Everywhere will be Called Eden
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Rev. Kate Penfield

As a woman in ministry for twenty years, I obviously believe that the Bible calls and gifts women as well as men to serve in ordained ministerial leadership. However, there was a day when even I was not so convinced, as some are not yet even today as we approach a new millennium. For those persons I write this article, that they may journey as I did into the discovery of what the Bible really says about the role of women in the church.

Perhaps a dozen years ago I participated in a Ministers Council retreat on Block Island, with Jesuit priest Pierre Wolf as retreat leader. As the time was just around the corner from Easter, the leader directed us to focus our meditations on one of the biblical records of a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus. We were to read through them until something in one elicited a feeling response and then to stay with that one.

The passage that immediately struck me was the beginning of the twentieth chapter of the gospel of John, particularly these lines:

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?’

During the hours of the retreat I meditated on this passage and at the end, as the group came back together to report on our experiences, when I tried to say what had happened to me, I began to weep. It seemed that the tears would never stop. I felt that I would literally drown in my tears. After years of speaking on the issue of women and religion, of counselling women who had suffered from what has been done to them in the name of religion, I was for the very first time experiencing within my own being the agony of realizing what has been done not just to women as a whole, but to me, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I wept years of suppressed tears. In order to change things I had persuaded myself that one must be strong, one must not look too closely at the fact that "they have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him."

What has been done and said by the Church about women to cause us to weep, to be angry or even worse, to abandon our Lord because of the bad press attributed to him? Is there truth in women’s claim that the good news has been distorted to exclude them, or are those who stereotype and categorize women, pushing them to the margins of life, the ones who speak for God? Does the Church have a message to speak that will attract the women and men who have been repelled by the narrow vision of what has for so long been presented as the gospel?

For centuries the Church heeded unjust and untrue statements about women, such as the following:

Do you not know that each of you is also an Eve?... You are the devil’s gateway, you are the unsealer of that forbidden tree, you are the first deserter of the divine law, you are the one who persuaded him whom the devil was too weak to attack. How easily you destroyed man, the image of God! Because of the death which you brought upon us, even the Son of God had to die....

Thus spoke Church Father Tertullian.1

Yet another says: "Men have broad and large chests and small and narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small and narrow chests, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children." Martin Luther is the source of those memorable thoughts.2

In more recent times, Pope John Paul II addressed an audience of French maids charged with the task of keeping house for priests, telling them how fortunate they were in having the privilege of saving the holy apostolic time of male priests. Another recent newspaper account closer to home tells of girls and women in St. Mary’s parish in Putnam, Connecticut, who used to put on long, white cassocks and carry the cross in procession, who "used to hold the prayer book for the priest to read, and pass him the water and wine... to lead everyone out of the church and go back to extinguish the candles." After receiving a couple of complaints, the Bishop of Norwich decided to uphold a prohibition against female altar servers, to which the people involved responded with a silent vigil outside the office of the bishop. One man who observed this act shouted, "They’ll rot in hell, every damn one of them!" One woman who marched said, "You’d think the church would want women to be servants, since they let us vacuum the altar off."3

Alice Walker in her novel The Color Purple recounts a conversation between Celie and her friend Shug, which illustrates how the concept of God as white male has been bad news for women and for blacks, and especially for black women. "Ain’t no way to read the Bible and not think God white.... When I found out I thought God was white and a man, I lost interest. You mad cause he don’t seem to listen to your prayers.... Do the mayor listen to anything colored say?"4

The assessment of women as other than male and therefore inferior relates to various forms of subordination. The bad news has prevailed, not just for women, or for blacks, but for any who deviate from the norm of white male. Joan Chittister, prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania, states the fundamental issue clearly:

What we’re trying to say is that sexism—the notion that God built inferiority right into the human race, that women are somehow a lesser creation than men—validates violence against anyone. That’s what I call the theology of domination. It says that some humans are more human than other humans and therefore they have the right and the duty to control those lesser than themselves. If you accept that, if you buy the fact that God built inequality into the human race, if you believe that men are more finely developed creatures and more open to the graces of God—then you’re a short step away from the extermination of red people or the lynching of black people or the napalming of yellow people or the gassing of the next generation of Jews. Some of us are in charge, and we know who we are.... But that’s not the theology that is the vision of the gospel.5

When the most fundamental form of otherness, the difference between women and men, is perceived not as a gift of God but as an unbridgeable gulf that separates us, and as legitimation for suppression, then there exists an attitude toward all forms of otherness that leads ultimately to oppression, pillaging, and rape of the entire created order.

