, “Pronouns“, I have read a few articles and picked up again, A Eucharistic Ontology, Maximus the Confessor’s Eschatological Ontology of Being as Dialogical Reciprocity by Nikolaos Loudovikos. Rather than getting technical above my pay-grade, I will say that I don’t know why I so easily forget things I learn. Rescanning the introduction I find that absolute kenosis is indeed an unwarranted annihilation of self. There is desired reciprocity. I get confused in the process of repentance, however. Dying to self can seem like annihilation, but sacrifice in faith is immediately met with the filling of something new. Deprivation feels like death I guess because we want to be full. Full of something besides ourselves. But we want to be full of the right things in proper amounts. If one has bad habits, one is used to being temporarily filled with unfulfilling things. Severing the attachment to unfulfilling things temporarily, I suppose, feels like self-annihilation. But why would one feel annihilated if the thing severed from is not oneself? Because reciprocity is part of life?

Narcissism is reciprocity with oneself. How can one find oneself more fulfilling than others? Abuse and neglect can be factors. A person can feel he can take care of himself better than others can. Narcissus was truly more beautiful than others. Why should he not respond to his own reflection? Turning away from something more captivating can feel like death. Should he do it because it violates a rule? Unless one is coerced out of fear of death, one may find that rules aren’t enough to curb his behavior. It could be said that Narcissus made an idol out of himself, which violates the first commandment. Besides fear of punishment, Psalms (45:2) and Song of Solomon also describe Christ as the fairest of them all, contrary to Isaiah 53 saying He had no form or comeliness. We desire reciprocity with the fairest of them all. I’ll go out on a limb and speculate that truly loving others indiscriminately can be sincerely done in Christ, in seeing Him in all creatures. It may be true that some created things reflect his character more concentratedly than others, like the sun. But nothing exists apart from Him, so love for Christ can be projected on everything. This is what Saints do, I imagine.

For those who have not reached Sainthood, there is a process of learning to love Christ first, who is indeed worthy. I don’t know if it is anthropomorphism to talk about God’s preferential treatment of some things and not of others, like the barren fig tree. I have heard of experiential realities based on a creature’s preparation for the glory of God, where unsuited things suffer in His presence. This type of incompatibility is one sided. Judgment day may reveal another, I don’t know.

Back to what I mentioned in “Pronouns” about Person and Nature, here is a quote from the introduction to Eucharistic Ontology, “Nature is something that is planned, given and discussed in the perspective of this eschatological formation, and finally emerges in the eschata. Person refers exactly to this eschatological/dialogical mode of existence of nature. It is the very formation and not the escape from nature that makes the person really exist.” (p. 8,9) Dialogue with one’s own nature? How does that escape narcissism? If there wasn’t a Trinity, it probably would be narcissism. Our nature is Christ’s nature since the Incarnation, and we are to pattern ourselves after His dwelling in it. But He was in dialogue with His Father, “Not My will be done, but Thine.” And it did lead to death. And resurrected life. Life in the Kingdom, not alone.

Pronouns

by Andrea Elizabeth

Are there just 2 choices, one right and one wrong? You or me, left or right? This may be the perception. It is more difficult to consider multiple valid options, such as up, down, front and back, with right and left, so maybe that’s why we don’t. Does that mean Hegel was lazy? Or narcissistic?

Is reality one, as Hegel suggests – a single synthesis of me and the other,

or is it one in that it is the relationship between me and the other,

or just me,

or just the other,

or is it dual as the other and how it changed me,

or multiple as all the independent others, including me,

or all the instances of relationships between each of the others, also allowing for independence and exclusiveness,

or all the relationships being mutually dependent,

or all independent beings, with their relationships being another entity, and is the nature of the independent being changed by the relationship(s)?

The above imply that reality is equal to one’s consciousness of it. Reality can also be viewed as an ontologically unchangeable thing regardless of one’s consciousness of it. But one has to leave oneself behind, as Carly learns in “Haven’t Got Time for the Pain”, to perceive this ontology that exists whether I realize it or not. 

