Home » Uncategorized » The Power of the Feminine

The Power of the Feminine

 Man is created to exist in union with women. Male united with female.

  1. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

 Genesis 1:27

In the verse above, God creates man in His image. In the first part of the verse, the writer uses the word man not as specifically indicating the male gender, but is speaking of the human race, as in mankind. He then after the semicolon, furthers his description by saying that “male and female He created them.” Before we are able to understand the significance of gender, we must understand that from the beginning of biblical history God was understood to be both male and female.

I understand that my statement concerning God being understood to be both male and female may be a little odd to some. Many writers will refer to the Holy Spirit as “He” or “It.” There are countless writings and debates concerning which is correct. The words used for Holy Spirit in both the Hebrew language of the Old Testament (Ruach HaKadosh) and the Aramaic language (Ruha d’qudsha) that Jesus spoke are written in the feminine. In Genesis 1:2, the original Hebrew text “Ruah Elohim” is translated “Spirit of God.” Ruah is a feminine noun. Now, we must understand that masculine and feminine attributes are not physically sexual in nature. For we as believers, it is very important and difficult to get the sexual aspect of human emotion out our minds when understanding true masculine and feminine attributes. The feminine nature of God is the loving, caring, nurturing, healing associated with the Divine. Let’s take a look at what St. Paul says about the nature or the fruits of the Spirit. In other words, the attributes of our human nature that develops as the Holy Spirit begins to do Her perfect work in the life of a believer:

  1. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
  2. gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.

 Galatians 5:22-23

Yes, men, we have a feminine side!

Eve was not just an afterthought created to save Adam from his boredom as a way of entertainment. God did not create Adam and then noticed that he looked lonely and said to Himself, “Hey this guy looks bored, let Me see what I can do to help him out here.” Let’s take a look at the record (Scripture) and see what it says:

20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him.

 Genesis 2:20

When we begin to understand this Scripture for what it actually says instead of the way most of us have been taught, we can begin to look at the situation a little differently. The thing that we must understand is that this is a narrative. Most, if not, all of Genesis was handed down through oral tradition for hundreds of years before, as it is speculated, Moses compiled all of the stories. Hold on, before you get upset here, I am not saying that the book of Genesis is not divinely inspired or inherently recorded. All that I am saying is that it is a story written as a story so we as simple-minded humans can understand.

A common phrase amongst Bible scholars, and there are many variations of this phrase, is, “be cautious in obeying the letter of the law and not the Spirit.” Much of the Bible is written stories intended to relate a specific idea or emotion to the reader. One of Jesus’ primary methods of teaching was and is through stories (parables).

Jesus understood the propensity for his words to be taken out of context by those trying to twist the intent of the Scripture to lend credence to their own agenda. This is evident as we read the words of Jesus as recorded by St. Matthew:

  1. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
  2. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

 Matthew 23:23-24

What He is saying is, stop getting hung up on the exact words that I am saying and listen to what I am trying to communicate. This portion of Scripture can be used as a good example. Does the Scripture above only apply to a person who can swallow a camel? If it does, does it also apply to a person if he has swallowed a camel, but has never strained at a gnat? What about someone who has swallowed a gnat because the spaces between their teeth are too wide to strain a gnat?” Yes, this dialog is foolish, but it is no less foolish than some of the dialog that was going on between the Scribes and Pharisees. Not only were they having discussions like this, but they were also imposing laws upon the religious people of their day based on such dialog. We need to be careful before you sit in judgment of the Scribes and Pharisees. Dialog just as ridicules goes on today in the modern Church. I have been guilty of such dialog early in in my walk with the Lord. Oh Yeah, I spent many years as a Pharisee in training. I thank the Lord I failed out of that program.

Picture this fictitious scene. The Lord calls to Moses “Moses come on up the top of the mountain and bring plenty of parchment and a box of pens.” So Moses gathers everything he will need and stuffs into his backpack and heads up the mountain. Upon arriving at the top, God tells him to “Pull up a rock and get comfortable. This is going to take a while. I told you to bring the parchment because you don’t have enough camels to carry this story if we write it down on stone tablets.” (If you think of an old Jewish guy speaking it will help you with the narrative. Maybe if I ever incorporate this into an audiobook, I can get Mel Brooks to read this part.) Now the Lord asks Moses if he is ready and Moses responds while stretching out his arms and cracking his knuckles, “I am ready Lord.” The Lord begins “Now let me tell you how this whole thing started….”

Now back to Genesis 2:20:

20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him.

Important to helping us understand this text we need to have a little better understanding of what it most likely means to the Hebrew mind.

