|The Mystery within...|
My Random House Dictionary of the English Language (copyrighted 1966) defines patriarchy as: "1. a form of social organization in which the father is the supreme authority in the family clan or tribe and descent is reckoned in the male line, with the children belonging to the father's clan or tribe. 2. a society, community or country based on this social organization."
Now in 2016, I Goggled Merriam-Webster's definition of patriarchy: a family, group, or government controlled by a man or a group of men; a social system in which family members are related to each other through their fathers."
Patriarchy doesn't change but thank God we humans are capable of intellectual and spiritual progress. I know it is much more than just daughters that suffer from the patriarchal model; sons and the whole of society are also deprived of integrating the gifts both genders have to offer; integrated gifts that will form the foundation for freedom, justice and peace in the world.
In the mid 1990's I remember seeing for the first time the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in1948, that begins:
"Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, …"
When I read that declaration, during the time patriarchy was coming to the forefront in my life, my first thought was I don't even have inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights in my family, or then church, where I was also active in justice and peace concerns. But now it helps me understand why progress toward ending racism and homophobia is coming before ending sexism that is held onto through the patriarchal hierarchies of religion.
Which brings to mind the late Jesuit priest/scientist and mystic Teilhard de Chardin who was silenced by the church. Chardin saw man’s embrace of woman as consummating a union with the Universe, and in turn, growing to a world scale. He believed that if each of us can believe that we are working so that the universe may be raised, " . . . then a new spring of energy will well forth..." and "The whole great human organism, overcoming a momentary hesitation, will draw its breath and press on with strength renewed.”
What if we all questioned our relationship with patriarchy and ask ourselves, "What can I do to promote freedom, justice and peace in the world?