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How to survive and thrive in a dysfunctional Church

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Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy,  or if you have been crudely attacked or emotionally harmed  by another, You can contact us by writing a message in the “Comment” area of this page
or by sending me a personal email @ Milavec8 (at) churchonfire.net

In a Church as complex as our own where persons of varied cultures
and of widely different upbringings rub shoulders, it is only natural that differences of judgment should arise.   These differences, however, should never lead to doing harm.  However, there is always
room for fraternal correction done in the spirit of humility and truth.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, pray for us,
Aaron Milavec

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

Blog: How my experience of marriage shapes me. . . .

The Changing Experience of Marriage

grandparentsThe traditional marriage of my grandparents had little to do with “falling in love” or with vulnerability.  To begin with, there were distinct spheres of influence and division of labor.  My grandfather knew nothing about cooking, cleaning, or caring for children.  He left these things up to his wife just as his own father had left all these things to his mother.  My grandmother, meanwhile, knew nothing about running a business, making a living, fixing things (plumbing, electricity, automechanics)–she left all these things in the hands of her husband who acted much like his own father before him.  Both of my grandparents came from the same social class (middle-class), the same culture (Slovenian), the same religion (Catholic); hence, when entering into marriage, there were very insignificant disruptions from the habits of thought and practices which both had been used to in their respective homes.

Where there was disruption, the tacit surmise was that the role of the wife was to accommodate to the wishes of her husband.  Thus, when my grandfather (who took pride in making his own wine) insisted that he always serve wine to guests and, when there were no guests, that his wife serve him his wine, my grandmother accommodated.  So, too, when my grandfather made it known that he preferred this perfume, this dress, my grandmother gracefully accommodated just as she had seen her mother do.  In some things, however, my grandmother refused to accommodate.  For example, she always fed her children first (from infancy onward) even if it meant that her husband had to wait for his supper.  At first, there were angry outbursts.  And later my grandfather fumed about this; yet, in the face of his wife’s stubborn insistence that “the children come first,” she finally won the day and got her husband to tolerate her “deviance” from what had been the practice during his own upbringing.

womanwishingwellDivision of labor and mutual need provided much of the bonding within traditional marriages.  My grandfather, for instance, needed to eat.  Since he regarded cooking as a “women’s work” and never took the least interest in watching, much less learning, the rudiments of the art, he was always dependent upon a woman.  First, it was his mother.  Then, it was his wife.  As was the tradition, they postponed their marriage until he could afford to buy a house.  Thus, marriage marked the transition from his mother cooking, cleaning, ironing for him and his wife doing all these very same things.  The same thing could be said for my grandmother.  She regarded learning a trade and making a living as a “man’s work.”  Thus, with her marriage, she moved from being dependent upon the income of her father to becoming dependent upon the income of her husband.

At one point, my grandmother, who was superb at crocheting, was lured into selling some of her doilies to her friends.  My grandfather was furious.  He insisted that she give the money back.  He felt ashamed that his wife was earning income as if to imply that he was not providing for her sufficiently.  My grandmother, who didn’t want to resort to giving her work away, developed the strategy of trading jams and other preserves.  Later, she returned to the practice of accepting money and insisted that her buyers must not breathe a word of it to anybody.  Thus, in a world wherein “the man was king of his castle,” my grandmother had to make do, by giving in on insignificant issues, by mulishly holding her ground on important ones, and by surreptitiously avoiding my grandfather’s supervision in things where he ought not to have been meddling.

My own experience of marriage

How different this was from my own marriage.  From the very beginning, it was clear that I could cook, clean, and iron with pride and proficiency, as well as carry on my professional career.  My wife would work professionally outside our home as well as in our home and she would not be forever dependent upon a weekly allowance that I would give to her out of my paycheck.  Yet, it was evident that we had great need to influence each other, to decide things together, to work cooperatively. Moreover, I was intent upon being in on all the delights and headaches of raising children. I learned from my wife who was extraordinarily adept at relating to our children and I also had ideas and experiences of my own which entered into our long discussions about how to raise our children.

Under my grandparents system, mutual need and spheres of influence provided the effective glue for marriage. For my wife and I, we entered into marriage when we had discovered we were soul-mates.  Sympathetic listening with the intent of entering into each other’s heart and soul was the primary model for marriage.  It is for this reason that the mutual surrender, the falling in love, the mutual influencing is the sine qua none for entering into such a marriage. Hence, romantic attraction ushering into mutual surrender fashioned the glue of our union.  In this, settled instincts were being transformed quietly and quickly under the guise of the mutual love which was binding us. I wanted to see the world through her eyes, to taste it as she tasted it, to touch it as she was touching it. For her it was the same. Once the period of romantic surrender wore off, both of us had arrived at a blending of our souls, our loves, our hates, our instincts, our habits for engaging in the world.