A good place to begin is with the words of Jesus:

36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

 Matthew 24:36

 Jesus was speaking of the day of His return. To us, as Christians, this text can be little perplexing, but to the Jew, it was very relatable. Jesus was speaking of returning for His Bride. In Jewish culture when a man becomes betrothed to a woman he leaves her for a period of time to go and prepare a place for his bride. He may build a home, buy furniture, or plant some flowers along the front walk. He’s in love. I am sure his mother is getting in on the excitement and gathering things together; window treatments, bedding and such. I am not exactly sure what, but you can picture the scene, all the things that women think about before the big day. She is most likely driving him nuts with stuff that he can’t possibly understand as important, but she does. That’s why God gives us mothers and wives.

Now the father’s role is a little different. He is helping with stuff that, if the son doesn’t understand, he will, as his father helps him through the preparations. Is the front door hung straight, does the kitchen sink leak, is the driveway smooth and so on? You know, guy stuff. It is not only the father’s role to help his son, but it is also his job to let his son know when the preparations are complete and the son is ready for his bride.

Now let’s take another look at Genesis 2:20. It should look a little different to us now:

  1. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper fit for him.

Let’s continue with our fictional dialog between God and Moses:

“You should have seen Adam; we were looking over different options of how to arrange things in the Garden. He was running around naming all of the animals, it was great!” Moses asks, “It sounds like he was excited, and he had no idea what his gift was going to be?” God responds, “What, and ruin the surprise! Was he excited you ask! Are you kidding me, he was like a little kid the day before Christmas. He was so wound up I had to give him a sedative to get him to go to sleep.” Moses takes his pen and writes, So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man.” (Genesis 2:21) God looks over Moses’ shoulder to see what he has written, pats him on the back and says, “exactly! – Oh, you should have been there, what great time we had.” Moses looks up at God, finger on his chin and asks, “what’s Christmas?”

Now let’s continue with this account from Genesis:

  1. …and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh;
  2. and the rib which the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
  3. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
  4. Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.
  5. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

Genesis 2:21-25

When we look at the account of creation, it is helpful for us to understand the significance of events as the “coming together of creation.” The order of, or “coming together of creation” is a foreshadowing of the events of the end times, the “unfolding of creation.” For example, Adam was created, and Eve was “taken from man’s side (rib) and made into a woman.” Man and woman became one flesh. Although the Scripture in Genesis does not specifically use the word marriage, they were married as a result of the act of physical consummation. Adam and Eve being the mother and father of all humanity in the physical. Now the unfolding of these events. Jesus is taken from Mary, from her flesh “through the power of the Holy Spirit.” This is why both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, as well as certain Protestant denominations, consider Mary to be the Spiritual Mother of the Church.

Jesus was crucified naked upon the Cross taking upon Himself the shame of the world, and with the shedding of His blood, cleansed His Bride (The Church) so she could enter into the presence (Heaven) of His Father without shame. Look at verse 25 above, Adam and Eve walked in the Garden, naked and without shame in the presence of the Father. When shame came into the world through the disobedience (sin) of Adam and Eve, the blood of the animal that God used to cover the shame of their nakedness (Genesis 3:21).

  1. To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Genesis 3:16

 To delve into all of the implications of this verse would require several chapters, but for this conversation, I would like for us to focus on the last six words; “and he shall rule over you.” I know we covered this somewhat in detail in my last post, but I would like to dig a little deeper. Adam took a bride – so has Jesus. Adam is one with Eve as Jesus is one with His Bride the Church. As we look into the “unfolding” of creation, we must understand that Jesus was given charge by God the Father to rule over His Bride. There is nothing more important to Jesus on this Earth than, first the love of His Father in Heaven, and the second is to care for his Bride (Matthew 22:28-39).

What do we think that God is saying to Adam at the end of verse 16 above? Paraphrasing & embellishing – “Adam, besides loving Me, there is nothing more important to you in this life other than caring for Eve. She and her offspring are in for a battle that they will never make it through without your help. She is depending on you. You will need to fight for her and with her, and not back down even if it costs you your life, and it will, in that your seed (Jesus) will finish what you started by dying for your sins and the sins of your descendant’s.”

There is nothing more important in this life, other than loving God than learning to love one another. Man and women are created to become one flesh, giving themselves to one another completely. Until we understand this, humanity will continue to pull itself apart at the seams. Men, it is in our physical and spiritual DNA to care for and protect the women of this earth. We are to be joined to one in particular as one flesh, never to forsake the bonds of marriage through infidelity. However, this protective instinct is part of us to protect and care for all of the Daughters of Eve. Women it is the same is for you concerning the Sons of Adam. We can’t help it; it is who we are. When this truth becomes distorted in our understanding our hearts and minds become deceived into believing the lie of the enemy.

