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Saturday, May 20, 2006

BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORDS

I'm a writer, so words are very important to me. I believe that every word has meaning and when someone chooses to use a particular word, consciously or unconsciously, it's meaning is crucial. Which is why I was so frustrated, and probably only one of a few who noticed, when I watched an interview on the evening news yesterday.

It was a story on the opening of the Davinci Code in all it's "controversial" glory. So they're doing interviews outside the movie theatre regarding whether or not people intend to see the movie. They stop one woman who says she won't be attending the movie because it is offensive to her as a Catholic. The following is not a direct quote about why she is offended, but it's pretty close:
"Because in Christianity we're taught that Jesus was pure. So he couldn't have had a relationship with a woman."
This frustrates me on so many levels.

First of all, what caught me right away was the connection she made between "pure" and "relationship with a woman." As a woman I'm offended. As if having a relationship with a woman makes a man impure? Are you kidding me? I mean, is it obvious to anyone but me that women are still paying for their supposed role in the seduction of Adam into sin back in the Garden of Eden? And who came up with that story anyway? Oh wait, I know ... a man. Christianity is one of the most oppressive institutions in existence, but for women it's practically unbearable. According to the church, women should be seen, but not heard. Stand by your man, but shut up while you do it. How many women preachers do you know? I know you don't know any woman priests ... although women can be nuns - a role in which it is their responsibility to support the church, in particular assist the work of the priests. So even though Christianity allows for women to have very little influence within the church, and forget about attaining leadership positions - a woman was influential enough back in the day to be responsible for the most catastrophic event in religious history. That must be why we have no power now. We can't be trusted. Oh right, now we're back to the purity issue. I get it.

But putting the whole purity thing aside, seeing as how the woman on TV was a Christian, I will take a step back and assume that what she was referring to as a "relationship" was really meant to mean a sexual relationship. Problem number two I have with this statement. Can we all just grow up please? Isn't it about time that we take the stigma away from having sex? What is the big deal anyway? I'm not saying that children should be having sex. I'm not saying that some sexual relationships aren't inappropriate. But last time I checked, Jesus was an adult and what's the big deal if he chose to have some sex? I mean, he wasn't just the son of God, right? He was human. He was a man. But our society is so hung up on sex and for what? Why does having a sexual relationship make someone impure? What's so dirty about it? As long as it's between two consenting adults, who are willing to face the possible consequences of pregnancy or disease - why can't we just stay out of people's bedrooms? It's no one's business what adult people do behind closed doors. (That includes homosexuals, by the way. But that's a whole other topic.)

When I said something to my husband about all this, he remarked to me that it was just Jane Doe from Nowheresville - what was I getting so upset about? Who cares what she says? Well, I do. Because to me Jane Doe represents the majority of us. And I think it illustrates that the majority of women don't value themselves as much as they should. That most women have been brought up to believe that they are somehow inferior and are often responsible for bringing men down. I mean does it get any worse than being forced to bear the responsibility of causing original sin? How can we possible recover? And although Jane Doe may not have intentionally meant to put down women, she did. And in so doing not only was I offended personally, I was angry that Jane Doe thought so little of herself and others of her gender. Sadly, she probably doesn't even realize what she said said so much.

But I heard it. It was most definitely there. It's insidious. And I think we as women would be foolish to underestimate the role that our subconscious minds play in our everyday lives. It's hard enough for women out there trying to convince the world at large that we deserve equal, human rights. But if we don't believe it ourselves, why should they?

4 Comments:

At 5/20/2006 10:43:00 PM, Blogger cherylann said...

i'm reading the davinci code right now. i tend to agree with you. fortunately, i was not raised to be one of those women who feels the need to "support" men. hell, they should support me! anyway, i think that lately (within the past generation)women are trying to change the role which they have been given by society, but i don't think they're diong it right... they don't demand respect. they should. i was raised a strict catholic, and i always thought it was really idiotic of people to think that Jesus wasn't married or didn't have children. How would people believe sermons that he gave on women and family... oh, because he said he was the son of god? whatever. anyway... i just wanted you to know that i see your point. xo- cherlito

 
At 5/23/2006 11:14:00 AM, Anonymous Brian Coelman said...

I think you'll soon learn that I've got an opinion on almost everything :) In this case, I would agree with your husband, don't get all worked up about it.
Firstly, you saw this on the evening news, 'Nuff said! Secondly, she was speaking, "as a catholic" not as a women. I'd bet the house that she lacks the credentials to speak for either group....but I doubt the evening news made that distinction. Thirdly, although you are wise enough to be impeccable with your words, the majority is not. In fact, this women illustrates her ignorance by condemning something that she hasn't watched, did she read the book? I don't know, maybe. Maybe she heard all she needed to hear on the evening news :)

...and to wrap up my rant...I was drawn to the title of this post because it's one of four Agreements...a book by Don Miguel Ruiz a teacher of the Toltec tradition. The four Agreements are:

From the cover of the book:

1) Be Impeccable With Your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2) Don't Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

3) Don't Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4) Always Do Your Best: Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

These 4 simple 'agreements' have made a profound difference in my life and I'm sure others would benfit by following them too.

 
At 5/23/2006 05:28:00 PM, Blogger Linus said...

The Four Agreements is a great book! I agree with Brian: it's simple and can greatly alter the way you look at others and in turn react to them. I highly recommend it as well. It's a small book. A quick read. And yet it says so much.
If anyone wants to borrow a copy, you can have mine!

 
At 5/25/2006 08:57:00 PM, Blogger cherylann said...

a whole week nilda? they're working you to the bone at the course. come back to the blog. i miss your writing. love- me

 

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