Thursday, June 29, 2006

What gender are you?

This question popped into my mind yesterday while reading. In case you may be wondering, I’ve hit one of my favorite chapters in Science and Health in my two-pages-a-day read-through—Genesis.

Here’s the provocative passage from yesterday:

Genesis i. 12. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

God determines the gender of His own ideas. Gender is mental, not material. The seed within itself is the pure thought emanating from divine Mind. The feminine gender is not yet expressed in the text. Gender means simply kind or sort, and does not necessarily refer either to masculinity or femininity. The word is not confined to sexuality, and grammars always recognize a neuter gender, neither male nor female. The Mind or intelligence of production names the female gender last in the ascending order of creation. The intelligent individual idea, be it male or female, rising from the lesser to the greater, unfolds the infinitude of Love.

(Interesting that Mary Baker Eddy is bringing this up in relation to plants.)

“Gender is mental, not material.” That phrase popped out at me, and made me ask the question, Well, what gender am I then? If it’s not based on my physical attributes, what is it?

It’s gnarly for me, since even though I’m very definitely a girl in many respects, I do have a streak of macho. When I was a kid, I always insisted on being Robin when we played Robin Hood (the Disney movie was big then). I wanted the bow and arrow, I wanted the sword. I had no patience for the pretty princess who stood to one side and squealed. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella—I just didn’t see the point. And I won’t even begin to tell you what I did with my sister’s Barbies.

As an adult I’ve had to straddle both worlds trying to be both mother and father to my kids. Not sure how successful I’ve been, but having to wire the thermostat and change a spark plug went hand in hand with laundry and cooking. I remember my first “handyman” job and how proud I was that I could do it. Since then, nothing around the house intimidates me.

So how do we know what gender we are? And do we really have to pick one? In my life, it’s seemed I’m one minute feminine and the next masculine. I can be called upon to do either at a moment’s notice.

Maybe the point is not being limited by a particular definition of masculine or feminine. Maybe the mental nature of gender comes in when we can see that there’s nothing we can’t do. Physically I may be squarely a woman, but mentally I can be both, or rather, both becomes one.

And maybe that’s what Eddy is getting at. There’s really only one gender. Not neutered, impotent, or ineffective, but whole, encompassing all qualities, strengths and attributes. We don’t take away gender as we grow spiritually, we embrace all aspects of it. I’m not genderless—I’m genderful.

Being is one. There aren’t two, constantly at odds. As an extension of what I wrote yesterday, there are no opposites. I am one, one with all the qualities of being that God has created.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 6/29/2006 09:25:00 AM, Blogger athos said...

"Genderful" not genderless is brilliant! And what a great way to live one's life. thanks, laura.

At 6/29/2006 09:56:00 AM, Anonymous Emily said...

If we are all reflections of our Father-Mother God, then gender becomes rather irrelevant, doesn't it? If we are listening for Love's direction, we will reflect whatever characteristic of God is needed at a given moment, to whatever extent is needed at that moment.

I have been asked to handle a very awkward situation, the repair of which will require extreme kindness, patience, and gentleness on my part if I am to resolve the problem without hurting anyone in the process. It is only recently that I learned to see some of those qualities in myself, and I am not yet fully confident in my ability to express them reliably.

I have a friend, however, who expresses all those qualities very naturally and easily. She is very wise and very intuitive, and when I learned of this situation, I immediately called her to see if she might be willing to help me speak with this person, who seems to need a little mothering to help ease her through her present circumstances.

My friend agreed. During our conversation, she said something that seems to fit here. Neither my friend nor I have any children, though we both have a natural desire -- and, it would seem, a spiritual imperative -- to express motherhood in our lives. When I told my friend about this situation, she immediately made the connection that this was an opportunity to express motherhood, and our lack of physical children would not and could not keep us from doing that to whatever extent is needed. She went on to add that although we are women, we can -- when the occasion demands -- express the spiritual qualities of fatherhood, too.

Another friend of mine talks about the idea of male and female in terms of fatherhood and motherhood. He defines the masculine as the giving of the law and the feminine as the carrying out of that law.

Much of the time, my husband sets policies concerning our pets, and I carry them out, so we do express fatherhood and motherhood through those traditional male/female roles. But sometimes those roles are reversed. It depends on who has a hand free and what is needed at a particular moment in time. We don't have "woman's work" in our house; rather, we follow a division of labor that takes into consideration our strengths, schedules, and present needs.

For instance: We both love to garden. Because of the way our schedules work, I usually do the planting -- sort of a masculine pursuit, as I am literally sowing seeds -- while my husband takes care of the bulk of the watering and weeding -- sort of a feminine pursuit, as he is nurturing and coddling the plants to fruition. Certainly we both have the ability to fulfill both roles as the situation requires.

I think gender involves a lot of give-and-take like that. The key is to listen for Love's direction and be obedient to the demands we hear as we assume whatever role we are most needed to fill at a particular moment.

And, of course, it never hurts a girl to be handy with a faucet wrench. :)


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