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A Monthly Digest of Current Research, Emerging Issues, and New Initiatives

Vol. 4, No. 5, May 2008
Luis T. Gutierrez, Editor

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Violence is the main obstacle to human development. There is an intrinsic link between violence and religion, patriarchal gender violence being the most pervasive expression of religious violence. Mitigating violence therefore requires overcoming the patriarchal mindset, especially in religious institutions. The mission of this independent newsletter is to provide a commented digest on current research and emerging issues related to human solidarity, ecological sustainability, and both religious and secular non-violence. The U.N. "Millennium Development Goals" (MDGs) are used as a point of reference.

Theme of the May 2008 Issue

Nuptial Dimension of Sustainable Development


As we all know, the decade 2005-2014 has been designated by the United Nations as the Decade for Education in Sustainable Development. The current series attempts to understand all the "dimensions" of sustainable development. The previous issues this year have been on the religious, spiritual, human, and gender dimensions. The theme this month is the nuptial dimension.

May 15th is the International Day of the Family. It is a recognition that the family, and therefore the gender and nuptial dimensions of human life, are critical for sustainable human development. It may take several issues to consider the gender, nuptial, and family dimensions of sustainable development. Then we'll have a basis for the analysis of economic, social, political, and other dimensions.

The feature article this month is written in the Judeo-Christian tradition and includes a series of reflections on the following topics:

  • The original unity of man & woman - a conjecture on how it was in the very beginning
  • The nuptial covenant of man & woman - on the gift of love and the gift of life
  • Marriage as a vocation that requires commitment - on the meaning of the wedding ritual
  • Mutual submission and self-giving in marriage - on the long and dark night of patriarchy
  • Marriage, the family, and the MDGs - on sustainable families being the foundation of sustainable development
  • Exponential population growth - on chastity, contraception, and freedom of conscience
  • Marriage & human development - on the family as the primary school of human development
  • Continuum of human sexuality - on the common polarities and the continuum of human sexuality
  • Prayer, study, and action for nonviolence and peace - on the linkage between domestic violence and world peace.

These are personal reflections that in no way presume to be normative. Everything is based on the research and personal experience of the editor. There is a saying about "those who seem to be good not being so good and those who seem to be bad not being so bad." There is another saying to the effect that, sometimes, "what is best is the enemy of what is good." Only God can judge, and only God can "write straight with crooked lines." The lines of this newsletter are always crooked, that's for sure. It is the editor's hope and prayer that every reader will find something relevant to his or her situation.

Updates of the SSNV-MDG knowledge taxonomy and links database continue as time permits. Links to marginal research resources are being deleted, and links to "best of the web" resources continue to be collected. This is a never ending task, and the reader is cordially invited to take a look at this resource, grab anything of interest, and download it (free) for your own use (two options: HTML Web Page or EXCEL Spreadsheet with tailorable HTML code). Adding an additional column to link content to same or similar content in languages other than English is under consideration.

The invited paper this month is Images, language, women and patriarchy by Bert Olivier, Professor of Philosophy, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa.


  1. Original Unity of Man & Woman
  2. Nuptial Covenant of Man & Woman
  3. Marriage: Vocation & Commitment
  4. Marriage: Mutual Self-Giving
  5. Marriage, Family, and the MDGs
  6. Marriage & Population Growth
  7. Marriage & Human Development
  8. Continuum of Human Sexuality
  9. Prayer, Study, and Action

Images, language, women and patriarchy,
by Bert Olivier, Professor of Philosophy,
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University,
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

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1. The Original Unity of Man & Woman

May 15th is the International Day of the Family. It is a recognition that the family, and therefore the gender and nuptial dimensions of human life, are critical for sustainable human development. It may take several issues to consider these fundamental dimensions in preparation for the analysis of economic, social, political, and other dimensions.

Gender equality is the primary gateway to sustainable development and, in particular, to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The criticality of the gender dimension was analyzed in last month's issue. Gender equality, however, is not something that happens in a vacuum, but in the solidarity and collaboration between men and women. In the natural order of things, the family is where gender equality starts to happen. If it doesn't happen in the family, it never becomes part of the culture and ethos of human society.

The family has been central to social life in most cultures along the path of human history. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the primacy of the family as a human institution is recognized throughout the Bible, starting with the initial chapters of the book of Genesis. Chapter 1 makes clear that the human being - male and female - is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). That the human being - male or female - was not created alone is further clarified in chapter 2 (Genesis 2:18). But it is not a matter of two human natures. The human being was created - male and female, body and soul - in the unity of a single human nature:

"Corporality and sexuality are not completely identified. In its normal constitution, the human body bears within it the signs of sex and is male or female by its nature. However, the fact that man is a "body" belongs to the structure of the personal subject more deeply than the fact that in his somatic constitution he is also male or female. Therefore, the meaning of "original solitude," which can be referred simply to "man," is substantially prior to the meaning of original unity. The latter is based on masculinity and femininity, as if on two different "incarnations," that is, on two ways of "being a body" of the same human being created "in the image of God."
The Original Unity of Man and Woman
Pope John Paul II, 7 November 1979.

God is a Family, a communion of persons. Like wise, humanity is a family, a communion of persons; and each human family is a communion of persons who share the gift of love and the gift of life: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). Therefore, the family is both necessary and sufficient to build humanity, and it is both necessary and sufficient to build the human habitat (Genesis 1:26-28). Thus the central role of the family in human history.

2. The Nuptial Covenant of Man & Woman

The original unity of man and woman was somehow broken, causing the inception of patriarchy: "Then he said to the woman, 'I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.'" (Genesis 3:16, NLT). It doesn't make any difference whether male-female relations were corrupted by sharing an apple, or by some desire for domination by either or both sides, or by some other process now lost in human prehistory. The fact is that patriarchy emerged as the normative model for the family about 10000 years ago, and we are still suffering the nefarious consequences on both men and women. For it is not only the women who are harmed by gender inequalities; the men are also harmed, albeit in different ways.

This calamity, however, did not destroy the nuptial meaning of the body, operative "since the beginning" (Matthew 19:4-6). The nuptial unity of man and woman remains both necessary and sufficient to share, no matter how imperfectly, the gift of love and the gift of life. It remains both necessary and sufficient to build humanity and to build the human habitat. Generally speaking, the nuptial covenant is meant to be a permanent, and to remain so no matter what, as bridegroom and bride promise each other at their wedding:

The bridegroom takes the bride's right hand in his, and says:

"I, N , take you, N ,
to be my wife,
to have and to hold
from this day forward;
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
till death us do part,
according to God's holy law.
In God's presence I make this vow."

The bride takes the bridegroom's right hand in hers, and says:

"I, N , take you, N ,
to be my husband,
to have and to hold
from this day forward;
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
till death us do part,
according to God's holy law.
In God's presence I make this vow."

Table 1 - Example of Wedding Vows
Biblical reference: "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.", Ephesians 5:21
Source: The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England, 2000-2006

This ritual imparts deep and lasting meaning to what the bride and the bridegroom are doing. But the power of the ritual as symbol of a new but indissoluble unity is greatly diminished if by "covenant" is meant simply an agreement that should last only until either husband or wife, or both, decide that they are not "happy." Then the covenant becomes like a contract that can be renegotiated when things become uncomfortable. This kind of "marriage covenant" may sound convenient and progressive, but it is hard to imagine unsustainable marriages contributing much to sustainable development.

