The Wise vs. the Wayward

Hey honey? I want to tell you something that bothers me. Something that really gets my goat. Something that has lain heavy on my heart for a really long time, and heavy on the hearts of so many people, but it just seems like there’s no easy fix, so we all just buck up and dance around the situation.

The Bible seems to be written specifically for a man.

I’m a storyteller, and an avid reader, and an academic professor, and I’ve taught literature for a number of years. I know the way we read things. I know how to unpack words. I know how to read between the lines, and I facilitate discussions about the meaning in texts, the way we assume things, the problems that exist in our minds, the motivations of individuals.

And it just gets me mad when I read stuff in the Bible that is considered sacred, and it doesn’t line up with what I know in my heart to be true.

So what’s more important?

My heart. Always.

But let’s take this example. Because we’re going to do this Bible thing differently. We’re going to play, we’re going to mold, we’re going to interpret in a way that HAS NEVER BEEN INTERPRETED BEFORE! Or something. Maybe my ambitions are too high (which is typical!). How about we just try some things out.

Yesterday I was directed to read Proverbs, and the passage was about the “wayward woman.” And damn, that got me. Because I’ve started this intimacy coaching business (more on this later!), and a woman who talks openly about sex in the Christian tradition might be mistaken as evil. A woman who references body parts might be crass. A woman who tells you your body is beautiful, and there is nothing inherently wrong or shameful about sex, might be considered an “evildoer.” Because these traditions of thinking of women as temptresses, as the ones who get men off track, go deep. We have to battle many demons when it comes to spirituality and sexuality to find the truth. Many, many demons. We have to peel our shadows away, do a lot of inner work, which I’ve done. And it’s been hard. And glorious. But God and I are like this, and the Great HeShe has been showing me the way for a while now. The Great HeShe has been saying, “Shit is fucked up, Jana, do something about this, this is your ministry. Help people heal.” And so, I go.

Proverbs is a really beautiful book, and all throughout Wisdom is personified as a “she.” And so we have all these messages addressed to the son from the fathers, telling the son how to operate on his path. The same way we have Arjuna struggling in the Bhagavad Gita to make his way. What to move toward, what to step away from. But damn, there is that wayward woman rearing her head. The woman who tempts the son, like Eve, I guess.

“For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,

and her speech is smoother than oil;

but in the end she is bitter as gall,

sharp as a double-edged sword.

Her feet go down to death;

her steps lead straight to the grave.

She gives no thought to the way of life;

her paths wander aimlessly, but she

does not know it.”

And I was reading this, and I’m like damn, how are people going to receive me in this intimacy work? It is very, highly possible, that someone who has been shaming himself for years, whipping himself, embodying all this painful messaging about lust, is going to point to me and say, “Adulterous woman! Don’t listen to her! Her words drip honey!”

Because fear, baby, that catches on like a forest fire. And what most religion has taught women and men, but particularly men, is that their desires are wrong. That their desire for sex and pleasure and beauty is a problem to be overcome. And so men bury themselves in dark places, thinking they have to figure things out alone. And they try to get their needs met in other ways that are not always healthy. And they drop into darker and darker corners until they don’t know how to get out.

And then I arrive, with my picture of bright, colorful birds, and I’m throwing out words like “pussy,” and I’m really here to help, but I don’t fit into what we’ve been taught a good woman looks like. What was the phrase in Proverbs? “A loving doe, a graceful deer.” Yeah, I’m no kind of deer. I’m Wisdom herself, maybe. I curse, I dance, I say what’s real, I go in the dark places and I pull people out, and I say what’s on your mind but you’re afraid to say, and I don’t fucking care who’s watching, because I do what’s right and not what some higher-up false leader told me to do. God is my witness, God is my guide. And I know God, baby. I know Her well. We’re fucking close.

How do we know evil from good?

Can you make a list of what a good person is like, and what an evil one says or does?

Because I’ve been around some pretty evil narcissists, and they’re super-convinced they’re right about everything. But call them on one of their accusations, and they just get all red in the face, because those stories are flimsy. They don’t have the words, the examples, the substance to back up what they say. They just yell. They just accuse. They’re these great big balls of fear and obsession, and it’s ick.

So how do you, as all the passages in Proverbs say, choose wisdom? How do you follow her path? If you are discerning between a wayward woman (or man), and Wisdom, how do you know which is which?

The wayward person says things she or he can’t back up. The wayward person doesn’t live what he or she says. The wayward person likes talking, and conceptualizing, but can’t actually, when the situation arises, do what he says he believes.

Wisdom is the person who is in alignment, or working to be, in every way. Wisdom is usually the exception, not what’s common, and sometimes Wisdom acts in a way that is hard to understand, because she comes from a deeper, more rooted place than the grasping nature we’re accustomed to seeing in everybody else, a grasping nature we’ve begun to believe is true. Wisdom plays the long game, while the wayward focus on power and domination and fitting in. The wayward are all about the rules. The wise know better.

So baby, find  your wisdom within you, that brilliant feminine energy inside you who opens up and lets go and knows things you don’t often want to listen to, because it feels harder to choose the narrow gate instead of the doorway everyone is walking through. Find your wisdom around you, in the people you choose to spend time with. Be wise. Do what you say, speak how you feel. Get yourself aligned.

*Check out MotherJana Intimacy Coaching to learn more about loving your body, accepting your full self, and loving your current or potential partner in a deeper way. 


Photo by James Lee on Unsplash