Or is there room to believe that one’s consciousness of things also changes reality such that reality includes the dynamic of enlightenment. Enlightenment and ignorance change things. This is a common theme in literature. Pride and Prejudice is all about how ignorance leads to a set of actions that make a certain reality, and enlightenment leads to another set for a different reality. Both experienced and actualized. Ignorance and misunderstanding lead to the distance between good people with the union of not so good people, and enlightenment leads to the union of the good people. This leads to the belief  that good as a reality, is obtained through the quest for truth, which seems to be who has good character and who has bad so that I know who to unite myself to. Therefore the goal of the knowledge of reality is relationship. This is not exactly dualistic, but interpretation through a sliding scale of the worst, worse, bad, good, better and best. Dualism can still be noted in that there are still two ingredients, the good, which is to be united to, and the bad, which is to be avoided as much as possible.

Does the amount of enlightenment and the nature of the relationship change the nature of the individual? My understanding of human nature through what I’ve studied in Orthodox teaching, is that it is one and unchangeable. But a person’s participation with true humanity is on a sliding scale. It is negatively affected by sin and unconsciousness. Is a person less human who is of bad character and unconscious of goodness? I don’t think they are less in that they become something else, but I think they are smaller, as when Lewis’ Tragedian in The Great Divorce gets bigger and the man gets smaller the more he listens to him and accepts him. The man doesn’t become the Tragedian, he just disappears.

So if one person disappears, how are others affected? Is it an independent occurrence, or do the ones he is related to suffer as well? Or is it just the relationship as a separate entity that suffers? And are our multiple relationships with things compartmentalized within ourselves? I lean towards domino effects, so that one’s relationship with a small person affects one’s other relationships, but do they affect you as a person other than your perceptions and therefore future decisions? They probably do contribute to one’s personal size, or attainment of humanity. One has to decide to get caught up in the other’s dysfunction, or reject it, and how it is allowed to affect one’s view of others. This implies one needs to be more conscious of reality. One needs to be enlightened to become more human.

So is the enlightened person only concerned with the other, regardless of consciousness of relationship or of how the relationship affects him personally? The enlighten person should read his, or his actions’, affect on the other person. That is, the other person’s relationship with him. Perhaps how one is affected by another person or their actions is dependent on how big or small they are. Impassibility entails being unaffected. Loving indiscriminately. But there is the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved. There are those he considered his friends. Maybe this was his human nature. But Enoch walked with God and was no more. And Moses and David were more intimate with Him. Their relationships were results of their character, their bigness.

How conscious of ones self should one be? Carly, in “You’re So Vain”, chides you for thinking the song is about you, but isn’t it also about her? Is it ok to have it be about yourself (Narcissism), but not think that others’ songs are about you? In a certain introduction to the Psalms, in these songs, it is ok to think they are about you, sins (not other people as enemies), and Christ (who I’ll add, includes the least of the brethren). Multiple.

Christ’s equality with the Father

by Andrea Elizabeth

This is very helpful in understanding Hebrews:

The phrase “God hath highly exalted Him”
was understood on the one hand by the Arians to mean that Christ was a
creature. But for Athanasius, following now the patristic ordo theologiae
with exacting precision, it meant that Christ had both a divine nature and a
human one, and that the phrase was applicable to the latter.

Likewise, for the Arians, “the Father is greater than I” meant that
Christ was a creature in His person, but for the Orthodox, following the
new insights gained by St. Athanasius from the old ordo theologiae, it
meant that Christ, in His human nature, was indeed less than God the
Father, but in His divine Person and nature, was equal absolutely. (God, History and Dialectic p. 115)

The Crowd is Untruth

by Andrea Elizabeth

With the Pysanky deadline coming up, I decided to try to listen to some Kierkegaard to stay on topic with my reading while waxing eggs. The iTunes store has the largest selection of LibriVox recordings that I found. In keeping with my previous inquiry into individualism, I listened to the essay, ” That Single Individual” (text). Here is an excerpt:

There is another view of life; which holds that wherever the crowd is, there is untruth, so that, for a moment to carry the matter out to its farthest conclusion, even if every individual possessed the truth in private, yet if they came together into a crowd (so that “the crowd” received any decisive, voting, noisy, audible importance), untruth would at once be let in.[Note 3]

