Richard Rohr Meditation: Marriage

From the Aristotelian perspective, “human sexuality is defined as a biological capacity for the procreation of human life. It is a biological imperative, existing solely for one purpose, namely human reproduction.

.. O’Murchu continues:

The ensuing sexual morality considered all other forms of sexual expression to be contrary to nature and sinful in the eyes of God. And since procreation was the primary goal, any suggestion of pleasure or human fulfillment from sexual intimacy was considered an aberration.

From a Catholic perspective it is worthy of note that marriage was not elevated to the status of a sacrament till the Council of Trent in the 16th century.

.. During and after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), the Catholic Church seemed to realize the inadequacy of the Greek view of marriage—solely for procreation—and began to recognize another obvious element to the definition of marriage: intimacy and mutual support.

.. Conservatives are so afraid of false expression (and they are right), and liberals are so afraid of unhealthy repression (and they are right), that it is going to take us a while to discover our sexual center and balance.

Power’s Role In Sexual Harassment

Psychologists say high-powered men accused of abusing women have different motivations but often share some personality traits

A series of sexual-harassment accusations against well-known business leaders, celebrities and politicians has left people wondering why some successful men behave this way.

In many cases, power seems to play a role. Certainly, the majority of influential men treat women appropriately. But what is going on from a psychological standpoint with the ones who don’t? Research shows they have different motivations yet typically share specific personality traits. Their power amplifies proclivities they already have.

.. Power can be isolating. Psychologists say that people in power sometimes feel removed from others, as if they aren’t subject to the same rules.

..  “Powerful people often surround themselves with people who enable them and who won’t challenge them,”
.. power can create opportunities for men to mistreat women. However, those who choose to exploit such opportunities are sometimes men who felt powerless in the past and then suddenly received an increase in power.
.. Power also can make people feel less inhibited
.. “There are parallels to alcohol,” she says. “Both make you less constrained by social norms.”
.. For many people this is positive. People who are compassionate before they have power, for example, tend to be more compassionate afterwards, the research shows. They’re the good bosses.
.. those who harass or assault women often have a combination of two distinct sets of personality characteristics
.. Psychologists call these “hostile masculinity” and “impersonal sexuality.”
.. Men with “hostile masculinity” find power over women to be a sexual turn-on. They feel anger at being rejected by a woman. This is something that researchers believe probably happened to them a lot when they were young. They justify their aggression and are often narcissists... Men with “impersonal sexuality” prefer sex without intimacy or a close connection, which often leads them to seek promiscuous sex or multiple partners.

.. Men who harass or assault women also tend to have sexist attitudes, such as an opposition to gender equality or a favoring of traditional roles for women

.. “It’s not automatic; it’s not that power corrupts,” says UCLA’s Dr. Malamuth. “It’s a certain type of man who uses his power in this way.”

.. men who are aggressive toward women are more likely to look for or create a situation where women are more vulnerable. So it’s no coincidence that they are the ones who seek out power—especially over young, beautiful women, who were the ones who tended to reject them when they were young.

.. “The bad behavior is a defense against being powerless,”

Richard Rohr Meditation: The Home of Love

Mutual presence or intimacy is the ultimate goal of the spiritual journey. Perhaps this is why images of bride and bridegroom are so commonly used by the prophets, the Song of Songs, John the Baptist, Jesus, and in the last verses of the Bible where the marriage is symbolically consummated (Revelation 19:7; 21:2, 9; 22:17).

Remember, presence does not happen in the mind. All the mind can handle is before and after; it does not know how to be present in the now. That is the mind’s great limitation. This is why all teachers of prayer give us methods for literally moving “beyond the mind” (meta-noia), which so many Bibles since St. Jerome’s unfortunate Latin (poenitentia) translate as “repent.”

.. None of us know how to be perfect, but we can practice staying in union, staying connected. “Remain in me and I remain in you,” says Jesus (see John 15:7). It is about abiding, not performing. It is about holding to your core identity more than perfect behavior—which would only make you proud and self-sufficient—even if it were possible.

.. God doesn’t keep anybody from heaven. But some people are not choosing heaven. If you don’t want a trusting relationship of love now, why would you want one later?

Katy Perry Woke Up. She Wants to Tell You All About It.

Thanks to Madonna’s restlessness, female pop stars are expected to reinvent themselves every few years, but there’s no guarantee that listeners will accept the changes. For Ms. Perry, the stakes couldn’t be higher: She believes she is now revealing her true self. The old Katy Perry is gone.

.. She has a well-known strategy for frustrating the paparazzi (wearing the same Adidas track suit when she leaves home to make the photographs less sellable)

.. For all of Ms. Perry’s talk about feminism and unity, it felt like a conventional catfight.

.. you have to understand her relationship to her biggest album, “Teenage Dream.” It had five No. 1 hits, tying a record Michael Jackson set with “Bad,” and solidified her image as a charmingly goofy sexpot who sings about love, partying and inner strength.

.. Part of the pressure stemmed from maintaining her hypersexual image, which Ms. Perry takes responsibility for helping create. “I used to be scared of intimacy, I used to use my sexualization as attention, I used to oversexualize myself because that was the only way I knew how,”

.. later explained why she holds queer women in high esteem: “I admire that they’re doing it for themselves. They are not doing it for the male gaze.”) It’s easy to read her drastic haircut and new stylistic choices — her live stream finale outfit covered her in neck-to-toe sequins — as a reaction to having worn whipped-cream bras in the past.

.. Ms. Perry credits her shift in perspective on her sexuality — she calls it “a full sexual liberation” — to resolving issues with her father. “The reality is that I was retriggered on the election,” she said. “I was retriggered by a big male that didn’t see women as equal. And that had been, unfortunately, a common theme in my upbringing.”

