Of course we believe that God's ideal is one of commitment and love -- reflected by chastity before marriage and monogamy within that permanent relationship.
We, Roberta and Jard who collaborated on our book LOVERS FOR LIFE, write with values that in our case are distinctly spiritual. And while this isn't a religion course but our marriage enhancing program, there is no way we can deny our faith without compromising our message. Indeed, we cannot ignore our covenant connection with the Creator of the Cosmos. We believe that God is the source of all love and while love obviously existed for women and men many millennia before Jesus' great spiritual revelation, that mission was to most clearly reveal God's love for humans and to demonstrate our human potential for love.
God's love is our own example; we feel that Jesus' sacrificial act was the greatest display of love ever revealed by a single person. In a very special way it opened the door for God's spirit to enter more fully into this world of women and men who carry within their souls, bodies and minds the capacity for becoming lovers for life. In fact, Jard has been instrumental in developing two programs, one for ministers and another for lay persons that applies practical faith, hope and love in one of the world's fastest growing Christian denominations. These two programs have been instrumental in helping lead millions of African, Latino, European and Asian men and women into a covenant relationship with the God of the Cosmos. And God alone knows where this shall go in the next decade. Because moving toward spiritual maturity means so much to us, Jard feels that contribution to faith, hope and love is his most valuable contribution to society.
Having said that, we must also tell you that we are deeply disappointed by the failures of fundamentalist Christianity, Islam and Judaism that enforce sexist neuroticism, cruel traditions and immature religious ideologies on women and then claim their crippling psychopathies are God's will for everyone. God wants no such thing -- but what really angers us about such reactionary pretension is its hypocrisy. As researchers, counselors and teachers, we know all too well that the fundamental power brokers who want to dominate your spirituality have the same sexual yearnings as the rest of us. Need we go beyond T V preachers Jim Bakker who was long seducing his young secretary and James Swaggert who paid prostitutes to let him watch them masturbating. Consider the heavy penalties some Catholic dioceses are paying because neurotic priests, because of the pressures caused by abstinence and the loneliness it causes, seduced trusting boys and girls. Can anyone really believe that their life-long celibacy had nothing to do with the disasters that followed?
We have found in our research that the greatest problems faced by women and men are caused by the fact we are spiritual souls with a great capacity for love and self-sacrifice, woven into a primitive homosapien bodies hobbled with narcissism and capable of great rage, violence and selfishness.
If, as the connectional covenant religions teach, humans are called by God to serve one another in love, a great many of us fail in our selfish attitudes and choices. The strengths and shortcomings of human love is revealed in our attitudes, expectations, beliefs and choices. Actually there is much more to each person than these bodies that can bring us such enchanting relationships when joined with a lover. What we do with them is crucial to our happiness. The way our bodies evolved through the long eons is important to us. What we think about them and how we use them is critical and how we express our love is especially vital to our contentment.
Men and women are mirror image souls who need one another for fulfillment -- for intimate caresses through the long nights of winter, for the yin and yang of masculine and feminine strengths, for perpetuating ourselves immortally through our children. Our precious bodies fit together so well that Jesus called lovemaking becoming one flesh -- as indeed it does in many different ways during loving sexual relationships when two otherwise barren persons join to create the miracle of new life.
Of course, perceptive women and men have always been filled with awe by the miracle of conception and birth. The creation of life is indeed almost beyond comprehension to most of us -- so much so that every society and religion has surrounded the birth of children with many myths, traditions and ideologies to explain that which was very difficult for them to understand. Virtually every society has, as Sigmund Freud wrote so perceptively, developed a great deal of squeamishness, anxiety and neuroticism about human sexuality. There is something about lovemaking that both fascinates and terrifies a great many persons and leads to major frustrations and perversions that many unfortunate people never overcome. Some of those fearful souls become clergy or theologians who ponder what God wants from us -- and reach answers according to their unconscious needs and conscious justifications.
All primitive, pre-industrial and pre-fossil fuel societies, needed strong young workers so badly that they reached conscious and unconscious decisions about the responsibilities of women to the tribe or clan that are pointless today, even though fundamental religious leaders assume they still are important. Since so many laborers were needed to do the unending labor of survival and many soldiers were needed to protect the workers from raiding tribes, virtually every primitive clergyman and theologian in Christianity, Judaism and Islam developed the belief that God created women to be expendable. At a time when half the children died of starvation and disease before they could be turned out to work, the important people, the decision making men, decided it was better that women remain pregnant for twenty years, even if they died with a fifteenth child, rather than the tribe be endangered by a labor shortage. Since women were expendable, they were obviously second class souls who must be restricted in their education, their influence and in their careers, so they could remain brood mares for the clan. This was seen as their God given role to the society, each of which believed that it had a lock on God. And since the basic role of fundamental religion is to block change in every way possible, to preserve the good old fashion religion forever, every generation from time immemorial; has tried very hard to keep women from breaking free from the old ideologies and theologies with which the primitive priests and theologians justified the abuse of women.
For example, some earlier neurotic clergy of the Christian church internalized into their theology and traditions a twisted hatred of women and a deep, dark disgust with their own sexual needs. Around the year 1000 a clutch of psychopathic theologians and bishops were so fearful of women that they banned them from every aspect of leadership and public worship. In their quest for congregations that paid and prayed and obeyed -- they drowned and butchered and burned at the stake thousands of women whom they insisted had become witches by fornicating with Satan. The Devil must have been very busy, must never have taken a night off as he bounced from bed to bed of women eager to doom their souls to eternal punishment in return for a quick lay with the master demon!
Certainly, pretty women must obviously be witches, the neurotic priests reasoned, for they would walk by and smile and the men would be sexually aroused by the way their breasts and buttocks moved. Such lust couldn't possibly come from within themselves, they assumed -- they were priests, they were holy and sanctified servants of God! Such sinful feelings had been overcome by the Holy Spirit when a man took his holy orders! They rationalized that their lust had to come from the outside, as spells cast on them by the satanic witches who were seeking to seduce men in order to drag their souls to hell with themselves. Better slay such evil women as quickly as possible rather than to risk one's own salvation. The Medieval church, with all its fears and frustrations, fell to the slaughter with an eager will. We shudder to think how many friendly, compassionate women of grace and beauty were murdered to justify the psychopathy of neurotic men with the power of life and death over their parishes.
Unless, of course, you actually believe Satan still sleeps with women in order to turn them into witches who are then recruited to damn holy men of the cloth to the flames of hell.
The psychopaths rationalized that God distrusted women as the carriers of sexuality as much as they themselves did. Haven't religious reactionaries always confused their own fears with God's will? Didn't Jerry Falwell and Bob Jones spend the first fifty years of their lives insisting that God had made black Christians inferior to white Christians and thus must be segregated lest the pure white race be contaminated by black evil? Sexual love was seen as a weakness caused by the sin of Adam and Eve. Since the Medieval period, much of the church has taught that sexual intercourse was the forbidden fruit that caused alienation from God in the Garden of Eden and insured our inevitable death as punishment for their sin. What a monster this makes God -- what a perversion of love.
It was as if God was saying;
I gave humans a hunger for joyous sexuality and a yearning for love and then forbid them from satisfying this powerful drive. I created this clever double bind as a means of testing their obedience to my commands.
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