Even a pope is limited by his own experiences

The trouble that I have with Mulieris Dignitatem is that I never catch any real glimpse of how marriages have changed within the short span of three generations.  More often than not, I have had the feeling that John Paul II either had not noticed these changes or, having noticed them, had not considered them worth mentioning.  If this is the case, however, I doubt whether he had understood or taken into account the stuff of my marriage.  For all I know, he may well have been thinking of marriage as he knew it in his formative years in Kraków–a marriage very much like that of my grandparents.  The fact that he assigned the role and vocation of woman as directed towards the “gift of self” and towards motherhood gives the feeling that he was talking about my grandparents generation.  This wisdom would have admirable fit them.

Today, however, I presume that my wife has a calling and a vocation within the public sphere which stands alongside her being wife and mother.  Might this not have a significant bearing upon how John Paul II envisions women’s role relative to the church.  Like in the case of my own father, he might, under restricted circumstances, allow my wife to continue to work outside the home until the birth of her first child.  But this “work” was not a true vocation; “motherhood” was and will always remain her true vocation.  There is little chance, therefore, that someone fashioned within this era would be receptive to women as ordained ministers or high level leaders within the Catholic Church.  The struggle for women in the Church, accordingly, may indeed be much more a question of enculturation rather than an issue of theology.

Conclusions

#1 Our experience of marriage shapes our stubborn habits as to how we think and feel about all aspects of marriage.

#2 As the experience of marriage has changed so too has the expectation that women could be mothers and, at the same time, have careers that enable them to shape society and commerce.

#3  Because the experience of marriage has changed, most men that I taught in my seminary teaching experience thought that sexual intimacy in marriage would not be in any way incompatible with ordained ministry.  Going further, some even thought that sexual intimacy could provide an important spiritual and psychological asset for any man called to the ordained ministry.

#4 What is good for the gander is good for the goose.  Sexual intimacy and motherhood might be entirely compatible with women’s ordination.  Any society which reserves decision making and ordination to just one sex cannot flourish.  The Holy Spirit cannot fly with just one wing.  God is male and female whether we like it or not.

HOW DO YOU WANT TO RESPOND TO THIS?
[Please post your comments below.]

Free eBooks for New Year

Choose one or two eBooks.  If you decide to invite someone to be your “reading partner,” you can send a free copy to them as well. Read to enjoy! Read to learn. Read to share ideas that matter in today’s complex and challenging world.

Get SEVEN ERRORS Kindle Now #1 For fifty years, the vast majority of Roman Catholic priests and theologians have been forced into a reluctant silence when it comes to birth control, celibacy of priests, indulgences, ordination of women, and homosexuality. I myself, while teaching in Roman Catholic seminaries for twenty-five years, was required to keep a guarded silence on all these issues. But this reluctant obedience has not served me nor has it served those whom I helped prepare for lay and ordained ministry. Pope Francis, for his part, has forthrightly warned our bishops against “the temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word . . , within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve” (source). When this happens, “the bread” that Jesus blesses and gives to his disciples is transformed “into a stone” that is either “cast against the sinners” or it is carried by them as an “unbearable burden” (Luke 11:46). By way of atoning for my years of silence, I have prepared this book in order to equip my former students and all those faithful Catholics who are interested in sorting out the wheat from the chaff within current Catholic teaching. What you discover herein will supply you with clear, strong, and compelling case studies that can be used to open up informed and reliable explorations on topics that have largely been obscured by authoritative pronouncements, by shoddy biblical scholarship, and by ignorance of Catholic history. Whether you want to speak to your teenage daughter or to your bishop, these case studies offer talking points that will enable you to make sense out of the faith that is intended to nourish us, to make us free, and to draw us into harmony with the Spirit of Christ.

 

Get Free Kindle Reader = http://www.effortlesscommunication.com/reader.htm

 

Get EVE Kindle Now #2 In the traditional teaching of the churches, Eve gets named as the companion of Adam who coaxes him to sin against God. This fall from grace afflicts the human race until the end of time. Eve is the “tool of the devil” that betrays her husband. The purpose of this book is to enable you to read the hidden clues in the text of Gen 1-3 in order to discover the “original meaning” of the text . In so doing, you will be surprised to discover that the “original meaning” differs strongly from what the churches have been teaching. Examples:

