July, 2018 “Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion…’ So God created humankind in God’s image…male and female God created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…and have dominion…” (Genesis 1:26, 27, 28)
In the Little House books that I grew up with, there was ‘Pa and Ma.’ Pa always made the decisions. Every once in a while, though, Ma would speak up, and Pa would listen. Was that because Ma hardly ever spoke up, or because she was inherently wise and loving?
Or was there a deeper reason hidden in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s and our DNA…
Maybe it had to do with the fact that, back when God began to create the heavens and the earth, and human beings were made in God’s own image, male and female, dominion was given to THEM. The first story of creation says male and female were made at the same time, on the same day, for the same purpose, part of which was to have dominion over God’s creation. Dominion was given to THEM.
According to notes in my Jewish Study Bible, “the Tanakh presents humanity not as the owner of nature but as its steward, strictly accountable to its true Owner.” Stewardship is best done when honorable and kind relationships are recognized as being as important as the work of making money or livlihoods.
The female idea of dominion is to watch, to encourage and care for, to feed and heal as best as can be done, whomever and whatever is in one’s sphere of influence. The female idea of dominion is of creating a space where we can all get along. Where we can live in harmony. I believe this is what the Ten Commandments are all about; that they are guidlines for living together in peace and harmony. I believe that this is what Jesus lived and taught: that we are all children of the Most High God, beloved by God; able to love one another uncondionally. His commands: love God, and love neighbor as self.
The truth seems to be that in order for us to live in harmony and prosperity, we need to have dominion in the male And the female way. Generally speaking, males tend to be linear; females tend to be circular. Men tend toward competition, women, toward cooperation. Male theology tends to be about personal salvation, female theology, about social justice. These dualities can work together.
John Wesley held two aspects of Holiness together, the Personal and the Social. He knew that as one connected with the Holy on a personal level, one would automatically connect with the Holy in social aspects. By studying the Bible, having a rich prayer life, being in community to worship, abstaining from harmful habits or attitudes, and by remembering Christ in Holy Communion, one naturally would feed the hungry, clothe the naked, slake thirst, and visit the sick and those in prisons. (Matthew 25)
Our divided world need not be divided. As they say in China, “Women hold up half the sky.” If we can recognize the worth of both perspectives – male And female – as we work on the various hard dilemmas of our day: immigration, sexuality, homelessness, poverty, ignorance, civility – I believe we could live into the Holy World of God, on earth as in heaven. Live into a transformed world of peace and prosperity. Live into the world Jesus actually inaugurated with His life, teachings, healings, feedings, sufferings, death and Resurrection.
Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ: the reign of God, male and female, has begun. Let us live into It.
Blessings, Pastor Bethany