You just made my point for me, my friend. The difference is that confession, repentance, fasting... these are all things we CONTROL. They are all things that we can effect and are consequences of sin. But a woman's menstruation is NOT a consequence of sin. It is the way God created us, and no matter how pious we may be, there is nothing we can do to change it (unlike with confession/repentance/fasting). Nor should we WANT to change it. Indeed, God created us perfectly the way he wanted us, and it is wrong to say or imply that he made a mistake, or purposely made us inferior, or that we are somehow lesser/less perfect because of His creation.
Who is argueing that menses are a sin? Getting a cut is not a sin. Married folk having bodily congress is not a sin, a man's occassional nocturnal emission is not necessarily a sin (though sin can lead/contribute to it), yet all these things have traditionally kept one from communing if they were happened within a day of when one would have otherwise received communion. Eating is not a sin,unless done to excess, but to eat or drink is not allowed within 8 hours of recieving communion...ususally meaning nothing past the throat after midnight the day before liturgy. Yet even though it is not a sin, to break the precommunion fast and to communune anyway without some blessed economia is a sin.
Yes, but you must look at the reasons that we abstain from communion in each of the circumstances you named. We don't just abstain because we blindly follow the law. That is exactly what Christ forbade. The difference in all of these (and this is what I was trying to say before, but apparently wasn't saying it well) is that they may have to do with physiology, but they affect the spirit. The spirit is the reason we abstain in these cases, not the body, but how the body affects the spirit. If we abstain simply for the body's sake (rather than out of concern for the spirit), then we are a) holding ourselves hostage to the law, in direct violation of Christ's teaching, and b) making dualist heretics out of ourselves (putting the body in direct opposition to the spirit). In the case of a woman's menstruation, it does not affect the spirit, does not present some spiritual implement toward communing. Does that make a little more sense?
Now, should you like to argue that it is a consequence of Eve's sin, and that all women are now paying for it, then we have come full circle, back to the fact that the Theotokos is the new Eve and Eve's transgression has been wiped out. The how and why that women have menses vis a vis creation and the fall is something I have no knowledge of. Nor is it relevant. As for the Theotokos, even she had to leave the Temple into the care of Joseph when it was time for her to begin her womanly cycle. If the Theotokos did not sin in this but willingly submitted to the Tradition regarding it why is her example become onerous?
The Theotokos was a Jew. She was therefore bound by the law and the laws regarding the temple. We are not bound by the law in the way that the Jews were. We are not bound by the Jewish ideas of ritual cleanliness.
God created us this way, and we are perfect in His creation. End of story. Period.What we were before the fall who can say. We know only what we were after the fall...how perfect any particular of that state is for others wiser than I can debate.
I'm not talking about before the fall. I mean the way we are now. God made us the way He wanted us. He created our bodies to function the way they do. That's not to say we fall can just do whatever we want with it because it's a bodily function (as in the case of the sins involved in a man's nocturnal emissions, as you mentioned). But to turn away from God's sacrifice in the Eucharist because we think His creation in its natural state (in other words, without having committed a sin that dirties our body, which I think we agreed is not the case with menstruation) is not good enough or clean enough to receive Him... well that just blows my mind, really.
And, since you mention it, if it is as you say, that confession, repentance, and fasting are being treated this way in some parishes (I don't know which ones you go to, but it certainly isn't that way in the parishes I've attended), then why are we discussing this to begin with? We'd better get to work on those things, which are FAR more important than menstruation, doncha think? The garment is more important than any particular thread within it. Start tugging out those threads and soon enough the garment falls apart.
I think that's being a little melodramatic. Please correct me if I'm wrong (we have seen that I have a knack for misunderstanding things on this thread), but are you saying that you think it's more spiritually dangerous for a woman to commune while menstruating than it is for a person to forsake confession, repentance, and fasting? I hardly think that the issue of communing while menstruating is going to unravel the entire garment. This is called slippery slope logic. And it is a fallacy.
While I may have misunderstood you in this case, I stand by my statement that, in general, the misogyny is in the judgment. And forgive me for being dense. What misogyny?
You're not dense, my friend. I'm having a hard time articulating this. Women's issues are a difficult and important topic about which I feel quite passionate (you might have noticed) and about which I strive to be informed so that, while I don't fall into heresy or judgment, I may still remain balanced and fair. When I get going, it's hard for me to be clear.
As it is now Holy Week, I am wary of trying to flesh out what I mean anymore. I don't want to give the evil one any opportunity at all to create misunderstandings and problems, controversies and anger that might interfere with our focus on the services and the journey to our Lords passion and resurrection. For that reason, I'll just leave the issue of misogyny and how it has infected our church and caused terrible problems to the side until after Pascha. I don't want to end the conversation, just hold off on this idea. I might come back to it later, but for now I'd like to leave it to the side.
Just to be clear, as I don't want there to be any problems, the misogyny that I was speaking of (when I said, "in general, the misogyny is in the judgment") was not personal toward you. I was speaking of the overarching problem that has, unfortunately, taken root in the hearts of many hierarchs, clergy, monastics, and laity. It's a general theme that I think needs to be discussed. Lest you think I'm a raging liberal feminist with outlandish ideas of women's ordination to the priesthood, the guys on here that are friends with me can safely vouch for the fact that I'm not like that at all. Strong minded, yes. Opinionated, yes (and I know they'll tell you these things, too-- eh, Cleveland and Serb1389?). But I'm not going to scream about ordaining women to the priesthood and start burning my bra in front of the Church. I pray I haven't given you that impression. That is my least favorite type of feminist. I strive to take a balanced view, educated, with our Lord as guide and the Theotokos as role model, trying to humbly discern which are genuine issues (and then not leave them to the side, but rather address them in love) and which issues are matters of pride. With that in mind, I do think, IMHO, that these issues are very important ones and need to be discussed.
Forgive me a sinner!