As this millennium closes, many persons reject the Church because they reject the narrow vision of the gospel which legitimates subordination, believing it to be the true good news gospel that the Church is charged to proclaim. When this perversion of the gospel occurs, has the Church not in fact betrayed Jesus Christ, "taking away our Lord" from human beings who desperately need good news but who have been given only the perverted bad news spoken in his name? No wonder some of us weep, and question when if ever God’s dream for this world will be reality.

A new look at some of our theology, derived from the Bible as our primary source of authority and refined through the experience of contemporary theologians, transforms the bad news of exclusion into good news of inclusion. The Lord whom we seek has always been there, risen from the empty tomb of human evil and misunderstanding, waiting for us to open our ears and our eyes and our hearts and perceive God’s dream for this world. Basic to that dream is a new look at these questions: "Who is God?" "Who are human beings?" "Who was/is Jesus Christ?" "Who is/are the Church?"



Who is God?

God is not an old man who sits in the sky tending "his" long white beard and killing off his own Son in order that we sinful human beings might be spared our just deserts. God is Trinity Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer/Father, Son and Holy Spirit. By God’s very nature God is relational, known by us to be a fellowship of all three Persons of God, who coinhere and interrelate, who are not hierarchical but in community. Thus, God "was in Christ reconciling the world" (II Corinthians 5:19). Barbara Brown Zikmund, writing in The Christian Century, spells out the implications of Trinitarian theology in this light:

When we worship a triune God we celebrate the love which flows in God’s eternal dance of togetherness, and which we know through Jesus Christ as Lord of the dance.... The doctrine of the Trinity erodes the monarchical and patriarchical power of monotheism. When God is no longer viewed as solitary and stark unity, or absolute unrelated personality, we are able to live with—not just fall down before—God.... A truly social doctrine of the Trinity contains the vision of a community of women and men in church and society without privilege or subjection to each other—or to God. Trinitarian theology asserts that relationship is fundamental to God and that community is the foundation of God’s interaction with the world.6

In classical terminology, the Trinity has been referred to as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, easily visualized as an old man, his son and a bird, images of the divine that are harmful to the actualization of community among men and women. Language about God becomes a problem, in that we have no words that are both personal and inclusive. But to use the word parent instead of father is to deny the fullness of parent who is personal; to say Father implies that God is male. To say child is to deny the growing into adulthood of Jesus; to say Son is to focus on the historical fact of his maleness, perhaps to the exclusion of the representation of women in the incarnation. Finally, to assign to the Holy Spirit the female gender, as the Greek does, is to forget that the three persons of the Trinity coinhere and that what one is all three are; it is also to imbalance the Trinity, that is to make it two males to one female. God is at least personal, and is neither male nor female, but somehow incorporates the characteristics of both in Godself. To define God as one or the other is literally heresy, limiting the fullness of God. While God is not confined by our finite understandings, because God is who God is regardless of how we image or portray God, the consequence is worked out in shattered and distorted human relationships.

Whoever is privileged in the image of God by the way we conceive that image has an edge on the rest of the world. In the words of a child who wrote a letter to God, "Are boys better than girls? I know you are one, but try to be fair." If God is male, then all males are automatically more God-like than all females, resulting in a clear necessity of a hierarchy within humanity. Patriarchy is structured on that assumption. On the other hand, there are within the canon feminine metaphors for the divine which have been lost from view. The witness of such metaphors in a literature composed by a patriarchal society attests powerfully to the inclusive nature of the divine and addresses to our somewhat more egalitarian age the truth that the Bible is not an outdated book to be discounted because it no longer corresponds to what more and more of us experience as reality.

