Today I heard and interesting statement. “Laws are based upon values and then support the values.” This thought has made me think about how things are changing in our country and other parts of the world.
The phrase came in church after an discussion of The Leverite Law in Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 25:5-10 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
5 When brothers reside together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her, taking her in marriage, and performing the duty of a husband’s brother to her, 6 and the firstborn whom she bears shall succeed to the name of the deceased brother, so that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.
Times have changed since this was in effect. The woman was not considered at all. Now our laws recognize women as equal.
However, as we look at the initial quote we begin to question exactly what the values are today. So many are changing so fast that we can’t keep up with them and are part of our divisions. Even various religious denominations have switched from one idea to another. The earlier position of life at first breath came from the Bible: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Gen 2:7
It is debated if the shift to life at conception was a political one or a change due to science or some other influence. Either way it was a big shift that has led to a conflicted country regarding abortion.
This is just an example of how “Laws are based upon values and then support the values.” I never thought of it from this perspective and it is interesting to do so.
Years ago I had recordings by Tom Lehrer. His satiric songs always struck a chord with me. Some of them are funny but some so prophetic they are scary. The words are from the past but the idea remains. (I’m sorry to say) They would not be politically correct today but unfortunately possible. It is a reminder to us to learn to live in a world without hatred.
I have never considered myself a feminist. At least not in the sense of Gloria Steinham (sp?) and others of that era. My father always told me that I could do anything if I worked at it. When I was younger it never occurred to me that there were people who felt that women should not leave the roles of the past. I spent 20 years as an Army Wife and never encountered that kind of prejudice there. I suppose I was out of the ordinary world. It was a shock to me when we left that world to discover (sorry, but especially men) who saw me out of my place… people who tried to fit me into the box they envisioned. Someone once asked my husband if he couldn’t keep his wife in her place. He replied he had spent all his time encouraging me. This was in the 1970’s.
The women’s movement in the 60’s denigrated the role that I was living. I resented that. I never felt my role as wife and mother was lacking. I read widely, volunteered in social work and other areas and had a full and rewarding life. It made sense to me that women who were in the work world should receive proper compensation on an equal footing with men. I knew the inequalities should be removed but I expected there to be room for each of us to find our own path and fulfill ourselves as we saw fit. That was not the plan of most of the early feminists.
Later my own role changed as my children grew and I chose to become a nurse. (still a feminine role but also changing.) I had a full and enriching career of more than 30 years.
It is gratifying to see things are better in some ways. I think that women who raise children have more respect than in the 60’s. The downside of this change is that it has played a role in changing families drastically. Most children now grow up with both parents working. This is hard for the whole family. Everyone is juggling time spent in different roles. Changes in the economic climate have made this the norm.
The other side of this is the role of men. It has been a difficult adjustment for men whose roles have also changed. With children growing up in the 60’s and 70’s it seemed as if boys were showing signs of pressure in school. They were not automatically assumed to be the best at math and science. The competition with girls redefined their roles. More girls were now heading for careers in what was male dominated areas. Boys in high school and college seemed to be struggling more than in the past.
The whole era was a shake up of culture and a difficult time for both sexes. I can see some of that leveling out. There are still problems but being able to look at things from my viewpoint I can see positive changes. We will continue to struggle with changing mindsets and coming to terms with injustices but things are better. Some of that will disappear as generations change. Let’s hope we keep moving toward the good things and people are free to choose their roles without bias.
The news today continues to follow the sexual harassment scandals. This is all so sad. It is sad for the women who are coming forward…..they have held these things inside for so long. I am sad for the people who are being accused…life has changed for them. I am not sure that life hasn’t changed for all of us.
This seems to be the next phase of female emancipation. For many years since women entered the work force there seems to have been an unwritten rule that some men in power could use that power to their advantage without fear of repercussions. In my young adult years I knew that many actresses had to sleep their way to the screen. It seemed to be the norm. The women seemed to accept it as a way of life. I am sure that some women took advantage as well.
That time has come to an end. The veil has been lifted and the actions are coming home to roost. The trouble is when people are talking about things that happened years ago there is no way to get at “truth.” Memories can be faulty and it is possible to push away those things we don’t want to see in ourselves.
I think since Pandora’s box has been opened we will see many more disclosures about abuse. This will be a major shake up for communication in the work place. We will be discovering new ways of relating to each other and hopefully things will be better. It may take a while to work this out and bring about another change in male perspective.
Anyone, male or female, who is in power can use that power for good or ill. Power can be a heady thing. Power is one of those things that we think will fill that hole that only God can fill. It has been sought instead of God since time began. Putting our priorities in the right place and seeking God first will move power to its rightful place. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all good things will be given unto you.” (from the song)
There are so many things in the world today to worry about. Instead of becoming more reasonable and moderate we seem to be radically divided. There is no middle ground any more. Are there any moderates like me any more? Most people cannot discuss politics or religion without setting themselves in concrete. They are even unable to hold a discussion without anger. I remember a line from the movie 1776 (I think said by Stephen Hopkins in the film) “I have never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about. .” I agree with him.
It seems that part of this is the idea that our language has to be screened so that no one is offended. I’m not sure that we can express ourselves without using language that is clear and shows our thoughts. I haven’t explained this well but I am sure that everyone understands. Where are we headed with all of this? It seems that with language we want to create a homogeneous language but it is okay for us to be totally divided. Makes no sense.
I guess I will always find something that concerns me and has me worrying about the world my grandchildren will have.
I am continuing with meditation and prayer and will begin to add more time. I don’t want to live lost in a dark place with anxiety ruling my life.