Sex & God & Rock & Roll
Reminds me of a book that I have: "When God Was A Woman" by Merlin Stone. It's de rigeur reading for those getting into feminist spirituality.
Bugger feminist spirituality! The reason why we need to rediscover the great women of faith is so that we can come to terms with the fact that spirituality is not just a male thing. It's a human thing. Women who claim a separate spirituality are just as misguided as men who exclude women from playing a full and equal part in the spirituality of the religions of the world. It's like a victim of abuse getting his or her own back on the world by abusing someone else themselves.
I wonder if this documentary will air on this side of the pond, and when. I'd like to see it, myself.I "ouched" a bit at feminist spirituality. I also am thankful to the feminists and womanists, some of whom I knew in seminary, who pushed into the forefront of spiritual practice the presence and voices of women in the past. This includes my male NT prof, who included such banned and brilliant Pauline texts as that celebrating Thekla. When abuse survivors gather in groups, their purpose is to know they are not alone; their hope is to become more whole. Doesn't always work. Not a reason not to meet, with purpose and hope.I do regret that, as a wholist, if I may coin a term, when being inundated with solely male examples of spirituality, in clergy gatherings, I feel compelled to add the women, for wholeness, and get that "oh, a feminist" look. I truly think my peers believe they are not being condescending.So, I agree with MP. I also have my experiences to add to the discussion.But I REALLY want to see this documentary!
Feminism was important (and still is in many parts of the world). What I don't like is the use of terms such as "feminist" to describe something else (e.g. feminist theology). The female divines of the past (whose femaleness was very much a part of who they were) belong to my spirituality as much as they do to any woman's spirituality. If not, then the bastards are right when they say women can't be priests because the apostles were men.
*whistles, whistles*Well, my past sessions (like, 20+ years past) of women-only feminist spirituality were helpful to me, TODAY, of knowing that I no longer belong in women-only spaces for feminist spirituality! ;-/
Oh yes, Bettany. Yum. (Hope this crosses the Pond eventually---as did whatever I saw her on here Stateside)
...and did we enjoy the programme? I certainly found it helpful in joining the dots and look forward to the rest of the series.
Well, then why is gender-neutral language not used in official liturgies? Why *insist* upon mentally imaging God with a holy willy? :)
English is one of the most gender neutral languages in the world yet, as a liturgist, I find it very difficult to write about God without giving God a gender at times. This is because we see God as a person. To call God "it" just doesn't work. Whenever, I can I use the word God, but to only use the name "God" makes for very clumsy sentences. Try writing down a conversation between your mother and your father without using she or he. I think most modern liturgists and translators would love to use completely gender inclusive language but we don't have the language to do so. And inclusive language has to be in common currency before it can be used in liturgy otherwise it will be a barrier between the worshipper and God. If liturgy doesn't flow it becomes annoying.
OK well what's wrong with using "Mother" and "She" etc interchangeably when referring to God?
There is nothing wrong with that at all, Tracie. The problem is that language comes from the people (unless you are French when you have a committee that decides what is allowable and what is not). If you want to talk to the people you have to use their language. Language changes over time and writers help the language to change. You will find very few references to God as a definite "he" on my blog. But liturgy has to change at the speed its users want it to change otherwise they just ignore it because it makes no sense to them or plain annoys them.My point is that I believe there is a genuine desire within broad churches to move towards fully inclusive language but we need the willingness of the people to join the endeavour if we are to succeed in this project. I could also do with words in English that can be used as non gender specific pronouns without rendering the person being referred to into an object. I have plenty of nouns I can use, like people, persons, divinities, gods etc but no pronouns. I spend ages, when I'm writing liturgy, trying to come up with ways of avoiding gender specific pronouns without making the text clumsy and repetitive. Unfortunately it is not always possible. In my opinion, to replace "he" with "she" is just repeating the same mistake in our understanding of God.