For “the crowd” is untruth. Eternally, godly, christianly what Paul says is valid: “only one receives the prize,” [I Cor. 9:24] not by way of comparison, for in the comparison “the others” are still present. That is to say, everyone can be that one, with God’s help – but only one receives the prize; again, that is to say, everyone should cautiously have dealings with “the others,” and essentially only talk with God and with himself – for only one receives the prize; again, that is to say, the human being is in kinship with, or to be a human is to be in kinship with the divinity. The worldly, temporal, busy, socially-friendly person says this: “How unreasonable, that only one should receive the prize, it is far more probable that several combined receive the prize; and if we become many, then it becomes more certain and also easier for each individually.” Certainly, it is far more probable; and it is also true in relation to all earthly and sensuous prizes; and it becomes the only truth, if it is allowed to rule, for this point of view abolishes both God and the eternal and “the human being’s” kinship with the divinity; it abolishes it or changes it into a fable, and sets the modern (as a matter of fact, the old heathen) in its place, so that to be a human being is like being a specimen which belongs to a race gifted with reason, so that the race, the species, is higher than the individual, or so that there are only specimens, not individuals. But the eternal, which vaults high over the temporal, quiet as the night sky, and God in heaven, who from this exalted state of bliss, without becoming the least bit dizzy, looks out over these innumerable millions and knows each single individual; he, the great examiner, he says: only one receives the prize; that is to say, everyone can receive it, and everyone ought to become this by oneself, but only one receives the prize. Where the crowd is, therefore, or where a decisive importance is attached to the fact that there is a crowd, there no one is working, living, and striving for the highest end, but only for this or that earthly end; since the eternal, the decisive, can only be worked for where there is one; and to become this by oneself, which all can do, is to will to allow God to help you – “the crowd” is untruth.

For the most part I agree with this and what follows, especially, “everyone should cautiously have dealings with “the others,” and essentially only talk with God and with himself”. But this leaves out the communion of the Saints and the conciliar decrees of the Councils, especially at the end of the first paragraph above. But if I were in Kierkegaard’s milieu, I should be more cautious. I am pretty cautious anyway, some may even say paranoid. But I trust what all the Saints have in common and what the Church has decreed. I trust that their prayers and council are beneficial to my finding the truth, God helping me. They are the only ones I can trust, yet my choosing Christ or not is ultimately my responsibility. Anyone outside the Church and her teaching must be listened to with caution. This is why the Church is not the democratically appointing crowd.

The ordo theologiae

by Andrea Elizabeth

The first section of God, History, and Dialectic by Dr. Joseph Farrell is titled,

I. THE RECAPITULATORY ECONOMY OF CHRIST AND THE
VISION OF GOD
A. The Eucharistic Liturgy, Apostolic Tradition, and the Context-
Specific Knowledge and Worship of God

It begins with Psalm 138 (Septuagint)/139, the one about not being able to escape God’s presence, even in hell. Dr. Farrell compares the initial premises of the 1st and 2nd Europes (the east and west) that come to bear in interpreting it. Here at the beginning Dr. Farrell lays out the different ordo theologiae between the two. I hesitate to explain, summarize, and even quote from the text because I can’t do it justice. In the Intro, Dr. Farrell talks about his method of combining a multitude of voices a la fugue, so the consequence of picking individual ones out is to lose the desired, rich, harmonious effect.

But since I’ve talked about the ordo theologiae before, after learning about it on Energetic Procession, I feel it beneficial to cite the source. I also hope to better understand the deeper roots of placing person before nature and vice versa. After explaining how the west interprets the Psalm as describing God’s ubiquitous nature, and the east interprets it as Christ personally going down into hell for our salvation, he contextualizes it at the end of this section:

