I didn't wake up particularly crabby this morning, but I have to tell (warn) you that my last, poor, tired nerve has been duly pulled.
It's not his fault, really. Then again, maybe it is.
A clergy colleague of mine retired a few years ago to climes that are warmed than New Jersey. I fear, sometimes, that all that sunshine - or, perhaps, it's the humidity - can destroy gray cerebral matter. Then again, I was born in New England so I suppose I have a bias. Or, jealous of the sunshine (but not the humidity!)
Anyway, he wrote with unmistakable glee that I should google the words "Hillary in Biden Out" and I would find hope for the Democratic ticket.
Okay, so I was hooked. I did it.
I found that there has been some wild speculation on both sides of the fence that Palin's nomination has aroused Obama from his slumber (never mind that he doesn't look like he's been sleeping to me) and that he will ask Biden to step down and Clinton (that would be Hillary, of course) to take the VEEP nomination.
There are so many things wrong with this it made me tired to try and enumerate them, so I stopped midway through reading the third blog and did the only thing a self-respecting woman could do.
I looked at the screen on my laptop and shouted, "ARRRGGGGHHH!"
No one was hurt.
When I wrote my friend to ask that surely he didn't believe any of this insanity, he wrote back: "I know. It's just my bizarre sense of humor." (Gee, ya think, pal?)
Then, he wrote THIS - and I quote verbatim: "Obama has been too much of a gentleman. We need a Steel Magnolia to beat the Alaskan Iceberg."
Now, my friend has always been on the side of the angels in every issue of social justice, so I had to read that sentence again:
"Obama has been too much of a gentleman. We need a Steel Magnolia to beat the Alaskan Iceberg."
If you don't see anything wrong with that sentence, you might want to stop reading because you are not going to like the rest of this.
But, before I do, can I just say? "ARRRRGGGGHHHH!"
Okay, I'm back.
I guess I overdosed on uber-orthodox Anglican blogs last night, reading their take on Bob Duncan's deposition. After a while what became painfully obvious is the need for some of the sisters and brothers, to "put the blame on Mame, boys."
The Deposition of Robert Duncan is nothing of his doing, you see. It's the entire fault of our Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori.
She is, "mean-spirited." She has "ice in her veins." They call her "The Presiding Squid." (because she has her doctorate in oceanography), and "The Chief Kaitiff" (a not-so-clever play on her name and the word caitiff, which means coward or derelict.)
And, that's just the stuff I can re-print here, this being a family-friendly blog and all. Bottom line: Duncan is the 'poor victim'. The House of Bishops is filled with dumb sheep of either gender in purple shirts (except, of course, for the uber-orthodox, read: male, bishops who, as of this writing, still have their Episcopal miters in place).
It's all ++Katharine's fault.
Are you following where this is going? Good, then follow me back to the Garden of Eden where I will introduce you to Lilith, if you haven't already met.
Lilith is a highly controversial figure in Jewish folklore, mythology and midrash who has been hotly debated among Jewish scholars for centuries. The controversy continues with Jewish feminist theologians and scholars.
According to some stories, Lilith was the first being God created as a wife for Adam so they might live happily ever after in The Garden. Except, God, apparently, made a wee bit of a mistake. God gave her brains. Well, maybe that was not so much of the problem. The problem is that she used them. And that's when there was Trouble (with a capitol "T") in Paradise.
More accurately, the problems began when Adam tried to exercise dominance over Lilith. One story tells that Lilith refused to lay beneath Adam during sex. (Imagine!)
See, she believed they were created equal, both from the dust of the earth, thus she should not have to lay beneath him. After Adam disagreed, Lilith fled the Garden of Eden to gain her independence.
Oh, but wait! There's more: Adam told God that Lilith had left and God sent three angels to retrieve her (I can't remember their names this very red hot second, but together they sound like a Jewish accounting firm). The three angels found Lilith in a cave bearing children (I don't know. It's a story. Pay attention.) but Lilith refused to come back to the garden.