.. the Katy Perry I spent several days with: gregarious, intense, bold, endearing and full of contradictions.

.. she proclaimed herself devoted to dialogue but spoke in a near uninterrupted monologue.

.. The old Katy Perry wasn’t a construct, she explained, and she isn’t dead. “I didn’t kill her, because I love her, and she is exactly what I had to do then,”

Israelis cheered for Trump. But they may miss Obama more than they expected.

Policy vs. personality in Middle East politics.

Real policy differences over Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and the terms of the nuclear deal with Iran caused innumerable disagreements, many of them quite public. But during my time representing the United States here, I found that the caricature of universal Israeli hostility to Obama was overstated.
.. the arrival of a president who “at last” would support Israel unconditionally and not pressure the country to limit settlement growth or make concessions to the Palestinians.
Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party, declared, “Trump’s victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state.”
.. revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations toward a two-state solution, with the support of key Arab states
.. With Obama, Israelis may not always have gotten everything they wanted. But they always got consistency. Obama held as a firm principle the idea that the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security was unconditional.
.. relationship mature enough and durable enough to withstand such differences — but they needed to know that the United States was a reliable ally when it mattered most. And he delivered
.. they came to appreciate was Obama’s style of leadership: steady, thoughtful, knowledgeable.
.. he had the maturity, the discipline and the judgment to reach well-informed decisions that benefited Israel’s security.
.. The result was a period of unprecedented intimacy between our militaries and intelligence services.
.. I was struck by the depth of appreciation that senior Israeli military officers and intelligence officials expressed for Obama’s contributions to Israel’s security, often drawing a contrast with sentiments expressed by their politicians or the public.
.. Amos Gilad, a longtime senior defense official.. told me: “It’s easy to criticize Obama. But on the military front, the relationship was incredible.”
.. His unpredictability .. was already a source of anxiety
.. Israelis now have to ask which Trump will show up for work each day — the friend who pledges his loyalty or the adolescent who can lash out at allies such as Australia and Canada, and perhaps one day Israel?
.. His lack of knowledge, compounded by his aversion to reading and short attention span
.. His carelessness
.. shaken the confidence of the Israeli intelligence services in the reliability of the United States as a partner
.. indifferent to democratic values and institutions and enamored of authoritarian leaders is harming the United States’ standing globally, which is never good for Israel.
.. off the record, officials are beginning to acknowledge that something has changed.
.. erratic, unreliable leader?
.. David Ben-Gurion, gave President John F. Kennedy
.. The best way you can help Israel, Ben-Gurion told him, is “by being a great President of the United States.”

Read Buber, Not the Polls!

There has been so much bad communication over the past year: people talking in warring monologues past each other, ignoring the facts and using lazy stereotypes like “elites” and “Trumpeans” to reduce complex individuals into simplistic categories. Meanwhile, our main candidates are poor connectors. We’ve got the self-enclosed narcissism of Donald Trump and, to a lesser degree, the mistrustful defensiveness of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

.. You’re fearful, closed or withdrawn — objectifying her, talking at her, offering only a shallow piece of yourself and seeing only the shallow piece of her.

.. I-Thou relationships, on the other hand, are personal, direct, dialogical — nothing is held back. A Thou relationship exists when two or more people are totally immersed in their situation, when deep calls to deep, when they are offering up themselves and embracing the other in some total, unselfconscious way, when they are involved in “mutual animated describing.”

.. A doctor has an I-It relationship with a patient when he treats him as a machine in need of repair.

.. But Buber argued that it’s nonsensical to think of the self in isolation. The I only exists in relation to some other.

.. “The development of the soul in the child is inextricably bound up with that of the longing for the Thou,”

.. “The development of the soul in the child is inextricably bound up with that of the longing for the Thou,” he wrote.

.. You can’t intentionally command I-Thou moments into being. You can only be open to them and provide fertile soil.

.. Today, America is certainly awash in distrust. So many people tell stories of betrayal. So many leaders (Trump) model combativeness, isolation and distrust. But the only way we get beyond depressing years like this one is at the level of intimacy:

The Death of the Telephone Call

1876–2007.

The phone call died, according to Nielsen, in the autumn of 2007. During the final three months of that year the average monthly number of texts sent on mobile phones (218) exceeded, for the first time in recorded history, the average monthly number of phone calls (213).

.. text messages are five times more frequenton mobile phones than phone calls.

.. You can still call your best friend on the telephone, but he probably won’t pick up. Instead he’ll text you, or ping you on Facebook, and wonder when the hell it was you became so emotionally needy.

.. I make exceptions to the naked rule now and then, but always with trepidation, because when a friend you’ve never seen naked sees your name pop up on his smartphone he’s liable to think you lack boundaries.

.. If you know somebody pretty well in the business sense (the threshold here being not “have I seen this person naked?” but “have I ever seen this person across a lunch table?”) you may phone with some confidence that the party will pick up. If not, you’ll have to leave a message and enter a ghastly limbo that requires a formal appointment. To talk on the phone!

.. The telephone’s rule was absolute until the mid-1980s, when the rising popularity of answering machines and caller ID began to undermine it.

.. Sometime around 2010, my then-teenage daughter was trying to call a friend. Something’s wrong, she said. This phone has gone berserk. She handed it to me. I listened, then explained patiently what a busy signal was. She’d never heard one before.

.. Texting is a good medium for flirtation, a transaction typically between two people who don’t know each other very well. But it’s a poor medium to express love in its more mature forms—romantic, familial, or platonic

.. Perhaps a hardy band of artisans in Brooklyn or Venice, California, will revive the telephone call as a boutique ritual, much as they’ve revived the playing of vinyl records on turntables.