MARY’S REVOLT FOR LIFE
The Feminine Message of Christmas
By Peter Buerger
[Whether there will still be an earth at the end of this millennium on which an angel can proclaim peace to humankind is in no way certain. The civilization made and guided by men threatens survival on the earth. The song of Christmas is not a sweet lullaby but a feminine rebellion against the world of death worshipers.]
[This meditation is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.lebenshaus-alb.de/magazin/007161.html#ixzz1h6JGcks6
. Peter Buerger is a theology and male nurse and works as a free journalist in Dusseldorf. The translator, Marc Batko in Portland, offers hundreds of translated articles at www.freembtranslations.com and www.freewebs.com/mbtranslations.]
A prophetic book of the Bible decries the barrenness of a whole culture: “we were with child, we writhed, we have as it were brought forth wind, we have wrought no deliverance in the earth, and the inhabitants of the world have not fallen” (Isaiah 26, 18). The picture that Peter Greenaway shows at the beginning of his film “The Miracle of Macon” (1993) is not less desolate. “The harvest is meager,/the animals are unfruitful,/the fruit orchards thin,/the grass withered,/the water scarce,/men and women do not play any more/in bed/uniting is a serious matter/and little arises/except for infirmary and sadness.” Is it a mere accident that the current end-time catastrophes movie shows us a world without births in “Children of Men”? (2006)
In contrast, the Christmas story of the gospels begins so hopeful and far from all fear-mongering or fear psychoses! The men Zacharias and Joseph fall silent. In night dreams, they are told something new is coming in which they will not be the powerbrokers. Despite her great age, Elisabeth is pregnant. Her niece, the young unmarried Mary, comes over the mountain to visit. She is also expecting a child. The new life leaps for sheer joy in the stomach of the aged Elisabeth. The young Mary now sings a song that announces a very new order of worldly things: “Everything in me, heart and spirit, rejoices. I was a lowly maidservant but God looked at me and did great things for me. He casts away the arrogant with their proud plans. He brings down the powerful from their thrones. He fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty. He showed his mercy to our fathers and to all born after us. That is not an empty promise” (cf. Gospel of Luke 1, 46-55).
Mary’s baby is not born yet. But the Christmas revolt, the new feelings and thinking of the Jesus movement, has already begun. The elders, as Luke tells a few paragraphs later, can now confidently prepare for death without anxiety about the fate of later generations. In the words of a Christmas song from 1810, “persons regarded as lost come to life and rejoice…” I put aside the lament about consumer terror and commercial trash. Instead we will meditate on the meaning of Mary’s song of praise for the world in which we live.
Women see the world machine ruled by men as a “lowly maid.” That machine knows hardly anything about the real-live questions of life, birth and death. It explains birthing as something impure and makes death invisible by pushing it to institutions. Women (and so-called “soft eggs”) are left watching at the beds of infants and seniors. It thinks children can learn to speak by themselves and love is something sentimental. Everything that helps the needy and the indigent and the growth of the young is called “unproductive.” At best it is regarded as humble service, mostly done as unpaid slave labor. When the self-made man lies in his own indigestion, he first discovers persons are flesh and blood and need each other. Up to that moment, he knew where society can save “unnecessary expenses” in kindergartens and youth centers, education, public health system, basic security of the unemployed and senior care.
In a countermove, let us consider what this world of the “proud and haughty” (Luke 1, 51) understand as “productivity.” Instead of interpersonal growth and spiritual riches, it only knows “economic growth,” a sheer boundless industrial growth unconcerned about the finite resources of the earth and strangely enough only benefiting a tiny part of humankind. In the center is a money-multiplying machine that has nothing to do with the real-live economy and piles up dead riches as an end-in-itself. When the megalomaniacal fraudsters and their patrons with their money-roulette drive financial management into ruin, the general public can revitalize the big gambling casinos with billions – and the casino euphoria continues as before. Unlike normal mortals, the masters of the universe do not need to take responsibility for their actions and their delusions as we read in Isaiah “we have as it were brought forth wind.”
In Mary’s song of praise, a very different economy is described in which “the hungry are filled with good things and the rich are sent empty away” (1, 53). “Eco-nomy,” translated literally means “law of the house.” The law of the feminine house is that all occupants should be fed and well-provided without exception. Neediness is the standard (Acts 2, 45). What a person needs counts, not what another hoards in his cashbox at the expense of others. Fictional stock-prices are not life-givng. Healthy food and warm clothing are sought and periods in which people can comfort and make each other happier. A growth of relations, caring and tenderness are the top priorities. In the feminine world house, it is common knowledge that the earth belongs to no one and there is enough for everyone when justice prevails.