The Second Europe argues from the divine ubiquity and generalized
philosophical conceptions about God’s Essence to their generalized
characteristics, or Attributes, and only at the end of its thought comes to
“historical” manifestation and application, the Persons. This is its classic
ordo theologiae or “order of doing theology: Essence, Attributes, Persons.
But the First Europe argues from their historical manifestation to their
generalized conception; God is, so to speak, ubiquitous because The
Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are understood to have done
certain things, “Operations” ([Greek word lost in pasting]), and on that basis, concludes
certain things about the essence underlying the operations which the
Persons do. This is its classical ordo theologiae: Persons, Operations,
Essence. Thus, the religious mentalities of the Two Europes not only start
in exactly the opposite places, but proceed in opposite directions, and at
the crucial second stage, refer to a fundamental category of metaphysical
thought by different terms, the one indicating something static, and the
other something dynamic. More will be said about the First Europe’s ordo
theologiae in the Second Chapter; suffice it for the present to point out its
personalism, as distinct from the Second Europe’s impersonalism. (GHD, p. 9)

This brings up the question as to if Christ hadn’t gone down, or even, before Christ descended into Hades, did God (the Trinity, or even the Father, who as source and Monarch of the Trinity, one sometimes means when one says “God”) know what went on there. The Holy Spirit is ubiquitous, as we say of him in the Trisagion prayers, “who art everywhere present and filleth all things”, but is this because Christ went there “before the foundation of the world” in a temporal, time conquering way.

This brings up the necessity of the Incarnation. It is one thing for God to observe from a distance, and another for him to actually go there, so to speak. The Incarnation un-gnostifies things.

Progress?

by Andrea Elizabeth

I don’t usually watch morning television, but George is off this week and we wanted to see what the talk shows were saying over our coffee. A car commercial came on which shows a silent progression of foot prints moving through a path, to horse prints, to rail road tracks to a slick new road with a slick new car. The slogan was, “You can’t stop progress, but you can drive it.” It’s hard to argue against the inevitability of progress when there doesn’t seem to ever have been a time when it abated. Even devastations like the Chicago and San Francisco fires have just cleared the way for “new and improved” technology. One could point to certain reversals of pollution and reclaiming of natural territories, but these have been scientifically engineered with new technology and laws. They aren’t in the same context they were before.

Whether this progression is the result of greed, or because change is part of our predetermined nature, I’m not sure. Curiosity can be unhealthy, but once something is known, things organically change. A new path is forged in our brain and it’s hard not to choose it. One can stay willfully ignorant, but this introduces a new conflict. Before the thing was known it was not fought against. Once one person knows it, then everyone has to make a choice for or against. Deserted island aside (and can this be with google maps?) things are changed forever. I could get theological with this and point to what happened between the east and the west with the Schism, no Charlemagne,  but I’m not completely sure of the ramifications. After this Orthodoxy had to fight within itself against an alternative. There had been heresies before, but the 5 Sees had in pretty short order (if you count 150 years a short amount of time) stamped them out. After the Schism, as much as Orthodox deny it, the Church was divided. I say they deny it because even if (I believe “though”) we maintained the true faith, Rome cannot be as easily dismissed as the Arians and other heretics. They seem more legitimate. I don’t even want to think about the Reformation right now. All I’m saying is that in this sense we can’t go back. The various pathways in our minds and DNA are forged. But is this the ultimate reality? I don’t think so. The mind of Christ can somehow overcome and heal any deficiencies caused by it and baptize what is true.

Justification

by Andrea Elizabeth

“Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.” (Romans 5:18) All of humanity is vindicated or justified at the level of nature in the incarnation which is then carried through to the crucifixion and resurrection. By his death and resurrection Christ defeats death since death cannot contain him. It is not just that it does not have any rights over him, it is that death as annihilation is overpowered and conquered. Death itself is taken captive by God. The weapon of the devil is rendered useless since it does not bring about annihilation of creation. “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:14-15) This is what it means to say with Paul that Christ is raised for our justification. (Romans 4) Justification is not primarily an individual affair. It is not per seabout some nominalistic notion of “covenant” drawn from the Scotists. It is about vindicating God and rescuing his creation, both on a natural and personal level. The justification of human nature is then extended to human persons when they freely align their wills to God’s, as Christ freely wills to suffer for the redemption of creation.” (from Anglicans in Exile, on Energetic Procession)

Mr. Robinson gives an explanation for justification that answers my question on how an Orthodox reads the verses mostly written by St. Paul on the subject. I grew up thinking justification meant a legal and in my case, an unconvincing, magical pardon for sin, “just as if I’d never sinned”. I saw my sins as real, and did not believe that God didn’t. I felt though that perhaps my problem was caused by a depressing lack of faith, another real, burdensome sin. Oy vey.

