Jesus who Forgave the Oppressor. Jesus who sets free the Oppressed. Jesus who sets things right. Painting by Bec Cranford-Smith
I’ve been doing yoga therapy lately. In simplistic terms it’s a kind of counseling that takes the body along for the ride. In these sessions I have been uncovering beliefs that I have held about men. It’s pretty much all borne from an oppressive and abusive father. But in the journey it’s also uncovered mean boys from my youth, the man who raped me and the boyfriends who broke my heart. It all leads to the same kind of message; men aren’t safe.
So I’ve been wondering, how exactly do I give myself over to a kenotic path led and modeled by a man? I don’t subscribe to a view of God as strictly gendered as male. This has never been something I have been comfortable doing. I have always been drawn to a father/mother view of God. So how does one, like me, who has constant programming running about how men aren’t safe, follow the lead of a spiritual embodiment of God who inhabited a male body.
Is my love of Jesus just a fairytale of what a man could be (and never has been in my actual life) and how could I follow the teachings of a man when men aren’t safe? Is my love of Jesus a dream of a man without an ego, a longing for a human man that embodies a gentleness and a deep caring for the marginalized and oppressed? Is this just the dream of a little girl longing for the love of a father that could never be? Part of myself would say yes. But the mystic in me holds space for the possibility of something I’ve not yet experienced, the love of a man that is unconditional.
I want to believe that Jesus was a man with an ego who found a contemplative path that led him to surrendering egoic thought in favor of divine connection. And that divine connection was what made Jesus, the man, the savior the world believes him to be. I want to walk that path and I want to be like him. But this challenges my belief that men aren’t safe. If I choose a path emulating a spiritual teacher who was a man, how can I continue to believe men to be unsafe?
Maybe the distinction I need to make is that egoic thought is unsafe and perhaps I need to leave gender out of it? What do you think? I’d love your thoughts.