  1. When the text of Gen 2-3 is examined, Eve’s “fall from grace” is never mentioned. On the contrary, the eating of the fruit of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” is associated with wondrous super powers: “their eyes were opened” (Gen 3:5, 7). This is all the more wondrous in so far as these transformations enable Eve and Adam to see things clearly as God sees them. Far from being a “fall,” therefore, Eve’s eating enables her to become “like God” (Gen 3:6, 22).
  2. Classical theology speaks of Eve as being deceived by the devil who was bent upon the destruction of Adam. The “serpent” described in the text is never associated with the “devil” at any point. Rather, you will discover that the “serpent” functions as a spirit-guide within ancient Middle Eastern culture. Far from deceiving Eve, this “serpent” is assuredly a truth-teller: “You will not die [when you eat this fruit]; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:5-6). And, according to the story of Genesis, this is exactly what happens.
  3. Adam, meanwhile, has been telling Eve that God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die” (Gen 3:3). When Eve touches the fruit, however, nothing happens. Adam clearly is mistaken. So, she eats it. And the eating has wondrous effects. Thus, Eve exposes the errors of Adam on both counts. We can even surmise that Eve trusted God to be a gentle and wise parent who would never cultivate a poisonous fruit tree in his garden if he knew that he was endangering the life of his children. Adam, strange to say, never took the time to explore the deep contradictions between what God told him [“you will die”] and what the serpent told Eve [“you will be like God”].
  4. According to the Genesis account, Eve and Adam are expelled from the Garden. According to the prevailing theology of the churches, this expulsion takes place due to God abhorrence of their grave sin [the “original sin”] that God was seemingly unable or unwilling to forgive. The text itself provides quite another explanation: “The LORD God said, ‘See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever,’ therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden” (Gen 3:22-23). In effect, therefore, God has planted not one but two empowering trees: “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” and “the tree of eternal life.” Having been empowered by eating of the former tree, God figures that it would just be a matter of time before his children ate of the latter tree that would seemingly make them “live forever” just as God does.
  5. God intended his children to be mortal. The text specifies this intention clearly, “You are [made out of] dust, and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:19). Hence, contrary to traditional theology, Adam and Eve were never designed for immortality, but their sin caused God to change his mind. The text says that God assigns the immortal “cherubim” the task of “guard[ing] the way to the tree of life” (Gen 3:24). Here again the text indicates clearly that “sin” was not an issue here; rather, protection of the “tree of life” was God’s primary concern.
  6. It is instructive that Eve and Adam and all their children lived nearly a thousand years. If we trust the bible when it teaches us that a long life is a sign of God’s blessing, then we have to conclude that Eve and Adam were wondrously blessed with long lives. God had no cause to curse them, and he was surely not unable or unwilling to forgive his children for some imagined “grave sin.” The pangs of childbearing are cursed and the sweat from tilling the soil is cursed—but God never once curses his children. In fact, just before leaving Eden, God gave both his children a very necessary gift. Maybe you know what that gift might be.
  7. Why do Adam and Eve suddenly become aware that they are naked after eating the prescious fruit of the first tree? Why do they hide from each other and hide from God? The answer to this key question will amaze you. Do you already have a hunch?

My book is an easy read. It demontrates step-by-step how a research theologian like myself works to uncover the “original meaning” of the text of Genesis. Then, as an extra treat, my book goes on to show why and how church teachers of the 2nd century deliberately covered over the image of Eve as the “pioneer of Adam’s salvation” in favor of presenting Eve as the “gateway of the devil bent on corrupting Adam and all his children.”

 

Get KKK Kindle Now #3 Like Kevin Kukla, I am a cradle-Catholic. I grew up in Euclid, Ohio, and my parents made certain that I attended a Catholic grade school and Catholic high school. Then I myself chose to attend a Catholic university and two Catholic graduate schools in theology. I was an altar server for fifty years and gained a robust gratitude for the power of Holy Orders and for the sacramental presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I mastered Theistic theology and then went on to master Neothomism and revisionist theologies that erupted following Vatican II. I trained future Catholic priests and lay ministers in three different seminaries for twenty-five years. I know and I love the Church, warts and all. However, I also learned that our Holy Mother the Church can be calloused and mean-spirited when it came time to consider issues of sexual conduct. Contrary to the orientation of Kevin Kukla, I am persuaded that the Catholic hierarchy has “almost never gotten it right on issues of sexual ethics.” For me “to serve the Lord,” therefore, I need to expose and challenge Kevin’s historical ignorance, his defective biblical interpretations, and his philosophical errors. This challenge is not so much for Kevin’s sake but for the sake of honest Catholics everywhere who have needlessly suffered due to the cruel and misguided “pastoral guidance” of “super Catholics” like Kevin Kukla. This book is not just an academic debate. Rather it represents the opportunity to listen to two committed Catholics passionate about living and improving the sexual guidance given by our Holy Mother, the Church.