A power machine is part of the house of the male economy. We hear of this in Mary’s song: “God puts down the mighty from their thrones and exalts those of low degree” (1, 52). The sick world of the powerful cannot give birth to a single life. But it produces over 30 million deaths from starvation every year and can create inventions like the nuclear bomb and other war technologies with which millions of lives can be extinguished in no time. With their arrogance, they call progress what in reality is nothing short of a suicide squad on the human family.
The scientific research of climate change has long gone beyond the merely hypothetical stage. Momentous consequences of the manmade global warming could occur this year including the extinction of whole island states, environmental disasters and migrations on a planetary scale. The Good News is that sufficient spiritual and material antidotes are available to turn this around. The technological conversion to renewable energy is not a utopia. There is no reason to spread a world-destruction panic. Instead of this we must concede that corporate interests are more important than the conversion of decentralized energy models. Conventional industrialism and quantitative growth are still worshiped as idols.
In the church, politics and society, in the smallest village and on the world plane, we need people who follow a radical new thinking with a sensitive Eros for everything living. A cold power system that represses our integration in the conditions of marvelous life on earth must be dethroned. We cannot endure any more the highhanded motto “After us the Flood.” At the end Mary’s song of praise cites “posterity for ever.” So we must always have in view the children still to be born. The gifts of the earth do not belong to us. The people of another time will want to live from these gifts like us.
Only a feminine revolt that knows about birth and death can open up new perspectives for the world society in the 3rd millennium against the male apocalypse course. The theologian and philosopher Andrea Gunter writes on Mary’s song that we have pursued here: “God’s mercy is remembered (Luke 1, 54). In Hebrew, Mercifulness and giving birth are the same word. Giving birth and being born is the theme.” We set out to reproduce life artificially and to control life with genetically-engineered designs. But the holy truth of Christmas that mothers, fathers and midwives know remains: “Life is born and not made.” At the sight of birth, the male producer- and omnipotence mania can only be silent and marvel. Life is a gift. An essential principle for the human world is “free of charge,” as Pope Benedict said in his social encyclical.
The cultural work of assimilating the survival knowledge of cultures we call “primitive” – very disdainfully – about the uncontrollability, sacredness and empathy of the life-connection is demanded from us today. I think here of the rejection of indigenous communities worldwide toward the western property- and profit system that is alien to them. “We believe no one can own what exists in nature. A human being cannot own his own mother. Humanity is part of Mother Nature. We created nothing and therefore cannot claim in any way to be the owners of anything that does not belong to us.”
The civilization in which we live is a civilization of the unloved. Only the unloved make themselves “valuable” by accumulating property, exercising power, forcing authority or acts of violence. The Bible says about Jesus: the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1, 14) and that he heard on his baptism in the Jordan: “Thou art my beloved Son!” (Mark 1, 11). To survive, we need persons born on Christmas, a civilization of the beloved and not only individual redeemed persons. Then other standards will become valid than the dominant standards, as the pregnant Mary sang in her jubilant song.
Free Internet Book: Dorothee Soelle: "Mysticism and Resistance" http://www.maryknollsocietymall.org/chapters/1-57075-640-6.pdf
Free Internet Book: Eberhard Arnold: "Salt and Light" http://www.plough.com/ebooks/pdfs/SalzUndLicht.pdf
"The Dangerous Doctrine of Justification" by Dieter Potzel http://www.thomhartmann.com/forum/2010/12/dangerous-doctrine-justification
"Elijah, Amos and Jeremiah" by Dieter Potzel http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2011/02/406308.shtml
"Believing without Seeing" by Margot Kassmann http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/12/277205.shtml
"Lilies of the Field" by Margot Kassmann http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2002/12/39182.shtml
"Only the One who Cries for the Jews may Sing Gregorian" by Franz Segbers http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/93804/index.php
Ellsberg, Robert: "Dorothee Soelle" http://www.gratefulness.org/giftpeople/dorothee_soelle.htm
Soelle, Dorothee: “Faith Heals Reason” http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2011/12/413206.shtml
Soelle, Dorothee: "Justice is the Foundation of Peace" http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/12/276085.shtml http://www.buzzflash.com http://www.onthecommons.org