Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hamburg, 17.6.90: The Dance of Patriarchy and Marian Churches

We’ve just boarded the train to Oostende at 10:15 P.M. at the Altona station. We depart at 10:23, and go through Paris—arrive sometime ca. 9 A.M., I believe. Very frazzling, continuous squawking . . . all the worse, because we’re cooped up (pun intended) in a 4-berth couchette arrangement.

I feel increasingly that I write such superficial things in this journal. Partly the lack of time to rest and reflect, and being around other people all the time, particularly people who never shut up and say such damn stupid things.

Today: went to a brief service in the Akadamie chapel. In addition to the international group in residence, an East German couple were there, and two young men from East Germany gave a shared homily. One of them irritated me: tall and thin with a shock of electric hair (I realize this is a mixed metaphor, but I use it with forethought), and false ha! ha! funny. The other seemed gay—earring in right ear, which seems to mean something in Germany, and quite attractive, red hair, white skin, blue eyes.

The service made me think about patriarchy. I had a visceral reaction to the DDR couple and to the many other couples in the group. The DDR one consisted of a small, plain, devoted, and rather tight-lipped young Frau and her jocular husband. Why do heterosexual churchmen always appear to feel they must apologize for being interested in religion? Why do the women so often seem so hard, so covertly manipulative underneath that sweet frosting of piety?

Patriarchy: hymns (in German) reeking of male domination, a male savior-God who reaches down his strong hand to save his errant children; a piety of threat-rescue rather than of peace-celebration, of unity with nature. All this seems to result in a type of Christianity utterly bent on order and control. Part of the fear of homosexuality is surely fear of loss of control as the instinctual-feminine asserts itself. To allow the feminine to have a larger role in shaping the course of a Christian church is to open the door to a very different piety and theology, a more holistic and creation-centered one.

After church, a brief coffee time with those in church. Mice discussion with Barbara M., a woman from Köln in residence at the Akademie. She told us that fascism is far from dead in Germany. The sermon had been about the fact that the date the Berlin wall fell was almost on the Krystalnacht anniversary. The homilist said that we must never forget this history.

Then a drive to Lübeck, which to tell the truth I did not entirely enjoy—too much companionship, too hurried, far too many stupid comments from A. Saw the Marienkirche, the cathedral that was destroyed in 1942 and rebuilt later. The medieval city was interesting, but not to visit with squawking companions.

Back to Hamburg, dinner at a nice Turkish restaurant with Wolfram W. and family. Had a lamb-eggplant kebab, rice, salad, wine, and a Schwarzwälder ice cream. And now to Paris and Oostende.

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