The angels told her they would kill 100 of her children every day for her disobedience. In revenge, she is said to rob children of life and is responsible for the deaths of still-born infants and crib deaths (SIDS).
Male children are at risk of Lilith's wrath for 8 days after birth (until circumcision) and girls are at risk for 20 days. Although Lilith stole children's lives in the night, she agreed not to kill the children who had amulets of either of the three angels.
After the angels' departure, Lilith tried to return to the garden but upon her arrival she discovered that Adam already had another mate (no, not Steve), Eve. Out of revenge, Lilith had sex with Adam while he was sleeping and "stole his seed." (Dr. Freud! Calling Dr Freud!)
With his seed she bears 'lilium,' earth-bound demons to replace her children killed by the angels. Lilith is also said to be responsible for males' erotic dreams and night emissions. Another theory says that Lilith is impregnated, thus creating more demons by masturbation and erotic dreams.
You see, Freud couldn't help it. He was only borrowing on centuries of mythology concerning Penis Envy. No wonder the poor man couldn't understand 'what women want'.
For many Jewish and Christian feminist theologians, Lilith is a symbol of independence, representing the power of the divine feminine. She is an independent woman who challenges the oppressive system in which she is placed.
Stealing the lives of children represents a certain madness that accompanies her solitude and exclusion. It is no coincidence that the legal consequence for lesbian mothers in many states continues to be the loss of custody of her children. Before she steals YOUR children away to a life of sin and perdition, let's steal hers.
Despite Lilith's downfalls, she still remains a symbol of power simply by her survival and mysteriousness.
She is open for interpretation and therefore allows women to reinterpret her symbolism and power within their religious traditions. Judith Crist wrote her own feminist midrash of this story, but I can't seem to find the book on my library shelf. (If I lent it to you, would you be so kind as to return it? Thanks.)
I'm thinking that we need to resurrect the spirit of Lilith - both in this political campaign as well as in the World Wide Anglican Communion.
I don't know about you, but I've had just about enough sexism. No, actually, make that more than enough, thank you very much.
Between the Hillary "Nut Cracker" and the Katharine "Chief Kaitiff," I'm about to kick some serious sexist butt and take names later.
When brothers of good spirit and intent write me something which portrays the male as "too much a gentleman" and two powerful, albeit very different, women in terms which began in The Garden well, I think it's high time for us to call upon the spirit of Sister Lilith for some strength and guidance.
Yes, yes. I understand these are difficult, painful times of change and re-formation. No, I do not take any joy in The Deposition of Robert Duncan - or John-David Schofield. Or, in fact, that of Jack Leo Iker or Keith Akerman, when they happen (and, if they remain on their chosen path of walking South and trying to take church property with them, they most surely will).
Yes, yes. I understand that we are witnessing the dismantling of patriarchy and the fear, like Adam's, is that women will be "on top." Well, yeah. Sometimes. I mean, it's been a long time, thanks be to God, but the goal is still for mutual pleasure, right? (Okay, okay, go ahead and giggle. I'll wait.)
All forms of oppression are, obviously, evil, and I think the time has come and now is for us to name this evil which began in The Garden. It's time for women and men of good faith to name the Original Sin of Sexism so that we might stop the free-Fall into other oppressions.
I think Lilith may well be the key to opening a discussion and heightening awareness of the interlocking nature of oppression, which includes prejudice based on race, ethnicity, age, sexuality, as well as the physical, emotional, financial and intellectual status.
Or, as my friend, Katherine Hancock Ragsdale says, "You can't dismantle heterosexism by fighting against homophobia. You first have to dismantle sexism."
I want to suggest that this is true of all oppressive systems. Dismantle sexism first and you've got a fighting chance of working on the liberation of the human spirit.
If anyone can lead us closer to re-claiming Eden, it's Lilith.
Or, as my friend, Mary H. Miller says, "Onward to Zion!" where our aimless wandering will end and we will be home at last.