But he explains it with the other definition, alignment. Such as when we right or left justify the text on a page. Christ lined up our human nature with His. When we are united with Him personally and synergistically through grace and our free will, we learn habits of virtue that make us Christ-like, justified. This makes me much happier and makes me feel better that I don’t have to ignore those verses, or my sins.

Patrisitic Theology: Finis

by Andrea Elizabeth

Father Romanides’ book with its gradually progressing and repeating rhythm of explanation, is very clarifying regarding the Patrisitic method vs. the philosophical method of Theology, the distinctions between essence and energy and person and nature, the relations in the Trinity, the dual natures of Christ, and apophatic theology, (off the top of my head) not that I totally grasp these things, it’s just that they seem in sharper focus.

I found this passage in the last pages the most exciting as it is an answer to the question of the nature of the hypostatic union of Christ’s divine and human natures,

The only part of creation to participate in this kind of theosis [participating in God’s essence] is the human nature of Christ (the God-man). Hence, the essence of God is not only theosis (union or vision) for Christ as God (the Word), but also for Christ as the God-man. In other words, Christ’s human nature does not simply participate in the uncreated energies of God alone, but it also participates in God’s essence (by virtue of the hypostatic union), This theosis is the reason why the union in Christ of the two natures – divine and human – is a union by essence, by hypostasis, and by nature. You can find this terminology in the Church Fathers.

This speaks to an even closer relationship between Christ’s two natures than I have previously understood. The closer the better.

I don’t know whether to share many of the other quotes I marked in this book because it really is worth the read in its entirety. It is available at Uncut Mountain Supply. I may quote some in the future if I feel inspired according to context.

Relationships and Maleness and Femaleness in the Ordo Theologiae

by Andrea Elizabeth

Pardon my aloof, but not really, analysis. I spend considerable time thinking about relationships and will explore some of my observations and theories here. We expect a lot from our relationships. How a mother, father, sister, brother, friend, spouse, daughter, or son, or even ourselves in our male or femaleness or simple humanity should act and be. It seems to me that Plato’s “necessity is the mother of invention” might indicate where we have gotten off track. I believe Father Stephen has written (somewhere) about the fallen state of working from deprivation instead of fullness. In a needy, needs-based culture, the simple motivator for action and feeling is that I lack, or even someone else lacks something. And it must be given to me/them now, and I/they must feel really satisfied afterward. This action/reaction mode begins when we are babies crying from hunger and discomfort and expecting our mothers to fix it, as she should. But still we recognize that a baby in complete control of his mother by this perceived need based one-way street is an imbalanced relationship. And if a mother needs to be needed in that way she is labeled co-dependent. Hopefully we begin to train our children in infancy that some of their desires can wait while others’ are being taken care of. And children can learn to divert themselves. I almost said pacify, but I think that needs further consideration. Pacification is when we become satisfied with less than we truly need. A band-aid instead of healing. We accept substitutes. I’m not going to say pacifiers have no use though. It is painful for a child to learn to give his mother space and to get his needs taken care of elsewhere, so an intermediate device can help ease the trauma. Always there must be balance though. A child should be moving in a healthy direction where he doesn’t need a pacifier any more. Over-dependence on pacifiers may indicate that some of his real needs may not be being met, or maybe there is a certain disposition for needing them. Either way, the child must be wisely and gently guided towards independence.

The most important thing to make a child happily independent, is to know that he is loved. This is where we get confused. We think it is unloving to deprive a child of his original object that he perceives he needs. I haven’t read that much about James Dobson’s tough love, but I do believe constant attention must be paid to guiding a child step by step towards happily meeting his own needs according to the proper order. Where he doesn’t panic if someone is not meeting them for him, and where he remains secure of his parent’s love and their confidence in him. Which leads to another issue. How much confidence to place in one’s child. We can be naive that a child can handle things before he is truly ready. We put too much trust in him that he will make the right decisions and follow through with them. So we have the delicate balance of letting go of them while maintaining close tabs and accountability under our ever-watchful gaze. It can wear a person out. We must continually gauge their reaction to new situations and decide if they are duly stressed, or if it is too much and they need additional help. And this may last forever. Hopefully not if we do our job right, and hopefully we wont just dump a dependent personality on an unsuspecting friend or spouse.