As I am writing this, I can’t help but think of my father in law. I love my father in law very much. He was a true patriarch of his family. In the weeks before he died we brought him to our home and cared for him with the help of Hospice. He passed away in our living room surrounded by the people who he loved. He is missed by many.

A few days before he died, with my wife, Mary, and I at either side of his bed, he was looking off into the distance, obviously deep in thought. Mary asked him “Dad, what are you thinking about?” His answer was, “Heaven.” He continued, “Before Kay’s (his wife Kathryn who died two years before) father died he asked me to take care of his daughters. I can’t wait to ask him how I did!” He had a smile on his face.

Kay had three sisters, and Irv spent most of his life taking care of those women. His name is James Irving Hall, but to his family he is Irv. Those women drove him nuts at times, and he wouldn’t have had it any other way. They all had husbands of their own, but Irv was always there to help out in any way that he could. He lived his life for his family.

Men, what will be our thoughts as we lie on our deathbeds? Will they be on all of the pornography that we watched and all of the women that we objectified and used for our own selfish desires, or will they be about being excited to see our Father in Heaven to ask him if we did well in taking care of His daughters?

I would like to continue with another story that exemplifies and should help us to understand the power of the feminine in the life of the masculine (men). In 2005 the movie “Cinderella Man” was released. This movie was directed by Ron Howard and starred Russell Crow and Renee Zellweger and could have been titled “The Power of the Feminine.” I understand that many believers are upset with Ron Howard, but no matter how they feel about the De Vinci Code, he must be given credit for how absolutely right he, Akiva Goldsman, and Cliff Hollingsworth, the writers of this film, got “Cinderella Man.” I have no idea of the religious convictions of any of these three men, but the Truth was spoken through this work in a powerful way.

Russell Crow plays James J. Braddock, ex-two-time heavyweight world champion boxer who fought during the great depression. Renee Zellweger co-stars as Mae Braddock, James’ adoring wife. The story is a dramatization with a Hollywood twist of the life of this couple during James’ struggle to the top. The movie begins with James achieving modest success and notoriety in the world of boxing. He is soon plagued with injury and eventually loses his license to box and his ability to support for his family.

Shortly after the film begins, there is a scene where James walks through the door of his family’s apartment and is wearing a cast. He explains to Mae that he has broken his hand in three places and can no longer fight because they have taken away his license to box. She asks what are they going to do, now that he can’t work with a broken hand. He tells her that they are going to cover his cast with shoe polish, so the men at the docks won’t notice that his hand is broken, as he grabs a shoe shine kit out of the cabinet and walks over and sits in front of her. The shipping docks are a place where many of the unemployed men go to work as day laborers. He looks at her with sullen shame and says that he is sorry. He is saying that he is sorry, not only because he cannot fight any longer, but more importantly because he did not come home with the prize money that they so desperately needed to care for themselves and their three children. She says “no” to him several times with her voice full of compassion and forgiveness as she moves over onto his lap and puts her arms around him.

A few scenes later, as the story unfolds, James and Mae are at the kitchen table. The camera moves from James and Mea to their three children sleeping in the same room as steam is coming from their mouths because the power has been disconnected. Mea takes James’ hand and begins to pray. Mae looks up as James looks away and says, “I am all prayed out.” It is clear that James’ is losing hope and sees himself as a failure.

The story continues with James working at the shipping docks in an attempt to scrape together whatever it will take to get power turned back on in their apartment. James returns home to find the children are gone, and he and Mae are all alone in the apartment. When he asks where the children are, Mae explains that she has brought them to various relatives until they are able to get back on their feet. James responds by telling her that he promised their oldest son that they would never send him away. Mae does her best to explain and says that she is sorry. Her sentiment is not that she is sorry for what she has done, but she is sorry for the situation. Her words are an utterance of frustration and compassion for her husband who is very obviously becoming lost in shame. He turns and empties his pockets of the few coins, on the kitchen table, that represents all that he has been able to do for his family, and walks out the door.

The story follows by James humbling himself and going to the Emergency Relief Administration office to apply for financial aid. He takes the money that he receives, which is about half of what he needs to pay the power bill, and then goes to his old boxing associates with a downturned countenance, hat in hand, and pleads for help. Some turn away but others slowly and reluctantly begin dropping money in his hat as he moves through the room.

James and Mae have the power restored, and James receives hope in an unexpected way. He is offered a one-time fight by his former manager, Joe Gould, played by Paul Giamatti. They are looking for a boxer who they feel is certain to lose against a young rising contender. James wins the fight in a completely unexpected upset, and one thing leads to another, and he is given the opportunity to earn back his license.