3. Marriage: Vocation & Commitment

A sustainable marriage is not a temporary contract. Marriage is a vocation. For the religious person, a vocation is a divine calling to a given state of life. Marriage may not be perceived as a divine calling by the non-religious person, but it is (or should be) a free choice that seals the person's life for good. And there is a mission associated with any authentic vocation. Therefore, the person's responsiveness to a vocation requires adequate preparation

The preparation for married life starts early. Infants get their preparation started by noticing the daily behavior of their parents toward each other and toward their children and other members of the family. It continues through childhood by an increasing understanding of why father and mother behave the way they do: how do they behave when they are happy, how do they behave when they are sad or angry, how do they behave when they become richer (or poorer), how do they behave when they are healthy, how do they behave when the health of either one or both of them deteriorates, how do they behave as they get older.

Nothing human is 100% good (or 100% bad). It follows that all parents are going to make some mistakes along the way. How do they behave in recovering from those mistakes? Perhaps this is the most important element in the education of children until Genesis 2:24 happens for them. Not that going to school is not important, but the most important kind of education is the one received - by osmosis - at home. This is the challenge, and the splendid mission for those called to a marriage vocation: to bestow the gift of love and to bestow the gift of life. What about the many married couples that cannot have children? There are many ways to bring love and life to the world. Adoption is certainly an excellent option.

It takes commitment for a marriage to be sustainable. The spouses must follow "the straight and narrow path". Given the precariousness of human hearts and minds, it may not be possible for either or both spouses to keep going together. Marriages that end in divorce are generally painful for both spouses, and they are often traumatic for the children. The increasing divorce rate in many parts of the world is certainly an obstacle to sustainable development. An even greater obstacle is the now common practice of youngsters to start living together without going through the ritual of permanent and indissoluble commitment. And even worst is the sexual promiscuity that has invaded modern society worldwide. How can men and women contribute to sustainable development, when they cannot sustain their commitment to each other?

For sustainable development, having sustainable families is more important than billions of dollars in investment. It is more important that having access to the latest ICT and other technologies. It is more important than dealing with corruption in governments and other institutions. And it is more important than legions of experts discussing how to carry sustainable development forward. Financial funds come and go, technologies come and go, corrupt governments come and go, and most experts come and go; the backbone of sustainable development is provided by sustainable families.

The sustainable extended family is another positive influence. Grandparents may be a pain for the parents, but they are most often a blessing for the children. The wisdom of old people is generally for the good and well-being of the family. To imprison this wisdom in a nursing home may be the only practical option in some cases, but it is a great loss. These are matter of common sense which is, as we all know, "the least common of the senses." But experience confirms that sustainability is seldom possible when the fabric of society lacks the ability to take a long view of time; surely, it must be longer than one generation at a time.

In brief, the mission of married couples is to bestow both the gift of love and the gift of life; and to do it in a sustainable way, keeping in mind the needs of the entire family, and especially the needs of the children, grandchildren, and future generations. If this solid foundation is compromised by other arrangement pursuant to instant gratification or anything else, sustainability is not feasible.

4. Marriage: Mutual Submission & Self-Giving

In order to share the gift of love and the gift of life, marriage requires mutual self-giving and mutual submission. This is made clear in Ephesians 5:21-33, which is often misinterpreted as a patriarchal model for a married couple. Actually, this passage is an allegory of the nuptial relationship between Christ and the Christian church, which is a mystery of mutual self-giving and mutual submission. This allegory by no means exhausts the Christ-Church mystery and is not meant to be normative when it comes to daily relations between husband and wife. The allegory is a beautiful insight on the nuptial economy of the body of Christ, but the patriarchal model is no longer useful, just as the master-slave model is no longer relevant.

In fact, the patriarchal model is becoming useless for both the institutional Christian church and the "domestic Christian church." It is also becoming harmful for both. We are hopefully at the end of the long (2000 years) and dark night of Christian patriarchy. Even as Christ is still often used as scapegoat in order to perpetuate patriarchy in the Christian church and Christian families, let us pray and work for the peaceful passing of patriarchy, in the Christian world and elsewhere. As in all transitions, there will be tensions and misunderstandings. This is an issue that is coming to a head today, but it has been brewing for a long time. The following analysis is based on queries to retrieve biblical passages that include certain keywords, such as male and female. Then the passages are analyzed to determine if the keywords are used in a patriarchal context. The following table summarizes the queries used and the results for each query.

QUERY: man woman
Genesis 2:22
Genesis 2:23
Genesis 3:1
Genesis 3:12
Exodus 2:1
Exodus 21:4
Exodus 21:28
Exodus 21:29
Exodus 36:6
Leviticus 13:29
Leviticus 13:38
Leviticus 15:18
Leviticus 15:33
Leviticus 18:22
Leviticus 19:20
Leviticus 20:11
Leviticus 20:13
Leviticus 20:14
Leviticus 20:18
Leviticus 20:27
Numbers 5:6
Numbers 5:19
Numbers 6:2
Numbers 25:6
Numbers 31:17
Deuteronomy 4:16
Deuteronomy 15:12
Deuteronomy 17:2
Deuteronomy 17:5
Deuteronomy 22:5
Deuteronomy 22:22
Deuteronomy 23:17
Deuteronomy 24:1
Deuteronomy 29:18
Judges 13:6
Judges 13:10
Ruth 3:8
1 Samuel 27:9
1 Samuel 27:11
2 Samuel 20:21
1 Kings 17:24
2 Kings 8:2
1 Chronicles 16:3
2 Chronicles 15:13
2 Chronicles 36:17
Esther 4:11
Job 14:1
Job 15:14
Job 25:4
Ecclesiastes 7:26
Ecclesiastes 7:28
Jeremiah 30:6
Jeremiah 31:22
Jeremiah 48:19
Jeremiah 51:22
Mark 14:3
Luke 7:39
Luke 16:18
John 4:42
1 Corinthians 7:2
1 Corinthians 7:15
1 Corinthians 11:3
1 Corinthians 11:7
1 Corinthians 11:8
1 Corinthians 11:9
1 Corinthians 11:11
1 Corinthians 11:12
1 Timothy 2:12

QUERY: male female
Genesis 1:27
Genesis 5:2
Genesis 6:19
Genesis 7:3
Genesis 7:9
Genesis 7:16
Genesis 12:16
Genesis 20:14
Genesis 30:35
Genesis 32:14
Genesis 32:15
Exodus 21:20
Exodus 21:32
Leviticus 3:1
Leviticus 3:6
Leviticus 25:44
Leviticus 27:5
Leviticus 27:6
Leviticus 27:7
Numbers 5:3
Deuteronomy 23:18
Deuteronomy 28:68
Esther 7:4
Ecclesiastes 2:7
Jeremiah 34:9
Jeremiah 34:10
Jeremiah 34:16
Matthew 19:4
Mark 10:6
Galatians 3:28


