If we are unlucky enough to have read or heard about Onan, we have no doubt tried to explain it. Why would god kill a man for ejaculating on the ground?
My favourite explanation is that, since he was doing it to prevent a pregnancy and losing the ‘right’ to rape his sister-in-law, god was telling people he doesn’t like rape.
Others prefer the <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMx6X26iJ_c“>Every Sperm is Sacred</a> theory. This has been used to ban male masturbation and birth control. Two things our world cannot do without.
Of course, the one that makes most sense with the text and cultural context is that Onan wanted his ‘real’ offspring to inherit the family possessions thereby passing on his name and not his brother’s.
The weirdest explanation I heard was in a church sermon. Apparently, the main issue wasn’t what Onan did or didn’t do, but on what his parents did/didn’t do. The older brother, Er, was named. It doesn’t say by whom. The next two, Onan and Shelah, were named by their mother.
That was the root of sin. The mother named them. Which led to god being angry at them, supposedly for the problems created by the mother having too much authority and the father too little.
This makes no sense from the text since Er and Onan were killed, but not Shelah.
This fact didn’t matter to the one preaching. He then went on to berate the women for taking too much authority in the home and preventing the fathers from taking their lawful headship. He called for the men to tuck in their little ones with prayers of protection, since they would be so much more powerful coming from the man. Yes, he said that.
I felt sick and enraged. There were single moms in the congregation who had fled abusive men in order to protect their children. They were being told that their protectiveness not only wasn’t as effective as a man’s, but was dangerous and harmful.
I doubt the man preaching had ever tucked his kids into bed, let alone changed a diaper or talked to their teacher or bully. Yet, he was authoritatively saying the problem with kids was that the mothers were too protective.
I marched up as soon as he finished and told the congregation that we needed Mamma Bears. I told a story of when I needed to stand up for my baby and put others’ feelings ahead of my wee one’s safety. It was the closest to contradicting an elder in the church I had ever done before.
Afterwards, one of the single mammas whispered “thank-you” to me as she slipped quietly away. The preacher thanked me for “adding balance”.
Unfortunately, this bizarre dichotomy of women must decrease so that men may increase isn’t limited to church. Neither is merely a relic of the past where Annie from Annie Get Your Gun is told that she should deliberately lose a shooting match so she can win her opponent’s heart.
There is a growing concern that women becoming competent adults is the reason more men are staying in perpetual adolescence. I’ve heard this from Al Mohler’s crowd and Boundless webzine. No surprise that they think a man can only be an adult if he has a needy infantile wife to take care of who in return, takes care of his every mundane need.
What does surprise me is the growing secular crowd preaching this same ‘only one adult at a time’ lie. Various radio programs have featured concern over greater numbers of males living with parents and playing video games while their female peers are volunteering and buying houses on their own.
One woman interviewed wrote a book about how women being responsible is the cause of men acting like teenagers.
I’m not buying it.
I have more respect for men’s intelligence and competency than that. Men can be capable fathers without their wive’s permission or submission. Men are fully able to make adult decisions, get jobs and do good in their community without a stay-at-home wife relying on him to pay the bills. Men are not irrelevant when women are allowed to support themselves.
The dance of over and underfunctioning does exist, but it is no one person or gender’s fault nor is it the ideal. We don’t need to define ourselves by the perceived weakness of someone else.
I believe there is room for more than one adult at a time.