Mae is happy that James is winning and able to provide for his family, but she is torn concerning James being involved in such a dangerous profession. As James is given more fights, and Mae becomes more distraught and marches over to Joe Gould’s, apartment, located in a wealthy uptown neighborhood and knocks on the door. She is there to give Joe and piece of her mind and tell him that she does not want James to fight. When the door is opened to her, she enters into an empty apartment. Mea walks in dismayed as he sees Joe and his wife Lucille, played by Linda Kash, standing in a room with only a few chairs and a table.

Mae is humbled as he sits with Joe and Lucille as she learns that they sold all of their furniture so they would have the money to pay James while he is training. Mea expresses her dismay at what they have done with a grateful tone and goes on to explain how upset she is at the thought of her husband getting hurt in the ring. Lucille understanding Mae’s heart and very tactfully gets Joe to leave the room and says “Can you ever stop yours when he sets his mind to a thing?” Mae shakes her head and looks up “I wish could.” Lucille continues, “You see, I never know if it’s harder on them or us. We have to wait for them to fix everything and every day they feel like they are failing us. Really it’s just the world that’s failed you know.”

My jaw dropped when I heard this dialogue; it entered right into my heart. The words obviously touched Mary, my wife, as she turned to me and said, “you don’t feel that way do you?” I said, “No, but I have in the past.”

Look at Lucille’s words “we have to wait on them to fix everything.” Think of Adam in the Garden and Jesus preparing a place for us in Heaven. When a man feels that he is failing to care for his wife (his Daughter of Eve) his entire world comes undone, whether he understands what’s going on or not. Daughters of Eve you have the power to break your Son of Adam or to lift him up with the look of your eyes and tone of your voice. Man and women are created to live as one flesh. The implications of the spiritual bonds that unite us are more than we are able to understand on this side of Heaven.

When Mary and I were separated, I was so hurt and so angry that I fought to stay angry because I felt that it was the only way I could become free from her. I didn’t understand what I was doing at the time, but as I think back on the situation, it has become clear. Our spirits are united, and I was trying to break free when something very unexpected started happening. Her spirit came to me in my dreams. I know at this may seem a little out of the box, but it is the best way I can relate what happened. The dream I remember the most is with her sitting on a chair with a look of being completely lost in grief and saying to me, “Billy, what are we going to do.” She was waiting for me to do what I was created to do – care for her in the love of Christ. In her spirit, she had committed to stand in the gap for our marriage. As I said above, at the time I was not sure what was happening, but I did begin to understand that I needed to take back my God-ordained place by her side.

Listen, I am not trying to imply that women can’t take care of themselves. However, what I am saying is that man and women living apart from one another is not part of God’s perfect plan for our existence. God, created us, you can think in terms of programming if it helps, to live male and female was one complete person (in marriage). I understand that my words will most likely infuriate some women who read this. For this, I am deeply saddened. I am grieved for women who have been led down a path in his life that would develop in them a worldview that men are somehow useless or even worse, the enemy.

Lucille’s last line, “Really it’s the world that’s failed you know,” couldn’t be truer. The setting of this movie takes place during the great depression. Most men were in a fight every day to provide for their families. I say, men because in those days the majority of women didn’t work outside the home other than sewing or doing laundry for the wealthy. Most employers wouldn’t consider giving a job to a women feeling that it would take a job from a man who needed to support his family. Many men took their own lives, and others left their families unable to handle the shame of failure, finding it easier to live on streets or ride the rails as a hobo. Hobo was a name given to men who would illegally hop into freight trains as a means of transportation in the hope of finding work as a farm-hand in rural areas, however for many of these men riding the rails and begging for food became a way of life.

Today, men are still in a fight for their lives. However, many of today’s struggles are created by a broken world system. We as a society are constantly inundated with the message that we need to have more and better. Attractive looking models looking seductively into a television camera giving the message, “If you drive this car, wear this watch, have this job, or drink this brand of beer you would be a real man.” Our advertising world understands the “power of the feminine” and strives every day to harness that power to its full potential. How many adds have we watched for sex-enhancing drugs starring an attractive woman, seductively looking into the camera and delivering the message that, “If you take this drug, your wife or girlfriend will look at you the way the I am, and if she doesn’t, you will be able to find someone who will?” Millions of dollars are spent every day specifically targeted to speak directly into the hearts of men who feel like they are failing.