QUERY: husband wife
Genesis 16:3
Numbers 5:14
Deuteronomy 21:13
Deuteronomy 25:11
Judges 14:15
1 Samuel 4:19
2 Samuel 11:26
2 Kings 4:1
Jeremiah 6:11
Ezekiel 16:32
Hosea 2:2
Matthew 19:10
1 Corinthians 7:2
1 Corinthians 7:3
1 Corinthians 7:4
1 Corinthians 7:10
1 Corinthians 7:11
1 Corinthians 7:14
1 Corinthians 7:16
Ephesians 5:23
Ephesians 5:33
1 Timothy 3:2
1 Timothy 3:12
Titus 1:6

QUERY: marriage
Genesis 29:26
Exodus 2:21
Leviticus 21:4
Deuteronomy 22:13
Deuteronomy 22:16
Deuteronomy 23:2
Joshua 15:16
Joshua 15:17
Judges 1:12
Judges 1:13
Judges 3:6
Judges 12:9
Judges 14:1
Judges 21:1
Judges 21:7
1 Samuel 17:25
1 Samuel 18:17
1 Samuel 18:19
1 Samuel 18:27
1 Kings 2:21
1 Kings 11:19
2 Kings 8:27
2 Kings 14:9
1 Chronicles 2:35
1 Chronicles 5:1
2 Chronicles 18:1
2 Chronicles 25:18
Ezra 9:12
Nehemiah 10:30
Nehemiah 13:25
Jeremiah 29:6
Daniel 11:17
Malachi 2:14
Matthew 19:12
Matthew 22:23
Matthew 22:30
Matthew 24:38
Mark 12:18
Mark 12:25
Luke 2:36
Luke 17:27
Luke 20:27
Luke 20:34
Luke 20:35
Romans 7:1
Romans 7:2
1 Corinthians 7:1
Hebrews 13:4

QUERY: father mother
Genesis 2:24
Genesis 20:12
Genesis 27:14
Genesis 28:7
Genesis 37:10
Exodus 20:12
Exodus 21:15
Exodus 21:17
Leviticus 18:7
Leviticus 19:3
Leviticus 20:9
Leviticus 20:17
Leviticus 20:19
Leviticus 21:2
Leviticus 21:11
Leviticus 24:10
Numbers 6:7
Deuteronomy 5:16
Deuteronomy 21:13
Deuteronomy 21:18
Deuteronomy 21:19
Deuteronomy 22:15
Deuteronomy 27:16
Deuteronomy 27:22
Deuteronomy 33:9
Joshua 2:13
Joshua 2:18
Joshua 6:23
Judges 11:1
Judges 14:2
Judges 14:3
Judges 14:5
Judges 14:6
Judges 14:16
Ruth 2:11
1 Samuel 22:3
2 Samuel 19:37
1 Kings 7:14
1 Kings 19:20
1 Kings 22:52
2 Kings 3:2
2 Kings 3:13
2 Kings 4:19
1 Chronicles 2:17
1 Chronicles 2:46
2 Chronicles 2:14
Esther 2:7
Job 17:14
Psalm 27:10
Proverbs 10:1
Proverbs 15:20
Proverbs 19:26
Proverbs 20:20
Proverbs 23:22
Proverbs 23:25
Proverbs 28:24
Proverbs 30:17
Isaiah 8:4
Isaiah 45:10
Jeremiah 16:7
Ezekiel 16:3
Ezekiel 16:45
Ezekiel 22:7
Ezekiel 44:25
Micah 7:6
Zechariah 13:3
Matthew 1:3
Matthew 1:5
Matthew 1:6
Matthew 10:35
Matthew 10:37
Matthew 12:50
Matthew 15:4
Matthew 15:5
Matthew 19:5
Matthew 19:19
Matthew 19:29
Mark 5:40
Mark 7:10
Mark 7:11
Mark 7:12
Mark 10:7
Mark 10:19
Mark 10:29
Luke 2:33
Luke 2:48
Luke 8:51
Luke 12:53
Luke 14:26
Luke 18:20
John 6:42
Acts 16:1
Ephesians 5:31
Ephesians 6:2
Hebrews 7:3

QUERY: son daugther
Genesis 11:31
Genesis 19:37
Genesis 19:38
Genesis 24:15
Genesis 24:24
Genesis 24:47
Genesis 28:9
Genesis 34:8
Genesis 36:39
Genesis 38:11
Exodus 2:10
Exodus 20:10
Exodus 21:9
Exodus 21:31
Leviticus 12:6
Leviticus 21:2
Leviticus 24:11
Numbers 27:8
Deuteronomy 5:14
Deuteronomy 13:6
Deuteronomy 18:10
Deuteronomy 28:56
Joshua 15:17
Judges 1:13
Judges 11:34
1 Samuel 14:50
1 Samuel 18:27
1 Samuel 25:44
2 Samuel 3:3
2 Samuel 17:25
2 Samuel 21:8
1 Kings 16:31
2 Kings 11:2
2 Kings 14:9
2 Kings 23:10
1 Chronicles 3:2
2 Chronicles 11:18
2 Chronicles 22:11
2 Chronicles 25:18
Nehemiah 6:18
Ezekiel 14:20
Ezekiel 44:25
Hosea 1:3
Micah 7:6
Matthew 10:37
Matthew 15:22
Luke 12:53
Acts 7:21
Hebrews 11:24

QUERY: brother sister
Genesis 20:5
Numbers 6:7
2 Samuel 13:4
2 Samuel 13:20
2 Samuel 13:32
Jeremiah 22:18
Ezekiel 44:25
Matthew 12:50
Mark 3:35
James 2:15


QUERY: "one flesh"
Genesis 2:24
Genesis 3:16
Matthew 19:5
Mark 10:8
1 Corinthians 6:16
Ephesians 5:21
Ephesians 5:31