As examples of feminine imagery, God is described in the Old Testament as a mother eagle, bearing offspring on her wings (Exodus and Deuteronomy); as one who gives birth (Deutero-Isaiah); and as "the Rock that begot you" (Deuteronomy 32:18)—translated in the Jerusalem Bible as "The God who fathered you" even though the Hebrew language portrays God as woman in labour pains. The New Testament contains the striking illustration of God as a woman who searches diligently for a lost coin (Luke 15: 8-10), and Jesus as a mother hen who would shelter Jerusalem under its wings (Luke 13:34-35). According to one scholar who strives to recover what has been lost, "Over centuries, however, translators and commentators have ignored such female imagery, with disastrous results for God, man and woman. To reclaim the imagery of God as female is to become aware of the male idolatry that has long infested faith."7 While the image of God is not locked into either gender, that image is from the very first page of the Bible linked with male and female together (Genesis 1:27-28).

To reclaim the imagery of God as female is a task requiring sensitivity that avoids alienating those who have always heard God described in exclusively male terms. Nevertheless, sensitivity to some can be no excuse to evade the responsibility to correct what has so long alienated others and wreaked havoc on the human scene. Consider the richness of imagery in the following two examples. First, a prayer by Ruth C. Duck:

Gracious God of the loving heart, by whom all fatherhood and motherhood is named, Source of our own creation, whose Trinity of persons all human bonding and richness of human community reflects, may your name be praised!... Because of the boundlessness of your love, you opened your womb, pouring forth your own inner life, giving birth to the world, and bestowing on it life like your own....8

And words from a hymn by Brian Wren:

Dear Sister God, you held me at my birth. You sang my name, were glad to see my face. You are my sky, my shining sun, and in your love there’s always room to be, to grow, yet find a home, a settled place.9

From one contemporary musician come these words:

A balanced use of all types of imagery in both word and song can help us to achieve a more accurate—though never definitive—idea of who God is.... The mystery that cannot be pinned down, but is known to us through a personal relationship, is speaking to us today in a new voice. May our liturgy and song reflect our response to that voice.10


Who are human beings?

Our response to what we believe to be the voice of God determines our perception of who human beings are. If we examine the first three chapters of Genesis while listening to the new voice that is speaking to our age, we will sense that women and men are far more alike than they are different, created in the image of God to be companions, fallen from the fullness of that image, and hopeful of recovering it.

So God created [the human creature] in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion...over every living thing that moves upon the earth’ (Genesis 1:27-28).

This Hebrew literary device, known as a ring inclusion, speaks of both men and women in the image of God, who incorporates aspects of both but is more than male and female. This first account of the creation story makes no hint of subordination or superordination, and tells of simultaneous creation of both sexes, with the same mandate to both to be stewards of the earth.

The second creation story is the locus of greater misunderstanding, but is equally open to being read with new eyes. Traditionally read to tell of the creation of man, followed by the creation of a woman to be a "helper fit for him" or a "helpmeet," the story may be read as the creation of Adam, the earth creature who is sexually undifferentiated (Adam from adamah, the earth creature from the earth, a typical Hebrew pun), followed by the creation of ezer neged, "a companion corresponding to him," because it is not good for the earth creature to be alone. Ezer is a Hebrew word used 21 times in the Old Testament, to mean "helper" and sixteen times to refer to God, so that we can hardly attribute the meaning "a subordinate helper" to the term. Paul Jewett quotes Karl Barth on the theme of human partnership spelled out in Genesis 2:20 to say that:

‘Partner’ is perhaps the shortest rendering for the term ‘help corresponding to him’.... Were this creature only like him, a numerical replication, his solitariness would not be eliminated, for such a creature would not confront him as another but he would merely recognize himself in it. Again, if this one were only different from him, a being of a wholly different order, his solitariness would not be eliminated, for it would confront him as another, yet not as another which actually belongs to him...not as fellow-occupant of this sphere fulfilling the duty allotted within it.11