Therefore a healthy balance of independence with love and joy around others seems the way to be. Happy alone, happy together. Perhaps this unilateral sense of calm and peace is what helps us have healthy expectations in relationships. Hopefully children can learn this early on, but I don’t think it’s ever too late. I hope not or I’m in trouble. Perhaps not learning it is the reason for all of the problems people have in relationships and in society. We panic and start to grasp for substitutes to pacify us and then need more and more – food, alcohol, drugs, sex, entertainment, affirmation, and other things I’ve mentioned in other posts. Of course there’s a healthy balance of when to use these, but, I’ll risk sounding even more trite, we should control them, they shouldn’t control us. And many things are given for our enjoyment and we receive them in thanksgiving, offering them back up to God, while not demanding more and more.

____________

I meant to get into the Ordo Theologiae of Person -> Activity -> Nature, but I still haven’t been able to think that through in regards to the distinctions between the sexes. I believe I dealt with common human nature, which is sexless, here. Mothers were singled out, but sometimes men nurture children by necessity or even by preference, and I don’t know how much difference that makes. A man will still nurture a child in a male way, even if he is holding a bottle, and a woman will do it in a female way, even if she is holding a bottle. Their postures will be slightly different, the ways their bodies are distributed will feel different to the baby, but so will the way other men and women who hold the baby. The parental bond affects how we hold babies. We can’t say that being raised without either parent makes no difference, but surely substitutes can raise healthy children. That would fall under economeia, I guess. There is an order, but there are always exceptions and alternate provisions. And in those exceptions, the substitute is having to behave as a mother, if she is absent, not that all men holding babies are being motherly. There is a male or fatherly way to hold babies. I think it is more physically protective and somewhat more adventurous, while a mother’s is more nurturing and escapist, though these overlap. And this overlap is because being human is ultimately sexless. If people are innately gendered though, what we all have in common is being human, but a male or female person defines how this will look, be, and act.

There are rules, which we tend to look to the Bible and the Church to define. Hair length is discussed, but hair length does not a sex make. (I’ve learned on Energetic Procession and Wikipedia that ‘gender’ is more of a sociological word, and that ‘sex’ is more about innate male and femaleness, so I’m trying to be correct even though it makes me a little uncomfortable.) We have a basic structure that men are the leaders and women take care of the kids. But in the Bible we also have men interceding for their sick children, women commanding nations and being sermon-giving missionaries (but no Orthodox female priests – ever). I surmise these overlapping functions to still be done in a male or female way, which puts person first in regard to how something is done, and indeed what they choose or feel “lead” to do, but what is done is ultimately sexless – living and moving and having our being in Christ.

Deviant behavior is another matter, where someone assumes or tries to recreate themselves according the opposite sex. The wikipedia article talks about people who feel trapped in the wrong body. I assume that male and femaleness goes beyond bodies, but is of course not disconnected from it. I believe these confused people are just that, confused. And maybe “gender” roles and pressures has something to do with that confusion. Men make the best cooks and artists for example, but boys are sometimes teased and made fun of if they choose these fields. This may cause them to doubt their male identity. I want to switch gears to family though. I think there is an order in the family that provides the most peace, typically men earning the living and women raising the children. I do not rule out exceptions, take child-actors for example who support their families. But there is a way to keep the parental order intact even in those situations, where the child’s childhood is not taken away from them. It is more of a challenge in these situations though. This puts these distinctions on a more internal level. Does the child feel like he is playing, or that he is responsible for his family’s well-being? If a mother is supporting the family, does she feel like she is being protected and provided for by her husband – that she is perhaps being given freedom to explore her creativity. Some children and women would not feel burdened in that instance, though it seems rare. But that may be because of too strict societal gender rules.

I think I’ll leave it at that for now.