QUERY: he she
Genesis 12:15
Genesis 16:3
Genesis 20:2
Genesis 24:20
Genesis 24:21
Genesis 24:30
Genesis 24:59
Genesis 24:67
Genesis 29:20
Genesis 29:23
Genesis 29:24
Genesis 29:29
Genesis 31:19
Genesis 34:3
Genesis 34:8
Genesis 35:18
Genesis 38:6
Genesis 38:11
Genesis 38:14
Genesis 38:16
Genesis 38:20
Genesis 39:12
Genesis 39:13
Genesis 39:16
Exodus 18:2
Exodus 21:4
Exodus 21:9
Exodus 22:16
Leviticus 15:21
Numbers 5:14
Numbers 5:15
Numbers 5:30
Numbers 22:23
Numbers 22:27
Numbers 36:8
Deuteronomy 22:19
Deuteronomy 24:1
Deuteronomy 24:3
Deuteronomy 25:5
Deuteronomy 25:8
Deuteronomy 25:11
Judges 4:22
Judges 5:26
Judges 11:34
Judges 11:35
Judges 13:6
Judges 14:2
Judges 14:3
Judges 15:1
Judges 15:6
Judges 16:5
Judges 16:19
Judges 19:3
Judges 19:25
Judges 19:27
Judges 19:28
Judges 21:23
Ruth 1:6
Ruth 2:15
Ruth 2:20
Ruth 2:22
Ruth 4:13
1 Samuel 1:4
1 Samuel 1:11
1 Samuel 1:19
1 Samuel 1:23
1 Samuel 2:19
1 Samuel 4:19
1 Samuel 25:3
1 Samuel 25:20
1 Samuel 25:39
1 Samuel 25:42
1 Samuel 28:7
2 Samuel 11:27
2 Samuel 12:24
2 Samuel 13:2
2 Samuel 13:8
2 Samuel 13:10
2 Samuel 13:17
2 Samuel 13:18
2 Samuel 17:8
2 Samuel 20:22
1 Kings 2:19
1 Kings 3:1
1 Kings 10:13
1 Kings 15:13
1 Kings 17:19
2 Kings 4:12
2 Kings 4:20
2 Kings 4:25
2 Kings 4:27
2 Kings 4:37
2 Kings 5:3
1 Chronicles 2:18
2 Chronicles 15:16
2 Chronicles 23:13
Esther 2:7
Esther 2:9
Esther 2:15
Esther 2:17
Esther 4:4
Esther 5:1
Esther 5:2
Psalm 123:2
Proverbs 12:4
Proverbs 17:12
Proverbs 31:23
Isaiah 14:32
Isaiah 23:11
Isaiah 26:21
Isaiah 27:8
Isaiah 34:16
Isaiah 53:7
Isaiah 61:10
Jeremiah 2:3
Jeremiah 3:1
Jeremiah 6:3
Jeremiah 30:18
Jeremiah 51:3
Jeremiah 51:9
Lamentations 1:17
Lamentations 2:2
Lamentations 2:6
Lamentations 2:7
Lamentations 4:11
Ezekiel 18:6
Daniel 11:6
Daniel 11:7
Hosea 3:1
Joel 2:16
Amos 1:15
Micah 7:6
Zephaniah 3:5
Matthew 5:28
Matthew 5:31
Matthew 5:32
Matthew 10:35
Matthew 14:9
Matthew 14:11
Matthew 15:23
Matthew 19:7
Mark 5:33
Mark 6:26
Mark 6:28
Mark 10:11
Luke 2:51
Luke 7:12
Luke 7:13
Luke 7:38
Luke 8:43
Luke 8:44
Luke 10:38
Luke 13:13
John 4:27
John 8:7
John 11:27
John 12:3
John 19:27
Acts 5:10
Acts 9:40
Acts 12:15
1 Corinthians 7:2
1 Corinthians 7:3
1 Corinthians 7:4
1 Corinthians 7:11
1 Corinthians 7:14
1 Corinthians 7:34
Ephesians 5:33
Revelation 12:4
Revelation 12:5
Revelation 12:15
Revelation 16:19
Revelation 19:2


Table 2 - Biblical Verses with Masculine & Feminine Terms
The patriarchal emphasis generally decreases along the path from
Genesis to Revelation, and especially so in the Gospels.

Note: The biblical texts are from the New International Version (NIV), and the BibleGateway search engine was used to run the queries. The option "match exact phrase" was used for the "one flesh" query. The search options "match all words" and "match whole words only" were used for all the other queries.

It is fascinating to find that rigid adherence to patriarchy (often correlated with violence) gradually diminishes as the biblical texts unfold from Genesis to Revelation and, in particular, from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Consider the following examples:

  • [QUERY: man woman] Compare Deuteronomy 5:21 (women are considered as property) and Mark 14:3-9 (a woman anoints Jesus)
  • [QUERY: male female] Compare Genesis 5 (only male names are mentioned) and Galatians 3:28 (there is neither male or female)
  • [QUERY: husband wife] Compare Genesis 16:3 (polygamy) and Matthew 19:3-9 (monogamy, marriage is sacred)
  • [QUERY: marriage] Compare Judges 1:12, 3:6 (marriage marketing) and Hebrews 13:4 (honor marriage vows, adultery is immoral)
  • [QUERY: father mother] Compare Esther 2:1-17 (harem, women are invisible) and Matthew 1:1-16 (genealogy, women becoming visible)
  • [QUERY: son daughter] Compare Numbers 27:8 (the son is first) and Matthew 10:37 (the Lord is first)
  • [QUERY: brother sister] Compare 2 Samuel 13:14 (Tamar is raped by her half-brother) and James 2:15 (concern for bothers and sisters)
  • [QUERY: "one flesh"] Compare Genesis 3:16 (male domination) and Ephesians 5:21 (mutual submission)
  • [QUERY: he she] Compare Genesis 34:1-4 (Dinah's fate dictated by males) and John 11:27 (Martha's profession of faith)

It is a long way from Genesis to Revelation, and there are peaks and valleys along the way. But the general trend is from more patriarchal to less patriarchal. This analysis is consistent with René Girard's finding of a general biblical trend from more violence at the beginning of the Bible to less violence toward the end, and practically no violence in the Gospels. This is just a first pass using the Bible. It would be interesting to replicate this kind of analysis with the Koran and other religious texts. If there is a Muslim subscriber willing to help, please contact the editor.

5. Marriage, the Family, and the MDGs

This section is an attempt to reconsider marriage and human sexual behavior in the context of the MDGs. The critical issue of excessive population growth will be considered in the next section. But the MDG literature and practices convey widespread confusion as to what practices work well for families to be sustainable and capable of contributing to sustainable development. The eight MDGs are:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development
The following is a personal reflection on the role of marriage and the family in the context of the MDGs:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Extreme poverty and hunger is not due to people having too many children. It is precisely the opposite: too many pregnancies is the consequence of people not having much else to do when living in a "poverty trap." Giving them condoms and access to contraceptives and abortifacients, and providing resources for abortions, may contribute to additional sexual promiscuity and the disintegration of family life; but it doesn't get them out of the poverty trap. The hard fact of life is that animals behaving as animals do not exonerate humans from behaving as humans. Sexual promiscuity makes people less human whether they are rich or poor. But, in particular, overcoming extreme poverty and hunger requires people to become more human, not less.

2. Achieve universal primary education

Sending children (both boys and girls) to primary and secondary school should be mandated by law, and such laws should be enforced - with velvet gloves and iron hands - even when educational resources are minimal. Having school buildings is nice, but is neither necessary nor sufficient to enable parents to send children to school. As long as there is a person who is willing to teach, children can start learning by getting together with the teacher under a tree. Literacy is important, but even more important is teaching with images (see the invited paper). People can offer their homes (no matter how humble) as a meeting place for daily school. Any government facility should be made available as a meeting place for schooling children. The same applies to religious facilities, and there are plenty of those that are empty most of the time. The basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Ivory Coast is bigger than the St. Peter's basilica at the Vatican.

3. Promote gender equality and empower women

Overcoming patriarchy is the challenge of the 3rd millennium. This will be a gradual process, like the abolition of slavery is a gradual process (there are still cases of slavery today, such as child labor and sex trafficking) but will be even more significant as a turning point for human history. It does not follow, however, that women should engage in a violent confrontation with men, or become as promiscuous as men have always been, or just do whatever they want as men often have done. The dignity and emancipation of women is not well served by cross-gender competition but by cross-gender solidarity. Young men and women need to understand that gender equality and gender balance will become sustainable only if it is based on self-discipline, mutual respect, and collaborative work. This includes abstaining from sexual relations until they are married and avoiding adultery after they are married. Sustainable development is enhanced by chastity outside of marriage (not by "desperate housewives"). It is also enhanced by chastity before marriage (not by "desperate youngsters").