Back to the movie:

A few scenes later James was getting ready to leave the apartment for his next fight, and says to Mae, “I know this isn’t what you wanted, but I can’t win without you behind me.” She replies, “I’m always behind you.” James bends down, gives her kiss with a smile on his face, and invites her to come along to see the fight. She declines as always, not being able to bring herself to watch him in harm’s way. She is beginning to understand how much he needs her support but is torn by fear of losing him. He is Mae’s security.

Two fights later he is matched with a much younger Art Lasky, played by Mark Simmons, but he is holding his own when in the twelfth round Braddock takes a hard shot to the head that knocks his mouthpiece across the ring. He is obviously shaken and scene changes to images of his children, his wife, and past due notices. James is filled with a renewed strength and goes on to win the fight by unanimous decisions in the fifteenth round.

James returns home with pride in his step and a dozen roses in his hand, only after going by the Emergency Relief Administration office to pay back the money he had received. When he is later asked by a reporter, with Mae by his side, why he paid back the money his answer was, “I believe we live in a great country, a country that is great enough to help a man, ah, financially when he is in trouble. Well lately I’ve had some good fortune, and ah, I’m back and the black, and I just thought I should return it.”

At the end of the same news conference one of the reporters inquires of Mea concerning James’ next fight, “Mrs. Braddock my readers would love to know how do you feel about the fact that, ah, Max Baer killed two men in the ring. So how do you feel about that ma’am? Are you scared for your husband’s life?”

Max Bear was the world heavyweight champion played by Craig Bierko. Bear is younger and much larger than Braddock. They did a good job at making Russell Crow look small, and did an even better job of painting the picture that Braddock was facing a giant who would feel no remorse at killing an opponent in the ring.

Following the interview, James and Mae are attending a dinner party hosted for the who’s who of the boxing world. They are sitting at a table with Joe Gould, Braddock’s manager, his wife, and few others when a waiter comes over with an expensive bottle of champagne sent over by Max Bear. James gets up and walks over to thank Max Bear, and in reality, it is to call him out on his rude, taunting gesture. Of course, followed by a little intimidating banter and a few shots by the press when Mae walks over. Bear makes a few insulting comments insinuating that after he kills James in the ring that he will take care of Mea because James isn’t man enough to do the job.   Mea responds by throwing a glass of water in his face and walks away.

The film continues depicting James as feeling discouraged and lacking confidence. At one point Mea comes to him and insists that he do something, anything not to have to fight Bear. She is becoming increasingly distraught about the fight, which is doing nothing more than attacking James’ confidence, as he shows no sign of backing down from the challenge. Thinking back on Lucille’s question, “Can you ever stop yours when he sets his mind to a thing?”

On the day of the fight, James is getting in the car, surrounded by Mae and kids. He is cracking jokes with the kids about how great he is going to the do in the fight, and then he looks over at Mea, they don’t say a word to one another. James gets in the car, and it pulls away.

Mae then goes to the Church and Father Rorick, played by Chuck Shamata, greets her at the door. She tells him that she is there to pray for James. The camera pans to the sanctuary, and the church is full of people praying for her husband. Father Rorick tells her, “They all think he’s fighting for them.”

All battles need the spiritual covering of prayer. How many men are standing on their feet today because of the prayers of a mother or wife? It only gets better with the support of a faith community standing with us as we fight.

The next scene shows James in the locker room with his manager trying to encourage him, but it is not working. James is saying everything that Joe wants to hear, but as a man without hope. There is a knock at the door. The door opens, Mae enters, and Joe leaves as she walks over to her husband and says “You can’t win without me behind you know.” James responds, “I’ve been trying to tell you that.” The tension is broken, and she has his full attention and tenderly, but full of compassion and determination says, “Maybe I understand something about having to fight, so you just remember who you are. You are the bulldog of Bergin and the pride of New Jersey. Your everybody’s hope, yet you cant see your own, and you are the champion of my heart James J. Braddock.”

She is fighting right along with him. He in the ring and she energizing his spirit with everything he needs to have the best possible chance of winning – her encouragement and prayers. She has given him the encouragement that we as men must have to be the best that we can be, but yet find so utterly impossible to acknowledge that we need. We as men and women have the courage most often to face our fears alone, but we are way more effective at vanquishing the enemy when we fight together.

She understands “something about having to fight,” and has acted on that understanding, and is learning to place her fears in the hands of the One Who is her greatest hope. Our greatest weapon is the one we wield on our knees.

 “Anyone who fights his demons with his own weapons is a fool.”

 Henri J. M. Nouwen

See the movie; I can’t do this story the justice that it deserves. The movie finishes with different scenes of the fight and shots of Mea and the folks at the church in prayer for her husband. Mae even brings herself to listen to the end of the fight with her family as James goes on to become heavyweight champion of the world, winning by unanimous decision.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s