Year 2223 BCE ... The sun is seems incredibly stifling this day, as a middle aged man makes his way towards the center of town in Mesopotamia. He had just dropped his wife off at a local straw merchant both to settle a trade contract she had been working on for several weeks. The rain had finally quit the previous day, leaving the grass green and the steam rising from the bricks on the walk ways. Spotting the tall life like statue in the middle of the walk way to the temple, a small smile up turns the corners of his mouth. This is the statue of the goddess Inanna, her towering frame and womanly build is enough to make every member of the community stop in admiration. The legends and myths surrounding her life are a complicated mix between love and war but every month he still comes into town with his wife to make trade with the other villagers and always leave an offering of his own homemade beer at her feet.
March 22, year 207 in Rome the whole town gathers in celebration on the streets around Aventine Hill. On top of which sets a temple to the goddess Minerva, she is the goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare, justice, law, victory and sponsor of the arts and trade. Its the middle of a 5 day celebration to Minerva, and the goddess invites all the towns members to dress up and participate in sword play and craft trading. The town members steadily make their way up to the temple to leave offerings of weapons, crafts and food at the goddess statue that is erected in the middle of the temple. This is a celebration of Minerva's birth and life and continued blessings on the roman empire.
Around 400 AD St. Jerome sat down in an uncomfortable chair and started to compile what would eventually be referred to as The Vulgate. He spent time making sure the translations were done correctly from the many other languages, some of those languages being considered to be dead languages at the time of his writing. This bible he was creating would be in Latin and include all 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament. Eventually male Christian church leaders world wide gathered to answer the questions such as which books would be considered "Scripture," these gatherings included the Council of Nicea in 325 AD and the First Council of Constantinople in 381 AD. These councils were a direct result in the questions of many people across land, of which books to follow and which ones could be ignored.
There are so many examples of how women have been in the corner stone of religion and spiritual practices over the millennia that I find it incredibly uncomfortable that in todays day and age we can push an agenda on our younger generation that no longer fits into todays society. We exclude women from the conversation based on what we perceive to be the correct way to have a household based on an old and ancient text that has been translated and meanings lost over the centuries.
In 2017 I find myself sitting in the gym of the private Christian school where my daughter attends, listening to a man teach the bible to a group of people. While sitting in the seats with my 6 year old daughter at the time, I remember him talking about how important a fathers role is in a family and how he is to protect the family and work to supply for the family. That any family should strive for the perfect male role model in their household. Holding back my tears was difficult in that moment but my daughter and I walked out of that church gathering and have not been back since. In that moment I realized that my faith had more questions than I had answers for, and the few times I have tried to discover answers from fellow parishioners I have left feeling defeated and unfortunately judged for my life.
My fellow readers, I have been blessed to see the world through a different lens. I see the world as a single mother, a working mother, and a dedicated daughter. Always working extra to scratch out a life style for myself and my daughter. If I, as a single woman, would have had a child out of wed lock in any other time frame in history, for example medieval Europe in the 1500's or the 1700's in New America, then my life story wouldn't even be a foot note in history. I would have been labeled a whore and cast out on the street. My only source of income would have been those of disreputable means. By no means am I degrading faith, religion or a belief in God, for I do have all three of those however my faith has been a journey and continues to be one of my own personal endeavor.
So in this modern era, I find my alarm goes off at 3am. I stumble to find my coffee pot and pour a cup and read my emails and possibly do a load of laundry. After the coffee elixir has warmed my soul and I have woken up, I pull on my boots and head out to the barn to start morning chores which will take approximately 2 hours. After which I head inside to make my daughter breakfast and wake her up for school. I drop her off at school and then head to my office job, where I work 8 hours of the day. Heading home at the end of the day, I pick her up and go to the farm where I tend to the horses in the barn, teach riding lessons and make her dinner while staying on top of her school work.
It is at the end of one of these days when she comes and sits down next to me with tears in her eyes and looks at me and asks if I am going to heaven? Looking at her with confusion, I ask her why she would ask such a thing. Well it turns out that this private Christian school that I have been working so hard to send her to, informed her today that any woman with a child that is not married is not going to heaven. As I pull her into my arms to soothe her, we decide to look back through history at some amazing women that created miraculous things, seemingly out of nothing. It is after this literature journey to which we decided that I would in fact be going to heaven with her and she was finally able to settle down for bed.
I however still fuming mad, after she had long since fallen asleep decided that I would begin to model a life of inclusivity. A life where we teach love and compassion and not hate and judgements.
So I am ending this blog with a simple question ...
"Where is the Love?" - Black Eyed Peas