Fallenness enters the picture in the form of the willful disobedience of humanity. Tradition interprets the woman as the weaker of the two, tempted and fallen, enticing the man also to disobey. In fact, the story tells of the approach to the woman who theologized, who "built a fence around the Torah" by fortifying the original injunction not to eat with the words "neither shall you touch it." She disobeyed while communicating with the serpent, then in turn gave some fruit to her husband "who was there with her," a detail included in the Hebrew but omitted in English translation. Both disobeyed and fell, the woman while verbalizing with the serpent, the male in silence. Is one response better than the other? Disobedience is disobedience, whether silent or loquacious. When confronted by the voice of the Lord God, each passes on the blame: he says, "This woman whom you gave me (really your fault, God!), she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate;" she says, "The serpent beguiled me, and I ate" (Genesis 3:12-13).

Partners created together in the image of God, the man and the woman are now partners in the fall and share the consequences. Reading with eyes freed from the spectacles of previous misunderstandings concerning the content of Genesis 3, it at once becomes apparent that the curses of that chapter are not prescription but description, not a statement of God’s will for humanity but a statement of the consequences of human fallenness. The Jerusalem Bible’s translation that "he will lord it over you" puts the matter in perspective. To claim this verse as precedent for the subordination of women by men is to vaunt the results of sin and to attribute them to God’s intention when the opposite is clear, that the impulse to subordinate the other is a manifestation of the fall. In addition, a recently published commentary attributes to the man sorrow in producing the fruit of the earth, parallel to the woman’s sorrow in producing the fruit of the womb.12 The word for her pain and his toil is issabon, which reappears in Genesis 6, this time applied to God: "The Lord God saw that the imaginations of their hearts had been only evil since their youth, and it grieved God to the heart" (Genesis 6:6).

Human beings are created in the image of God, male and female, every one of us. Theologically we may be understood as created simultaneously, charged with the same responsibility as partners in the fulfilment of God’s dream of that day when the whole world shall be very good for all peoples and the entire created order. We are have all fallen from that destiny, and our human interactions bear witness to our failures. Writing in The Christian Century, Celia Allison Hahn refers to work by Phyllis Trible on this theme:

Human beings have not embraced their tasks as partners; men have distanced themselves from their nurturing selves and their bodily lives, and women have tended to distance themselves from their public responsibilities. The earth creature was given what Phyllis Trible has called the paradoxical task of ruling over the earth by serving it, but somehow the ruling and serving have come apart: men have been more likely to rule, and women to serve.13

The fact that this is so is not God’s intention and is not mandated by the Christian Scriptures. That these tasks have been separated is indicative of sin, and the use of God’s Word to defend our state of separation is part of that sin.



Who was/is Jesus Christ?

The one who came to heal all our separations is Jesus Christ. It is indisputably true that God was incarnated nearly twenty centuries ago in one single, historically verifiable human being, a human being who was beyond question a man. It is also indisputably true that for God to be incarnated in a human being, that human being had to be either a man or a woman, not half and half, not androgynous. It is equally true that in that time and place Messiah as woman would have had no training in Torah, no freedom to travel and teach and heal, no opportunity to participate fully in the temple. However, a moment’s reflection on who Jesus was reveals that he was anything but a repressing, domineering, macho man. In a world which stereotypes human characteristics as feminine and masculine, Jesus had his fair share of those that we would label feminine. His primary orientation toward life was relational; he went about doing good; he wept; he emptied himself of power; in every word and deed he showed himself as one who was here as servant, modelling the imperative that all human beings are to be in mutual submission to one another, i.e., to be "servants." He even described himself in the maternal metaphor of one who would gather others under the security of sheltering wings (Luke 13; Matthew 23).