4. Reduce child mortality

Much good can be done by food and health assistance programs that reach children (and their mothers) suffering from malnutrition and and illness. This is fine for emergency situations. Even with competition to produce ethanol, plenty of food is available. Delivering the food to those who are hungry is another matter. But the sustainable reduction of child mortality is contingent on stable marriages and sustainable families, no matter how poor they might be.

5. Improve maternal health

Much good can be done by medical and sanitation assistance programs that reach children (and their mothers) suffering from lack of clean water and other basic necessities. Again, this is fine for emergency situations. There are many resources that are wasted in the developed nations and could be delivered to those in need. But the sustainable improvement in maternal health is contingent on stable marriages and sustainable families, no matter how poor they might be.

6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases

Much good can be done by medical assistance programs that reach HIV+ men, women, and children. Again, this is fine for emergency situations, even if they are long-term. Better medications are becoming available to help people with AIDS, but they seldom reach the poor regions of the world. Needless to say, the HIV/AIDS epidemic is exacerbated by promiscuous sexual behavior. But the sustainable improvement in health conditions is contingent on stable marriages and sustainable families, no matter how poor they might be.

7. Ensure environmental sustainability

Families tend to make decisions together. Isolated individuals may have a hard time adopting simpler lifestyles. Those who do it are very few, and those who sustain it are even fewer. Families (and, in particular, extended families) also have a hard time adopting more frugal lifestyles, but they can do it by sharing resources, and reducing waste, without compromising the health of family members. But to ensure environmental sustainability is something that governments, corporations, and other large institutions will have to do. Some form of global governance may eventually be required. As Vandana Shiva has stated, "resources tend to flow from poor nations to rich nations, and pollution tends to flow from rich nations to poor nations." Families can help, but this one requires concerted action of the entire human family.

8. Develop a global partnership for development

This one also requires concerted actions by the entire human family. Global sustainability requires global human solidarity. This is turn requires a radical renunciation (by all nations) of violence and war to resolve conflicts. Such renunciation will never be 100% perfect and sustainable, so the United Nations may require a permanent peace keeping force with adequate troops and resources that will be provided by the member nations but will answer to the UN secretary general under mandates issue by the UN security council - with no nation having veto power. Large religious institutions with worldwide adherents should invest moral capital in creating such a global partnership for development. Most of them are failing miserably, but a sign of hope is the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) to be held in Kingston, Jamaica, May 2011 (for more information see section 9).

It is recognized that some of the above remarks on linking marriage and the family with the MDGs may be controversial. The transition from unsustainability to sustainability may never have a clear roadmap. There are just too many factors, too many vested interests, too many cultures, too many issues. This may be a good time to recall Lindblom's Science of Muddling Through. There will be plenty of muddling through, no question about it. But some signposts of the kind being proposed may be required to avoid drowning in the mud.

6. Marriage & Population Growth

Let's consider the following basic facts of marriage and procreation:

  • Exponential population growth is unsustainable
  • The number of pregnancies in proportional to the depth of poverty
  • The number of pregnancies in proportional to the rigidity of patriarchy
  • The number of pregnancies in inversely proportional to the level of education
  • The number of pregnancies in inversely proportional to the standard of living
  • It is well known that human behave as animals under the weight of misery
  • It is also well known that "the bed is the only consolation of the poor"

These facts are readily observable in many concrete situations:

  • The poverty trap that afflicts the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • The incredible situation of gender violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Other similar situations in the Third World (Asia, Latin America)

Consider the following propositions:

  • There is no financial fix to the problem of excessive population growth
  • There is no technological fix to the problem of excessive population growth
  • Moralizing pontifications are not the solution to unsustainable population growth
  • In fact, religious institutions do much good and could do even more, but they are losing credibility and the ability to do the good they can do
    • The ubiquity of sexual abuse within the churches (we have seen only the tip of the iceberg)
    • The ubiquity of cover up of such abuses by religious authorities
    • Authoritarian statements such as Humanae vitae (1968) and Evangelium vitae (1995), forbidding contraception, abortion, suicide, and euthanasia
    • Authoritarian statements such as Ordinatio sacerdotalis (1994), perpetuating many kinds of vocational contraception and abortion, in particular the exclusion of women from roles of religious authority

  • The real solution is to keep working for the MDGs, with the following additional support:
    • Sex education based on evidence rather than authoritarian moral pontifications
    • Family planning based on evidence rather than authoritarian moral pontifications
    • Growth in education for global citizenship and human solidarity (K to K16)
    • Growth in education for ecological sustainability (K to K16)
    • Growth in religious tolerance and freedom of conscience (K to K16)
    • Growth in wisdom-based human development (becoming what we are - K16+)
    • Moderation in material growth and extravagant consumption
    • A radical renunciation of violence to resolve conflicts at all levels
    • Removal of financial subsidies to uncooperative institutions
    • Maximum feasible taxation of uncooperative institutions

Religious institutions may have the dubious honor of being the greatest barrier to population stabilization. Consider the following examples:


At a time when vocations to full time Christian ministry are declining (to the point of many churches being closed due to lack of clergy) it is also strange that some religious authorities cling to the theologically baseless practice of excluding women from the clergy:

Cartoon 1 - Papal Apology
By Kirk Anderson, The Cartoons of Kirk Anderson.
Originally published in ZNet Magazine, 14 March 2000

Many readers may have watched on TV the public liturgies of Pope Benedict during his recent visit to the USA. What kind of message are these phallocentric liturgical spectacles sending to 1+ billion Roman Catholics worldwide? Undoubtedly, the message is that religious patriarchy is alive and well, which is not true. Is it supportive of gender equality? No. Is it supportive of gender balance to reinforce the nuptial dimension of sustainable development? No. Is it supportive of MDG3? No, absolutely not. But it does support the perpetuation of the patriarchal mentality, the misconception of a male-only God, and the absurdity of limiting the human nature of Jesus to be male, and only male.

Going back to the book of Genesis and the teaching of Jesus: God is a Family, humanity is a family, and the Christian church is a family. Today more than ever, it is not good for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:23) at the altar of Christian churches. In some churches, man is still alone when presiding in worship because women are systematically excluded from roles of religious authority. Indeed, it is a systematic use of gender-biased vocational contraception, if not gender-biased vocational abortion: "A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly" Canon 1024, RCC. The fundamentalist absurdity of the arguments adduced to support canon 1024 in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis, are the best evidence that canon 1024 is a law made by human hands and is, without the slightest shadow of a doubt, utterly irrational.


Also at a time when population is growing fastest where they can least afford it, it is strange that the same religious authorities keep preaching abstinence, and declaring that the use of contraceptives is morally wrong, and choose to ignore the well known fact that "the bed is the only consolation of the poor,"

Cartoon 2 - Pope Benedict in New York City
By Ann Telnaes, Ann Telnaes Editorial Cartoonist
Originally published in Women's eNews, 15 April 2008

Many Roman Catholic couples simply ignore the marital "inspirations" of the Vatican, and plan their families according to their conscience. This is especially the case in countries where both men and women are well educated, have a decent standard of living, and have already accepted (at least in principle) the concept of gender equality. It is precisely in countries where many people are poor and illiterate, and the patriarchal mentality prevails, that women get pregnant more often (they have to "obey their husbands" and make them happy, or else) and there are more children than the parents can send to school or even feed and otherwise take care of them during infancy. And most of these "inspiring" mothers have no husbands, because many pregnancies are the result of casual sex or rape.

