why feminine castration is like church on sunday

The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath – Jesus, Rabbi from Nazareth


Is not defending Sunday as a day to meet with God simply re-instituting the temple in that it promises some sort of mystical experience in a specific time and place? The geographical implications also claim that God could then only be experienced in ‘this’ specific context. What we cannot do is assume that our geographic place has no bearing on who we are, what we believe and even why we believe it. Take for instance, that I am a white western male living in a western [privileged] country and these circumstances [no matter how altruistic my theories] will continously be translated through this lens. The best I can do is to be aware of them and fight against them when appropriate.

In the case of church on Sunday, I think this is an important fight, not because the day matters, but because the point behind the words of Jesus. Over time, if adhered to, [especially in a communal setting] can too easily become institutional. Think about this, do you ever feel guilty [or have you ever felt this way] about missing church? This guilt is a western luxury.

We feel guilty not because we are afraid that we might somehow miss out on meeting with the divine, we feel guilty because we have subordinated ourselves to a social rule that has taken the place of God. What has happened is called a fact-value distinction, in the social sciences this is the claim that the objects we place value in can over time become facts even if they are not true. What we have to realise is that what is represented is not what is. Let’s dissect most church settings [I understand for some communities this is in or has already been revised; but let’s be self-critical about our contexts, lest we think we are above all of this].

the ontology of a church scene

When one walks into a church [like the video above] the traditional setup is that the congregation is huddled somewhere around a stage awaiting some transcendent voice to speak the words of the divine [tongue in cheek]. if we unpack the semiotics here, i think what we find might force us to reevaluate the sabbath, and whether it should be holy or not.

[keep in mind that the word holy in the hebrew means: unique/different; if all of our services look the same each week, or even the fact we do them weekly is a habit, like any bad habit, we might need to break it].

the congregation sitting in their chairs/pews is a form of collective intentionality, meaning that everyone is agreeing to this posture. and this posture is one of sitting ‘below’ the speaker.an image of submission or subordination, giving the speaker the power over you, and authority too. [some might claim that submission has to be a heartfelt decision, while i agree in principal, semiotically, this is not the case].

the person speaking center stage is in a position of authority, power and ‘wisdom’ [i understand this depends on historical/geographical context; i am specifically speaking about the western setup]. the collective intentionality also implies that everyone agrees with the setup [even if you dont ‘inside’; the fact that you are present says otherwise].

what we cannot get away from is that these ‘gestures’ and the defense of them is rebuilding the ancient idea of a tribal god rather than a universal one, because if we believe going to church is about meeting god ‘in the service’ or to ‘get more of god’ out of service or fill in the blank – then what we ultimately do is resurrect Jonah and assume god cannot find us in the sea or outside of the city. not to mention we subordinate ourselves to the metaphysics of a day, which is also time and geography, we ultimately claim that we cannot think for ourselves, that we would rather have Sunday think for us. some might claim that they either change the day or the setup is much more postmodern, this does not change the ‘habituality’  that can occur in any setting. if we believe in an end to metaphysics [i.e, categories, classification, transcendence] then this means we must put an end to sunday.

the end of metaphysics or the end of Sunday

because the assumptions that have been solidified are nothing short of  feminine castration. i do not speak of the act of feminine castration, but rather a freudian analysis of it. from a purely freudian perspective what this means is that the feminine who has no penis is attempting to get rid of the penis that is not present. the assumption is that the female should have a penis, that it is somehow lacking something without it. this is the true evil of something like feminine castration; it plays into the social construct of gender control. the hegemony arises out of the assumption that something is there in the first place and/or that it must be removed to bring a necessary distinction. is this not the same perversion behind church on sunday?

that we assume that because a group of people agree to meet in a room and pay a speaker to give a message and have a small concert that god will somehow materialize. aren’t we assuming too much here? aren’t we assuming that god has to arrive [i.e, that god has a penis that is not present] and yet, god doesn’t have to at all. and so when god doesn’t ‘show up’ [as some state] there is a sense of either inadequacy or a claim to the myth of sin in one’s lives. there is a laundry list of reasons that one attempts to make sense of why god doesnt make them have some mystical experience.  in the end this notion ends up being a form of reflexive castration, in that, we end up feeling powerless because we have created a god who is powerless. and the cycle continues. these reasons are another example of what happens when we succumb to a metaphysical trap of relating to god through institutional expression.