Who was Jesus? A radical feminist for his time, an age when women were not allowed to study Torah, were ritually unclean a large proportion of their lives, were limited to roles of wife and mother or prostitute, were separated and screened from men in the temple, were not to be touched or even talked with in public. Into this atmosphere walked Jesus, confounding his contemporaries by relating to women as human beings and friends, valuing their right to study and know and theologize, touching them, teaching them, healing them, and at the end ordaining them to tell the others that he was risen. His teaching included stories of women and of men, and focussed on realities of lives of women and of men, because the Word of God addresses all persons. In a dramatic reversal and condemnation of what was, Jesus simply treated women as worthwhile human beings who deserved to have the opportunity to grow into their God-given potential.

Concerning the role of Jesus in our understanding of the roles of women, Leonard Swidler in his paper "Jesus Was a Feminist" interprets the import of the gospel record in these terms:

For whatever Jesus said or did comes to us only through the lens of the first Christians. The fact that the overwhelmingly negative attitude to women in Palestine did not come through the primitive Christian communal lens by itself underscores the clearly great religious importance Jesus attached to his positive attitude...toward women.14

If Jesus considered women to be human beings with potential and gifts, why did he choose only male disciples? Or in fact did he? Women were never included in the numbering of any group, but Mary, Martha, Mary Magdalene, Susanna, Joanna, and others were disciples. The four listings of the twelve men who were disciples do not include the same names (Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16; Matthew 10:1-4; Acts 1:13). The necessity of twelve men rests on prior history and theology, as Janice Nunnally-Cox summarizes:

The number twelve was a powerful symbol for Israel, for the sons of Jacob (and Rachel and Leah and Zilpah and Bilhah) became the twelve tribes of Israel - whose progeny led the people out of Egypt, back home to the promised land. The parallel becomes clear: early writers saw Jesus as the new Moses, and the twelve were those who would once again release the people of Israel.15

God was incarnated in the person of Jesus Christ as the perfect representative of all humanity, male and female; otherwise, salvation just as the incarnation would encompass only men, and women would remain of all people most hopeless. New Testament writers, in speaking of the incarnation, use the Greek word "anthropos" instead of "aner"; "human being" instead of "man." It is our English translations which confuse the issue by using the term "man." Consider the impact of reclaiming the original in this passage:

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one human being, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all human beings, because all sinned.... But the gift is not like the trespass. For as the many died by the trespass of the one human being, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one human being, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many (Romans 5:12-15).16

In her book Are Women Human? Dorothy Sayers uses her incisive wit to explore the force of Jesus on the question that her book seeks to answer:

Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were the first at the Cradle and the last at the Cross. They had never known a man like this Man—there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronized; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them as ‘The women, God help us!’ or ‘The ladies, God bless them!’; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unselfconscious. There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything ‘funny’ about woman’s nature.17

"But," Sayers goes on, "we might easily deduce it from His contemporaries, and from His prophets before Him, and from His Church to this day. Women are not human; nobody shall persuade that we are human; let them say what they like, we will not believe it, though One rose from the dead."18



Who is/are the Church?

Who is/are the Church, which has misunderstood the roles of women? In the beginning, in the early New Testament writings, there is a picture of women participating in the Church as fully as men, living up to Paul’s vision of "all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). From the moment of Pentecost both men and women were together, as recipients of the power of the Holy Spirit who would prophesy (Acts 2); as co-workers who worked very hard (Romans 16); as those who laboured side by side in the gospel (Philippians 4). The roll-call of names includes Lydia (Acts 16:11-40); Priscilla (Acts 18; Romans 16; I Corinthians 16:19-24; II Timothy 4:19-22); Phoebe (Romans 16:1-2); Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2-3); Nympha (Colossians 4:15); the four daughters of Philip who prophesied (Acts 21:9); and Dorcas (Acts 9:36-42).

As time passed and the Church of necessity organized and institutionalized, it began to take on the coloration of the patriarchal society all around it, and retrenched from its early vision. Women were deprived of roles that had at first been granted to anyone who displayed the requisite gifts. Subsequently, Deutero- and Trito-Pauline writings excluded women from the fullness of humanity preached by Jesus and often by Paul, until the nadir of subordination was reached in such writings as this:

Let a woman learn in silence in all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty (I Timothy 2:11-15).

