Now that we’ve abandoned objectivity and reset the definition for civility, what next?
Speak from your heart. That means it’s ok to show pain, anger, and tears. We were never meant to step away from or outside of ourselves. Your emotions, and experiences are part of you, and therefore an undeniable part the Body. The Church isn’t going to change because it objectively lost a civilized argument. The Church is going change because hears its members’ stories, their pain, their suffering, and truly understands that when one suffers, all suffer.
I’m going to pitch to you what I’d like to call a relevant tangent. I promise, this will come back to the main trail, but there’s something I’d like to show you first. In Matthew 22, the Sadducees ask Jesus about a series of brothers dying and the next one marrying the same woman, etc, ending in “at the resurrection, whose wife will she be?” Jesus replied that there would be neither wives nor husbands in heaven, but all would be as the angels are.
Now, this passage always bothered me because I saw marriage as a good thing. And it is. But in the post-Fall context, marriage became a defensive arrangement. A husband and wife share the most intimate of relationships. They can reveal things about themselves to each other than are not safe to bring up outside of the marriage relationship. And that is why it’s a defensive relationship. Marriage clearly defines an inside “safe” group and an outside “unsafe” group. I believe that, in heaven, we won’t need marriage relationships because relational intimacy will no longer require a defined “safe zone.” All will be safe to share. We will be free to express our thoughts to all around us without fear of mockery, abuse, betrayal, blackmail or any of the other symptoms of the Fall.
Are we going to get to that kind of Heaven while on earth? No, I don’t think so. But here is where we get back to the trail. Being able to share from your heart is a worthy, perhaps even heavenly aspiration. You will not be able to share all, but if we are to go about growing the Kingdom here on earth, we must be guided by its ideals rather than the opposite of those ideals. The Kingdom is clearly built on degrees of relational intimacy, not separation followed by condemnation.
And so it is better to share than to isolate. We share our own stories, in our own ways, from our own hearts. We share each others sufferings as though they were our own. We share in the struggle for equality within the Body because we are all the Body. And one day, we will all share, together, in the joy of the resurrection and all that lies beyond it.
But we are not there yet. The struggles of both women and men for equality within the Church are real. Women should speak their stories, because to remain silent would be to say “I am not part of the Body.” Men should listen, because to remain deaf would be to say “I am not part of the body.” The Church will only repent of the self-flagellation and sin that is patriarchy when it recognizes its own suffering. And that can only happen when we unbind each other from the false premises of objectivity, find true civility, true empathy, true relationship, and dare to share each others’ hearts and care for each others’ pain.