The Feminine in God Biographic Introduction: I ask myself, “Why would a 71 year old woman raised Episcopalian, converted to Roman Catholicism at marriage, be delving into “The Feminine in God”? I was raised an obedient child and I remained obedient during my Roman Catholic membership. How could I hide it? I had eight children. I am now a Christian Spiritualist, but I also do homage and pray to the Goddess: Mother to us all, but it was a process that took years of study and thought. Barely more than 7 or 8 years ago, the issue of feminine qualities in God was a nonsubject to me. Then it happened! I was on a camping trip in the Adirondack Mountains of upper New York State. I was recovering from knee surgery and while my husband and friends climbed mountains, I had idle hours on my hands. So my friend from Central New York put a book in them. “Read this while you wait,” she said. It was: "The Feminine Face of God" by Sherry Ruth Anderson and Patricia Hopkins, published in 1991. The book plucked so powerfully at my heartstrings that I later bought my own copy and read it again. Soon after that, I was invited by a Mercy nun to a presentation at a Catholic school in Rochester, NY. The presenter was a Southern Baptist Christian writer: Sue Monk Kidd. She lectured on her newest book: "The Dance of the Dissident Daughter". The book was based on her mid-life crisis during which she came face to face with her patriarchal religious and social background. She eloquently describes her transformation, likening it to the transformation of the larva in cresolis to the butterfly, flying free from her restrictive background. Somewhere along the way, I was introduced to two books explaining parts of the “lost gospels” of Nag Hammadi: "Adam, Eve and the Serpant" and "The Lost Gospels", by Elaine Pagels. She clarified some of these texts of the early Christian church which depicted a more “Eastern” type philosophy among some early Christians and, to my surprise, a more accepting attitude toward the role of women in this community. The book, "Crossing to Avalon", by Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, was recommended by a Goddess worshiping friend of mine. And before that I was introduced to "Women Who Run with the Wolves" by Clarissa Pincola-Estes. These books pried open my mind like a geyser erupting from the earth. Another book, "When Women Were Priests", by Karen Forjesen, provided some solid evidence of the important “priestly” role of women in the early Christian church. Another woman gave me a book she picked up at a garage sale. She had me in mind when she bought it: "When God Was A Woman", by Merlin Stone, first published in 1976. It described how the peaceful, culturally advanced, matriarchal, Goddess religions were forcefully replaced by the monotheistic male God religions and the patriarchal social structure. This book provided most of the background for my first essay: "A History of God and Gender", which I revised in 2000 and renamed it "The Feminine Side of God". Recently renamed "The Feminine in God", the essay follows this introduction and a "Bibliography on My Awakening to the Feminine in God". "Womanspirit Rising" came from a one-day seminar on women in the bible. It contains illuminating essays by women theologians running in a continuum from strong feminist positions to traditional Christian positions expanded with feminist variations. The book "Heart of Flesh", by Joan Chittister, OSB, came by way of a presentation by the author at a local Roman Catholic seminary. She plows with refining steel into not only the patriarchal church, but also the effects of patriarchy on women and men, and on society in general. My second essay grew mainly from studying two books: "God, Creation and the Tools for Life", by Sylvia Browne, and "Jung and the Lost Gospels", by Stephan A Hoeller. The rest is here for you to read as it comes to me and I feel the need to share it with you. The next item on this website is a list of some of the books, which awakened me to “the Feminine in God”. Barbara L Weeks 11/20/03
Addendum to The Feminine in God I recently (February 2004) had the good fortune to become acquainted with another “lost” gospel: one about Mary Magdalene. The book: “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene”, by Jean-Yves Leloup, was published in 1997 by Inner Traditions in Rochester, VT. This book not only displays the original Coptic text of the gospel with a translation in English, but also provides an interpretation of the text which moved me to cheer. Leloup, in his commentary on this gospel illustrates how religious “truths” can be differently interpreted by the way they are translated from the original text to other languages. More important, it unveils a different picture of the character of Mary Magdalene and the nature of her relationship to Jesus Christ. Leloup also provides a different view, from orthodox Christianity, of the message Christ wanted to pass on to humanity, and how He wanted it promulgated. The most outstanding asset of this book is the provision of a model for how to use this gospel to attain spiritual maturity and wholeness. I highly recommend it. Barbara L. Weeks 3/13/04
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