These examples show why many religious institutions fail to contribute to human well-being here and now. Some churches systematically practice vocational contraception and abortion, but condemn those who make responsible family planning decisions. Many churches are careful to keep building their material wealth (especially in real state) and protecting the absolute power of their ecclesiastical hierarchies. But when was the last time you heard your priest or minister preach about social justice? And when was the last time you heard your priest or minister preach about taking good care of the human habitat? The ecological footprint of most religious institutions is as big as that of the communities they serve, if not bigger; financial subsidies are not conducive to frugality.

In brief, only God can judge, but something smells fishy when it comes to the promotion of gender balance in some religious institutions. Let us appeal to those religious institutions to clean up their act, keeping what is good and discarding what is bad (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22). The real solution to over-population is already encapsulated in the MDGs, but additional effort is needed in sex education and human development, a redefinition of standard of living as better rather than more, and the responsible use - free from religious fear - of personal conscience leading to an ethos of human solidarity.

7. Marriage & Human Development

The nuptial gifts - the gift of love and the gift of life - become really meaningful when they are manifested as continuous human development from conception to natural death. Being pro-life is not about bringing babies into the world and then neglecting their full development as human beings. Being pro-life is about responsible parenthood and enabling children to grow physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually; and being pro-life is about making this process sustainable throughout life.

There are many phases of human development, such as:

  • Neo-natal care while the baby is still in the mother's womb
  • Physical, emotional, and intellectual (mind stimulation) care of infants
  • Physical, emotional, and intellectual care throughout childhood and adolescence
    • During adolescence, sexual education is critical
  • Physical, emotional, and intellectual care of young adults
    • During this phase, vocational guidance (without arbitrary gender barriers) is critical
    • Learning to behave ethically is another critical need during this phase
  • Preparation for marriage and married life
  • Preparation for responsible parenthood
  • Human development in preparation for crises
  • Human development in preparation for illness
  • Human development in preparation for old age
  • Human development in the extended family
  • Fostering a mindset of solidarity (seeking a balance between self-interest and the common good)
  • Fostering a mindset of sustainability (taking into account the needs of future generations)
  • Fostering a mindset of nonviolence (radical renunciation of violence, especially domestic violence)
  • Fostering an appreciation for wisdom
  • Fostering awareness of the symbiosis between humans and the human habitat

Material resources have limits, but the resources of human hearts and minds are unlimited. In particular, as Donella Meadows pointed out, "there are no limits to wisdom." It cannot be overemphasized that human development happens in the family and is sustained in the family from generation to generation. Human development is not primarily a matter of economics, technology, or any other resource made by human hands. Fundamentally, human development is a nuptial gift.

8. The Continuum of Human Sexuality

The time has come for lesbian-bisexual-transgender-gay (LBTG) people to be accepted without discrimination in both secular and religious institutions. Even though the etiology of LBTG sexual propensities is not well understood, the objective reality is that they exist, have always existed, and will always exist. They share the same human nature as heterosexual people, but the anima seems to be stronger than usual in gay men, and the animus stronger than usual in lesbian women. It may be that there is a continuum between the male and female polarities. Some biblical passages reflect primitive thinking about LBTG people, and should not be interpreted in a literalist manner.

In terms of the nuptial dimension of sustainable development, LBTG people can contribute as much as anyone else. Their way of sharing the gift of love must be fully respected and never seen as a moral aberration. With regard to sharing the gift of life, it is wise to recall that heterosexual copies that cannot have children still can make significant contributions to life by adopting orphan children and in other ways. Sufficient data is not yet available for evaluating the effect that adoption by LBTG couples might have on children. But there are plenty of children in the world who might escape misery and hunger if adopted by responsible LBTG couples.

It has been said that "just as love means never having to say you are sorry, wisdom means not speaking when you have nothing to say." Religious institutions often claim to be "experts in humanity," but are now showing utter ignorance in matters of human sexuality. Popes trying to legislate about the morality of using contraceptives, and ayatollahs declaring that nine year old girls are old enough for marriage, are not very reassuring as manifestations of "expertise in human sexuality." Better evidence-based understanding will come with time and experience. There will be some mistakes along the way. It will be a "two steps forward, one step backwards" process. But let's avoid the abuse of excluding members of the LBTG community from any functions or jobs that they can do as well as anyone else.

9. Prayer, Study, and Action


This is a unique opportunity for prayer, study, and action about domestic violence and world peace. Domestic violence and world peace cannot coexist. For any person or community, peaceful behavior in the world and violent behavior in the family is not sustainable for long. The forthcoming International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC), which intends to produce an ecumenical declaration on "just peace" is an excellent opportunity for prayer, study, and action. Surely, it is something to pray about. Resources for study of the convocation objectives and thematic areas are already available online. A good way to start is to sign up for the World Council of Churches e-News. In terms of action, there are many ways to participate.


Images, language, women and patriarchy,
by Bert Olivier, Professor of Philosophy,
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University,
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

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|Link to Invited Paper|

The Pelican Symbol


The pelican is a legendary symbol of commitment to the service of others, especially those who are weak and most vulnerable to physical and/or psychological violence.

Pelican Symbol (Physiologus)
Poem (Thomas Aquinas)
Priesthood (Gertrud of Helfta)
Sermon (Rev. Sylvia Roberts)
History (Rev. William Saunders)
Eucharist (Patricia Kasten)

Human Nature


Human Beings ~ Man and Woman
(Plaque in the Pioneer Spacecraft)
Sources: Wikipedia and NASA

Human nature, Wikipedia
Homo sapiens, Wikipedia
Homo sapiens, Smithsonian
Human Nature - Bible, Phelps
Human Nature - Culture, Mead
Human Development, ICHD
Human Sexuality, Wikipedia
Anima and Animus, Jung
Original Unity, John Paul II
Two Wings of a Bird, Baha'is

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

World Religions

Source: Morpeth School, UK

The following are links to information about some of the major religious traditions and approximate numbers of adherents:

Christianity (2.5 billion)
Islam (1.4 billion)
Hinduism (1 billion)
Buddhism (375 million)
Sikhism (23 million)
Judaism (14 million)
Bahá'í (7 million)

For more information, see World Religions, which includes global maps showing geographic religious distributions.

Global News/Issues

The following are links to recent global news and emerging issues, in no particular order:

Vietnam makes all efforts
to accomplish MDGs

An inclusive and
sustainable globalization:
How the world works

We must develop our full
potentials if we want to compete

The Demise of Neoliberal Globalization

Globalisation and War

Five Years, And Counting

The true cost of war

Revolt with Memories

The China Syndrome

A Bankrupt Superpower

The World's Growing Food-Price Crisis

Record Financing For Biofuels, Not Food

Beyond the
Millenium Development Goals

Economic Decline Hinders
Fulfillment of Development Goals

Trafficking Comes From
Patriarchy Culture

New Zealand:
Huge opportunity in sustainability

New Adventist Bible Paves the Way
for Ordination of Women

Sustainable Development on the Rise

Global Solidarity, Human Rights,
and the End of Poverty

Rethinking the Globalization Debate

Gender and Media

Prioritize Millennium Development Goals

Globalization and terror: money

Under globalization competitive edge
is the key to economic development

Who is to blame for the socialism, development and corruption?

