Tuesday, April 17, 2007

straw poll

So I've been doing an informal straw poll of friends to see if they think I'm crazy. Results are still pending, but no one has suggested stoning.
I'm heartened!

I'm sure some of you more independent thinkers find it amusing that I survey friends to see if it's okay if I think differently. Whatever. It helps me sleep better.

Yesterday, we had dinner with my old roomie and her husband. Shoshana challenged God to find her a husband that was a charismatic and a feminist; she was a little taken aback when she met James. (She forgot to specify that he be taller than her. So she went barefoot at her wedding. Problem solved.) When they watch moves (Shosh prefers buddy comedies or action flicks) James is always appalled at the objectification of women that Shosh doesn't notice.

Anyway, I explained to them how I've arrived at thinking more about feminism and God and all those issues, and thought I'd share my explanation with you all. (The three of you! Huzzah!)

See, being a mom really made me realize for the first time that I'm a woman. That my life will be limited by being a mom for the next few years. (Sure, expanded in some ways, but also limited, as in: I want to go to the bathroom/eat/hang out with friends now. Whoops! The baby needs me!) And a lot of this is pure biology: ie; my body produces milk. Dyami's does not. End of story.

And because of some patriarchal experiences in college, I had this sneaking suspicion that God was male. Or at least very, very masculine. CS. Lewis' essay about how women can't image God like men didn't help.

And through all of this, motherhood has been the most intense spiritual discipline I've ever undertaken. And I've understood God's kind creative powers and sustaining power more than ever because I, myself, birthed a person and sustain her.
And I've been praying more (partially out of desperation, partially out of boredom, and partially out of a sincere desire to know God more--hey, one of three ain't bad).
So why, in the midst of a spiritual rebirth, did I feel less and less like God understood me? That I was included in His image? That he valued what I was going through?

That pesky masculinity thing. If God is more accurately imaged my men, then where am I? Does that mean men are godlike? If so, then aren't women inferior by definition?
I didn't want to think any of these things, but my brain kept going over them.

Now that I've researched these issues more (I'll give a full reading list soon) I don't feel so shut out from the Trinity. And I am reminded how much Jesus shattered the patriarchal assumptions of his age. And that God created me in His image, too. So take that, CS Lewis!

In some ways, I'm comforted. But in some ways, I'm profoundly uncomfortable. I liked my not-so-thought-out images of God that didn't challenge conventional wisdom (or my husband's opinion). I'm still searching, and know that I'm not likely to find definitive answers until I meet this God of mine when He comes again or I go to meet Him face to face. Then shall we know, even as we are known.

1 comment:

Dad said...

Heather -

It seems to me that God is infinite, and certainly beyond human comprehension. We in our finite understanding understand God him in our image, even the writers of the Bible [All men in a time when women had little standing]. From my prespective [very finite] God has to have both masculine and femine characteristics to be infinite. And women, to comprehend God, must be able to understand God in those terms.