a simple offering in removing sunday from our calendars is a retrovisitation to the ancient semitic desert dwellers and the ancient world they inhabited. it was a common belief that god was in the world, all over it. in genesis 18 abraham meets god by a tree, this tree was known in the ancient world as a place where you came to met your god [any god] – trees were a divine space. mountains were the same [is this not where moses meets god and talks about making a promise]. whenever it rained, it was a reminder that heaven and earth were one. and the most radical act was when god became flesh, god with skin; meaning that simply being human is a divine experience/act.

[p.s. maybe for lent, you can give up sundays]






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  • Steve Horwatt

    I agree that God doesn’t live in the church building. On the other hand, many of the people that show up on Sunday aren’t showing up because they think God is there and nowhere else, but because they want to worship God together with other people.

    I believe that God is everywhere. I recognize that a lot of people get hung up on corporate worship as the sole means of accessing God. I don’t agree that accepting those ideas leads immediately and inexorably to “therefore the institutional church and regular corporate worship have NO healthy function.” That seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  • The video was too painful for me to watch all the way through! I feel you made some excellent points. One being that we have limited meeting with God to one day a week while the early church met often and in what seems an entirely different setting than many of our churches. They came to fellowship, break bread and learn together. Healthy churches reflect this model on some level today.

    What is interesting is that Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” Trying to unpack what that means in depth is an interesting study. I hear Jesus saying that Sabbath is about relationship and a break from our everyday routine so we can have time to put our lives into perspective. According to William Herschel, the “Sabbath is a sanctuary in time.” The seventh day was made holy at creation and set aside long before it was given at Sinai. It was distorted into legalism by the Jews, ignored by the Christians (but only after Constantine the early church still kept the seventh day) and mocked by the non-Christians, but all of these are simply the result of misunderstanding God’s original intention for us to take a day off and spend time with Him and our families. If we set aside the obligation and legalism, we can celebrate Sabbath much like we celebrate Thanksgiving. It was to be a holiday to remind us that we are created in the image of God and that our Creator is in charge of eternity.

  • I forgot to finish: Even though I can see what Herschel means, I believe that Peter called us living stones and Paul said our body is the temple of God. So more important than a building on a certain day, we should be sanctuaries full of the Holy Spirit seven days a week.

  • i appreciate the thoughts from both of you. great thoughts. – i think for me, there isn’t a rubric or even a healthy church. i think for me, although community is important, the issue is our over-proximity to the idea of church, not to mention so many use the early church as a model, and as great as they might have been, there context was THEIR context in THEIR time and geo-political state. For me, it rests in something more graphic, and it begins with how we view and define community, but even before this, its how we define ourselves before we join a community, rather than being whole – we are all fragmented (not sinful) but fragmented in the very essence of our beings. and so what this means (via lacanian psychoanalysis; let me know if you want me to expound) that most look to community as bandage to hide their fragmentation and to deny it and call it bad. and so some desire church not because they desire church but because they desire something to fulfil them. for me, i am very much a throw the baby out with the bathwater. because the baby is still a child of the same bathwater. it is still affected by what created it…

  • Jean

    Once a person is born-again, born of water and of the Spirit, and receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, church life will be a great part of their life. As born again believers we are members of the Body of Christ and that body exemplifies Jesus. We come together to worship our King and Master and to hear the message from one of God’s anointed leaders to his peolple to be taught his Word of truth and to meet together to encourage one another in Psalms and spiritual songs. A born again believer is filled with God’s Spirit and the Kingdom of God lives within that believer. That very same power that rose Christ from the dead resides in all Christian believers who are filled with God’s Spirit. No other religion in the world has that same power available to them, because it is only given to those that believe in Jesus Christ as God’s only son who came that we might have life in him and through him. Jesus Christ is God and there is no other like him nor will there ever be.