India's bishops strive for gender equality

Progressive Governance Summit
Ends in London

UNFPA Urges Action to Meet
Global Shortfalls in Health Workers

Global Economy
Human Development Goals

Put children's health first

World Peace and Sustainable Development

Achieving MDGs
Highly Unlikely for Poor

UN human rights body begins first-ever
examination of all countries’ records

U.S. Muslims and Mormons share deepening ties

IMF, World Bank
say world is falling short of
global economic goals set in 2000

Giving Knowledge for Free:
The Emergence of
Open Educational Resources

Nature has rights too

Bacteria designed to
search out pesticides

Advanced biofuels
face an uncertain future

Environment key to poverty
reduction in Tanzania

EU urges members
to meet Millennium aid pledges

It’s now or never for the Millenium Development Goals

Food Shortages an Emergency

Destroying Public Education in America

Death Threats Made Against
Congolese Human Rights Activist

Guatemalan gangs conquer
the abused with abuse

Economist calls for end to 'us vs. them'

Tutu praises LGBTs in speech

Women Enter ‘Priesthood’
in Defiance of
Roman Catholic Church

A Life Lived Well, and Lessons Thereof

Social innovation:
Good for you, good for me

Inequality, Tax Rates, and Globalization

Programme for the Enhancement
of Research Information

Supply Chains Maturing Toward
Social and Environmental Sustainability

Millennium Development: much done, much more to do

World Development Indicators 2008

Musharraf calls for global co-op
to achieve sustainable development

Downloadable booklet for eco advice

Getting To Grips With CSR Reporting

Olympic Torch a symbol of oppression

Give Muslims time
to find democratic feet

War without freedom

Pakistan On Tightrope

The Nine Stages
of American Autogenocide

Violence Against Women:
Roots and Cures in World Religions

A New Transatlantic Agenda
in a Changing World

Food Alarm And New Proposals

Millenium Development Goals -
countdown to 2015, Malawi

Economic Report on Africa 2008

Global Monitoring Report 2008:
Environment for development

Emergency and long-term steps
needed to address
escalating world food crisis

Islamic Shariah in the Western World

Expert emphasizes
societal sustainability

Summary of MDGNet
eDiscussion on
Achieving Sustainable Development

Pope meets with U.S. victims
of sexual abuse

Fehmida urges World Parliaments
to work for peace, prosperity

PARAGUAY: Indigenous Woman
on Course for Senate

German Minister Picked to Head
UN Development Conference

Ending child labor tricky job for India

Is the Long-term Sustainability Plan Sustainable?

Forecasting the future of Islam

Islam, Globalization, and Challenges

Clerics against gender equality in Bangladesh

Robbing the Hearts of Men

Mother-to-be who signalled
the changing of the guard

Capitalism versus the planet

In the Papal Pocket:
Benedict XVI and the Press

The Future of Oil - The Big Thirst

Health policy for achieving the MDGs

Persecution Complexes

Experts call for change
to sustainable development thinking

Toxic e-waste pouring into Third World

Can the earth provide enough food
for 9 billion people?

Anglican Women to Publish
Prayer Book On Millennium Goals

Battleground over Globalization

The Divine Feminine Unveiled

Who's tracking the trackers?

Lifelong learning key to sustainability

Ecological crisis hampering development

110 dollars per barrel -
but not for everyone

Gender inequity in health:
why it exists and how we can change it

Ending America's Oil Addiction

World in Transition:
Climate Change as a Security Risk

Church report says the rich benefit
from global corruption

New Muslim think-tank aims to
challenge extremist ideology

Global Food Crisis:
Hunger Plagues Haiti and the World

Can democracy save the planet?

Oil Has Two Potential Futures,
Shell Strategist Says

Global warming due to commercialized
luxuries will doom the earth

Laying the Groundwork for a Sustainable Civilization?

First Malaysian
Knowledge Management Site

Millions of Children Falling Through the Cracks

What Does Climate Change Do to Our Heads?

Launch of the London
International Development Centre

The Biggest Surprises
Past and Future

How about that clash of cultures?

Islamic Finance Can Solve Global Crisis, Says Scholar

Developed World Contributing
Less Resources to Continent

UNICEF Calls for Sustained Effort to Control Malaria

UK DFID Research Strategy 2008-2013

Catholics and Contraception

Africa far from MDG targets

Hate Behind the Niqab

Muslim sisters stand up for their rights

The Bridge at the Edge of the World:
Capitalism, Environment, and Crossing
from Crisis to Sustainability

Energy transitions past and future

India PM calls aborted fetuses shameful

Biofuel Production:
Criminal Path to Global Food Crisis

teachers told to rewrite history

Poor children main victims of climate change

Permanent Wars for Oil
and Permanent Terrorism

Globalization Of The Battle
Against Corruption

Religious Faith and Human Rights

‘Perhaps 60% of today’s oil price
is pure speculation’

Cost of the War in Iraq
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Editor's Note: For more news sources, visit the SSNV News Sources and RSS Feeds Page. See also the SSNV Knowledge Taxonomy & Links Database and the SSNV Tools Directory.

Global Citizen

Krister Stendahl
Bishop, Church of Sweden
Dean, Harvard Divinity School
Ecumenical Leader, WCC
RIP, 15 April 2008

"As a religious leader with the World Council of Churches and other bodies, Dr. Stendhal, a Lutheran, fought for the ordination of women and gay men and lesbians and against the use of sexist language in Scriptures, saying that Jesus’ maleness was no more significant than the color of his eyes. Dr. Stendahl pushed Christians toward ecumenism, not only among Christian denominations, but also with other religious traditions. He urged believers to find beauty in other faiths, a phenomenon he called "holy envy." Source: Krister Stendahl, 86, Ecumenical Bishop, Is Dead. For more information:

Krister Stendahl, Wikipedia
Krister Stendahl, The Lutheran
K. Stendahl, World Council of Churches
K. Stendahl, Harvard Divinity School
K. Stendahl, Simon Hartman Institute

MDGs + 1


[mdggoals] PLUS GOAL 9:
Universal Religious Freedom

Links to key MDG resources:
U.N. MDGs Home Page
MDG Core Documents
MDG Basic Indicators
U.N. Millennium Project
MDG Targets & Indicators
MDG Atlas
MDG Dashboard
MDG Monitor
MDG Slideshow
MDG GMR 2008
GEO Report 2007
HDR Report 2007-2008
Earth Charter
Youth and the MDGs
Health and the MDGs
State of the World Children 2008
State of the World's Girls 2007
Gender Equity Index 2008
UNESCO Yearbook 2008
World Energy Outlook 2008

Signs of the Times

This is truly a sign of the times:



From the NOMAS web site:

"The National Organization for Men Against Sexism is an activist organization of men and women supporting positive changes for men."

"As an organization for changing men, we strongly support the continuing struggle of women for full equality."

"Even if we could not see any pragmatic ways in which we as men could benefit from an end to traditional patriarchy (and we can see many), most of us would strongly support women's struggle, simply because it is so unquestionably just and right."

Download the NOMA BROCHURE

Another sign of the times:

Men, Masculinities,
and Gender Politics

Hillary for President

Wife, Mother, Lawyer, Stateswoman
Senator from New York
Next President of the USA

Visit the [hillaryforpresident2008]
Official Web Site


Racial healing is important
Gender healing, even more so,
For we know that both are evil.
But sexism remains hidden,
disguised as angel of light
In the long patriarchal night.