A particular context with particular issues gave rise to this statement, which is not intended to speak for all women in every time and place.

However, the spin-off of the transition from Church as egalitarian to Church as patriarchal indicates a taking seriously even of this so inadequate theology. In the year 441 the Council of Orange decreed, "Let no one proceed to the ordination of deaconesses any more" (Canon 26). In the year 533 the Council of Orleans decreed, "No longer shall the blessing of women deaconesses be given." The consequence of this retrenchment was that woman

became, once again, the person seated behind the screen, hidden by the veil, the nameless one.... We do know that something went amiss, that women no longer taught and preached and prophesied and presided. Instead, they became virgins and martyrs or honoured widows; they instructed the young and kept their silence. We do know that the vision of Jesus was lost, and that St. Paul’s quite startling affirmation of "neither male nor female" lost its electric intent. We further know that the wonderful creation story of woman and man in the image of God, was also lost.19

Lost forever or only for a time? The original dream of God for a world that shall be very good for all peoples lies embedded in the very nature of things, and is even now stirring within the souls of people who have been captured by a vision of how that dream might look enfleshed in our lives today. If Christ is our peace and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, how can it be that barriers continue to exist to the full humanity of all, not just in the world but more so in the Church? God’s word shall not return to God empty but shall accomplish that which God purposes, and prosper in the thing for which God sent it (Isaiah 55:11). As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin has phrased the inevitable movement of creation, we are on the way to the Omega Point. The new heaven and the new earth are the inevitable outcome of God’s original creation and its redemption through Jesus Christ.

Measured in the span of human years and lifetimes, progress seems slow and we are entitled to wonder when will be this Omega Point, this new heaven and earth. When will the Church be the Church, when will the world be the kingdom of God? But it is not God who tarries, it is we human beings who are such lineal-sequential thinkers, so threatened by the insecurity of change, that the Holy Spirit must deal with us one matter at a time, painfully slowly. Even in the one verse from Galatians that lifts up the vision of "all one in Christ Jesus" (3:28), centuries have passed and the specified pieces of that vision are only partially realized. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." In Paul’s lifetime, the question of Judaizers who would splinter the Church was addressed; in the last century the question of slavery began to be resolved; in this time the male-female issue has moved to the forefront.

Rosemary Ruether is one who has brought the issue to the attention of the Church. In one of her writings she looks back:

Thus, in one sense, the question of feminist theology is very recent. While patriarchal theology reaches back more than 3,000 years into the roots of the Hebrew Bible, women have only very recently gained enough of a foothold in theological education even to begin to ask questions about the androcentric and misogynist bias of this tradition. It is not surprising, therefore, that women do not have all the answers, and indeed are only beginning to formulate the questions. What is surprising is the enormous amount of solid work in all fields that has been accomplished in the last 15 years—from biblical studies to history, to theology, to ethics, to pastoral psychology, to ministry.20

Women’s issues are but a piece of the whole picture of the movement of this creation to the consummation, but they are an integral part of all that has gone wrong, of all that must be redressed. In between and behind and underneath all the bad press that claims to speak for our Lord, there is the truth that is the only hope for our world.....in submitting ourselves, each and every one of us, female and male, to God as God is, to our roles as God has designed them, to the message God entrusted Jesus to proclaim, to the vision of the Church that God has laid on our hearts, then and only then will humanity find wholeness and happiness and hope.

And then all that has divided us will merge

And then compassion will be wedded to power

And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind

And then both men and women will be gentle

And then both women and men will be strong

And then no person will be subject to another’s will

And then all will be rich and free and varied

And then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many

And then all will share equally in the earth’s abundance

And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old

And then all will nourish the young

And then all will cherish life’s creatures

And then all will live in harmony with each other and the Earth

And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.21

Up Footnotes Responses Kate Penfield