Dr. Mike Obsatz, Professor Emeritus at Macalester College
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"Soul Sadness" and The Disposable, Peripheral Joseph
As I listen to Christmas songs, I notice one common theme. Mary is a Virgin. Jesus is the Son of Mary and the Son of God. How does Joseph feel about not being Jesus' father? Is he a stepfather?
These days, one would call "The Immaculate Conception" an illegitimate birth. Yet, as Christmas is celebrated, this is seen as a miracle.
A birth that is not the typical birth. God is the father, not a human being, not a man.
None of this makes very much sense to me. Joseph is superfluous in the Christmas story. He is there, but not really necessary. Yet, he takes on the role of father, and also takes care of Mary.
So, is Joseph just a caretaker? What does he really feel about all of this? Do we care what he feels?
If you look at the whole story metaphysically, it doesn't have to make biological or logical sense.
God used Mary to bring Jesus into the world because God needed to experience human suffering and joy, real life. But, Mary is far more important than Joseph. She is seen as Holy while he is pretty much ignored.
How many songs are written about Joseph? Not too many. Joseph's job is to make sure there is a birthing space since there was no room at the inn.
Joseph did what men are traditionally supposed to do --be a sacrifice for the Higher good.
This peripheral idea of manhood is rarely talked about. Men are created to earn a living, put up with bosses, fight wars, and die for their country. And yet, they are seen as having privilege. Where is the logic in that?
I believe the need to be one up, to make a mark, to dominate others comes from a deep abandonment of a man's soul. As he is expected to provide, protect, and procreate, a man's feelings and needs become secondary. And he is taught to not show those feelings, and not talk about them.
So, the whole of Empire Consciousness is a reaction to the peripheralization and disposabilitiy of men. All males experience abandonment of their true selves, losing honest acceptance of their vulnerability.
Vulnerable men probably would have a harder time killing others in wartime, or being ruthless in corporate life. Robert Bly said it many years ago. Men are used for the benefit and gain of others.
How about this? All dysfunction in the world comes from the loss of one's wholeness, authenticity and inner power. When a man gives up his true nature to conform to a role, he spends his life grieving what he has lost. However, he is not really allowed to express his "Soul Sadness."
Violence, greed, hatred, need to control, arrogance, and rage -- all signs of a loss of the depth of one's true soul. Empire Consciousness is a reaction to pain, loss, and abandonment.
So, the story of Christmas is supposed to be about a birth, a change in Consciousness. Empire Consciousness leads to suffering. Oneness Consciousness leads to connection, compassion, empathy and wholeness.
Describing Jesus as King, Lord, and Ruler of All is strange to me. If Jesus represents oneness, love, and acceptance of all, why does he have to being a King, Ruler or Lord. Why can't he just be an ordinary guy who delivered a powerful message about transformation.
We take the ultimate birth of Oneness Consciousness and turn it into Empire language. Empire language leads to Empire thinking and belief. Hierarchy always leads to pain. So, the Good News is perverted back the same old Bad News.
We can't legislate change of consciousness, and it is not about worshipping anyone. It is about living out the message of Oneness, every day in every way. As an Ordinary Joe. Maybe Joseph was just an Ordinary Joe, and that was the true message of Christmas.