This is the reason I think
And believe deep in my heart,
That Obama may be good.
But this nation, and the world,
Need more the feminine genius
That we know Hillary has.

Subscribe to Hillary'sVoice

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SSNV Links

Resources worth visiting:

Platform for Sharing Information
on Gender Equity


Mimetic Theory of René Girard

Socioeconomic Democracy
Robley E. George, Director
Center for the Study of Democratic Societies




Global Footprint Network

See the Official Trailer

Office of Violence Against Women
U.S. Department of Justice

Education for Sustainable Development

Links of the Month

The links of the month are specifically related to the theme of this issue. Therefore, the links suggested below pertain to the nuptial dimension of sustainable development.

Symbol of Nuptial Covenant
Source: Wikipedia

Good relations between husband and wife, and between them and their children, are crucial for human development. Gender inequality is the greatest obstacle to human development, and gender inequality begins at home. It begins as soon as the nuptial covenant breaks down and degenerates in either patriarchy or matriarchy. The following are links to knowledge that is relevant to the nuptial dimension of sustainable development.

Basic articles in Wikipedia:

Human Sexuality
Wedding Traditions
Marriage (Heterosexual)
Marriage (Homosexual)
Virtue of Chastity
Spiritual Marriage
Covenant Marriage
The Act of Marriage
Marriage & Monogamy
Children & Parenting
Christian View of Marriage
Islamic View of Marriage
Marriage in ancient Rome
Child Marriage
LGBT Portal

Other recommended resources:

Marriage & Family Encyclopedia
Encyclopedia of Sexuality
History of Marriage
Love & Marriage
Relationships & Marriage
Marriage Encounter
Human Reproduction
Marriage & Children
Alliance for Marriage
Same-sex Marriages
Marriage & Divorce
The Theology of the Body
The Patriarchal Family
Husband and Wife
Family & Development
Marriage Partnership
Marriage is Forever
Information for Parents
Sex Before Marriage
Sex Outside Marriage
Chastity, Morality & Schools
Contraceptive Culture
Marriage & Religion
Gay Marriage Resources

Note: This list of links is recommended for the purpose of reviewing various traditions and current schools of thought about marriage and the family. It does not imply full agreement with everything that is proposed in the linked documents.

Yin-Yang Symbol of
Gender Equality and
Nuptial Covenant
Source: Wikipedia

Research Tools




Web for Kids





SSNV Call for Papers
Short articles about the impacts of all forms of secular and religious violence on
  • social solidarity
  • ecological sustainability
  • human development

During 2008, articles are especially desired on incentives for solidarity and sustainability and all dimensions of sustainable development. How can people be motivated to collaborate in the transition from patriarchy to solidarity, sustainability, and human development? What is the proper role of secular institutions? What is the proper role of religious institutions?

Accepted papers will be published when time and space allows. Please email your submission to the editor at


International Sociological Association (ISA), Barcelona, Spain, September 5-8, 2008. Abstracts should be sent to Roberto Blancarte and Olga Odgers.

IUCN World Conservation Congress, Barcelona, Spain, 5-14 October 2008. Ten days with 8,000 of the world’s leading decision makers in sustainable development. See the conference website.

ECREA 2008
CFP, ECREA's 2nd European Communication Conference. Barcelona, Spain, 25-28 November 2008. Hosted by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). See the conference website.

Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE), University of Hull, UK, 27-28 November 2008. Contact: Jane Ellison.

Bamako International Conference Centre, Bamako, Mali, 17-19 November 2008. See the conference website.

Will take place 1-5 December 2008, Mérida, México. See the conference website. The conference coordinator is Jaime Grace Engel .

Scheduled for 15-19 February 2009, New York City. Theme: "Exploring the Past, Anticipating the Future." See the conference website. The conference co-chairs are Sabine Carey and Gerald Schneider.

Sponsored by the Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC). March 5-7, 2009, York University, Toronto. Sub-theme: "Regulation, Dispossession, and Emerging Claims." Organizing committee: CERLAC.

SCARR 2009
Managing the Social Impacts of Change from a Risk Perspective, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 15-17 April 2009. See the SCARR web site. For details contact Jens Zinn or Peter Taylor-Gooby.

Gendered Cultures at the Crossroads of Imagination, Knowledge and Politics, 4-7 June 2009 Utrecht, The Netherlands. Visit the conference web site. For more information: 7thfeminist

EKSIG 2009
Theme: Experiential Knowledge, Method and Methodology. London Metropolitan University, 19 June 2009. Visit the EKSIG 2009 information

IMC 2009
International Medieval Congress (IMC), 13-16 July 2009. Theme: Heresy and Orthodoxy. For further details please contact Professor Axel Miller (IMC), University of Leeds, UK.

ISSR 2009
ISSR Conference, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 27-31 July 2009. Theme: Challenges of Religious Pluralism. See the list of ISSR Contacts.

Evidence Base

The following items were added this month to the SSNV Knowledge Taxonomy and Links Directory:


Knowledge Taxonomy
Links Directory

The SSNV-MDG knowledge taxonomy and links database can be downloaded as either an HTML web page or an EXCEL spreadsheet with embedded table-building HTML code that can be modified to fit the user needs.

Download the
HTML Web Page

Download the
EXCEL File with URLs and HTML Code


Links to archived newsletters:

Cross-Gender Solidarity
The Phallocentric Syndrome
From Patriarchy to Solidarity
Patriarchy and Solidarity
From Solidarity to Sustainability
Dimensions of Sustainability
Analysis of Objective Evidence
Solidarity and Subsidiarity
Solidarity and Sustainability
Sustainable Human Development
Patriarchy and Mimetic Violence
Violence in Patriarchal Religions
Violence in Patriarchal Religions-2
Violence in Patriarchal Religions-3
Violence in Patriarchal Religions-4
Violence in Patriarchal Religions-5
Sabbatical Activity~September-06
Sabbatical Activity~October-06
Sabbatical Activity~November-06
Sabbatical Activity~December-06
MDG1-Reduce Extreme Poverty
MDG2-Ensure Universal Education
MDG3-Promote Gender Equality
MDG4-Reduce Child Mortality
MDG5-Improve Maternal Care
MDG6-Mitigate HIV/AIDS Epidemic
MDG7-Environmental Sustainability
MDG8-Develop Global Partnership
Integrated Analysis of the MDGs
Analysis of the 2015 MDG Targets
If Not the MDGs, Then What?
2007 State of the Future Review
Religious Dimension of Sustainability
Spiritual Dimension of Sustainability
Human Dimension of Sustainability
Gender Dimension of Sustainability
Nuptial Dimension of Sustainability

Overcoming Violence

Source: World Council of Churches
Peace and nonviolence for sustainable development.

Source: World Council of Churches
Overcoming violence is indispensable for sustainable development.


Source: World Council of Churches
Violence leads to more violence


Source: World Council of Churches
Nonviolence leads to full life

Kingston, Jamaica, May 2011

"A man will leave his father and mother
and be united to his wife,
and they will become one flesh."

Genesis 2:24


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Copyright © 2008 by Luis T. Gutierrez


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