 

Get TRUE DETECTIVE Kindle Now #4 Meeting real women in your own hometown is haphazard at best. It is also massively time-consuming. Online, women reach out to you every time you open your mailbox. These women can communicate with candor and directness that is nearly impossible in real life situations. But the dark side is also there. Someone can use fake pictures and borrow words of love stolen from others online. One can even receive “faked” Red Cross identity papers and “faked” passports confirming the identity of the sender. So what is one to do? If you don’t play with this fire, you will never get burnt. Nor will you ever enjoy engaging conversations with woman who you’d never meet in your limited social circles. Millions of men and women are linking up every day using the internet. Success stories abound. In a study of marriages celebrated 2005-2012, researchers discovered that a whopping 35% of Americans initially met their love-match online. So what does one do? I advise you: “Go for it! But walk softly and carry this book so that you will spot the frauds and avoid the scams.” With my help, you will not foolishly lose your money and you will not needlessly break your heart. Moreover, you will have the satisfaction of progressively mastering basic skills for uncovering the “truth” and for bringing local law enforcers and the FBI to take action on your behalf (should you need them). Excerpt from Case One: Nurse Juliet Begs to Visit

I felt some bitterness for a few days. I had been “a love-sick dude” who lost his good judgment because of the attractive words in an email. Had I learned a lesson? Yes and no. This was only my first encounter with fraud. I didn’t yet have any way of knowing to what degree dating sites were plagued by deeply entrenched and cleverly disguised systemic fraud. But I was a detective, and I knew “what evil lurks in the hearts of men.”[i] So fasten your seat belts, my dear reader, and get ready for the ride of your life. . . . [i] https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/The_Shadow

PS: I thank Aaron Milavec for allowing me to post my book on his site. ~~Adam Rose

 

Get CHRONICLES PDF Now #5 Finding True Love Online is no easy road to travel.      

I was where you are . . . facing my favorite holiday “alone” for yet another year. In October, I tried a new dating site, MeetMindful.com, and only 3 out of 50 women responded to my welcoming messages. Discouragement set in. But here is the good news: I was to discover that three is all that was needed. The quality of candidates here is outstanding. And my discovery of my beloved Elena (an Italian living in China) as one of these three was so spectacular that I just spent $1207 for a round trip flight ticket, Cincinnati to Shanghai, arriving on 31 Jan 2017. So, for those who are still looking and for those who stopped looking, I’d like to send you a red string wrapped around the eBook that tells about our mutual story on this dating site beginning 01 Nov 2016. It’s a very personal story for both of us. It’s filled with laughter and tears, with awesome pitfalls and moments of unexpected grace. Most of all, it’s the story of hope and of love that you might benefit from at this time of the year. So, for those who are still looking and for those who stopped looking, I’d like to send you a red string wrapped around our true life story. It’s filled with laughter and tears, with awesome pitfalls and moments of unexpected grace. Most of all, it’s the story of hope and of love that you might benefit from at this time of the year.

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Aaron in 2020 Meet the Author

Aaron Milavec began his career as an innovative teacher and software developer. After devoting twenty-five years to the training of future priests and lay ministers, Milavec turned his attention to gender studies and the empowerment of women. For seven years (2007-2014) he collaborated with others in designing and operating Catherine of Siena Virtual College—an international, interactive center for the empowerment of women and men through online learning circles. In his free time, he gravitated towards primitive camping and hiking in the woods. He set up an art studio in his garage and won awards for his ceramic pottery in the Maya tradition. He became an avid participant in the Mankind Project. In his youth, Milavec was fascinated with science. After beginning graduate studies in physics, however, Milavec suffered an unexpected loss of faith in science. At that point, he gravitated toward the philosophy of science and ended up with an abiding passion for religious inquiry and spiritual development. While a Research Fellow at the University of Victoria, he completed an essay, “How Acts of Discovery Transform our Tacit Knowing Powers in both Scientific and Religious Inquiry,” Zygon 42/2 (2006) 465-486. Milavec earned his B.S. in physics from the University of Dayton, his S.T.B. from the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) in 1968 and his Th.D. from the Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley) in 1973. Milavec has published eighteen books, eight chapters in collected works, and sixty journal articles. His most recent book, What Jesus Would Say to Same-Sex Couples (2019) exposes the biblical and theological errors of the anti-gay Gospel found in Roman Catholicism and Evangelical Protestantism. For open discussion on this book, go to http://Jesus4Lesbians.com For additional eBooks, go to https://payhip.com/milavec For support of Pope Francis, go to http://SupportPopeFrancis.com