Wednesday, March 8, 2017

My Re-Imagining moment

First, I invite readers to learn about the Re-Imagining movement. 

On February 26, I was re-imagining at Mass while listening to the first reading—Isaiah 49: 15:
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
In the past, when I heard passages like this I thought,
Lovely, God described in feminine terms!
As I listened this time, I thought about the Greek myth I wrote about in the previous post. The myth has the Goddess Athena springing fully-formed from the head of Zeus, so that a male god usurps an exclusively feminine faculty. On the basis of this myth, the Greek dramatist Aeschylus justifies matricide (Scroll down to previous post for the story).

With this in mind, I thought to myself about the Isaiah passage: 
It’s lovely, except that the Lord is speaking. No one imagines a female lord.
The Judaeo/Christian Lord robs females of their power as Zeus does by his faux birthing of Athena because the Lord never is referred to as “She.” Pronouns tell us what’s wrong with this and many such scriptural passages. When He claims feminine powers, He utterly negates female worth. 

As the Mass progressed, I also thought of a recent interview by Krista Tippett, host of “On Being.” She was speaking to a mathematician and science writer.
Margaret Wertheim: My mother’s Catholicism has been one of the greatest and deepest influences on everything I do.
Tippett: But you also are atheist, is that correct?
Wertheim: [I do not] believe in the existence of God in the Catholic sense. [But] I want to say very publicly I’m not an atheist. . . .
I’m very, very saddened by the fact that militant atheism has become [sic] so to the fore of our society. I think it’s destructive and unhelpful. And I don’t think it does science any service. 
I agree and know atheists who agree. 
The word “militant” stood out during the interview and came to me in church. I thought,
The Bible contains militant patriarchy.
Wertheim used “militant” to describe atheists belligerently attacking a belief system—quite different from the Isaiah reading about a mother’s love. But the Zeus-birthed-Athena myth and the-Lord-mothers-better-than-a-mother myth both insidiously undermined the belief system in pre-historic times when God was imagined to be female. 

Knowing history enlightens the present. The Great Mother in pre-history, Mater Magna, embodied feminine powers. If Christianity is to stop being a patriarchal oppressor, we need to pray to Her as well as to Him.

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