My daughters came to me after Sunday School one day, concerned about a story they had heard in which God drowned almost everyone on Earth. So I sat down and thought about why a community might want to tell that story, and what valuable wisdom might be lifted from it for my children. Here is what I told them:
God/ess has many faces, which help us understand different things we need to know at different times. Sometimes we think of God/ess as Crone, an old, old woman crowned with silver hair as an emblem of her wisdom, who helps us learn to let go of anything that is holding back the wellness of our community and ourselves.
One day, Crone Goddess saw that her people were hoarding their belongings and not sharing with each other. They had become greedy and selfish, using up the land around them rather than treating it as a revered and sacred friend. They had cut down many trees without thinking about how to protect the forests and the animals who live in the forests. They had set some members of the community up as more important and more powerful than others. They had oppressed other members and treated them with scorn.
Crone Goddess went to the wisest elder of the village, Grandmother Noah. She said to Grandmother Noah,
“The people are selfish, and they are hurting the land and each other. They are cutting down trees and being mean to anyone who is weak or different.”
Grandmother Noah said,
“Yes, Crone Goddess, and I have tried to help them, but they turn their faces away from our wisdom. They no longer share with me, either, and I am forced to work to the point of pain, all day and night growing and gathering food for myself, because they have forgotten the wisdom of Crones.”
Crone Goddess said,
“Grandmother Noah, prepare for a ceremony when the moon has waned to its thinnest crescent. You must build an ark of my waning moon.”
Every day, Grandmother sang the songs to build an ark of the Crone Moon. She gathered the energy of water, air, fire, and earth, and she built an altar in the center of the community. She carved the altar in the shape of a crescent moon. For water energy, she gathered bowls and chalices of water. Into them she poured water that had been blessed under the full moon, and she added tears of grief for her community’s sickness. For air energy, she wove capes of feathers and downy blankets. For fire energy, she lit a sacred fire and candles. For earth energy, she brought the fruits of the earth, nuts and vegetables and other good foods. She brought all the food she had stored against the coming winter. These things she placed in between the two points of the crescent moon on top of its stone base. She danced around the altar, beat her drum, and sang the songs of death, mystery, age, and letting go.
The people laughed at Grandmother Noah.
“Fool!” They cried. “You should be storing up your belongings and hoarding power as we do. Those old ways are useless and silly.”
But Grandmother Noah paid them no heed. She continued to gather energy from water, air, fire, and earth, and to sing strength and power to the Crone Moon altar every day and night.
Finally, the night of the last sliver of Crone Moon arrived, the night before total darkness. Crone Goddess came to Grandmother Noah and said,
“Beloved Grandmother, you must be my face for our people. You must call them to our altar tonight.”
So Grandmother Noah went to the Crone Moon altar and called out in her old, wise voice,
“Come! Come to the Crone Moon ark, where you may release your diseases and find freedom and wellness!”
“Why should we come?” asked the people. “We do not need your medicine. We are free and well.”
But some of Grandmother Noah’s children and grandchildren came when she called. And these were the few who were scorned most by their community. They were lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. They were fat, differently abled/disabled, very old, and very young. They were the poorest, the brokenhearted, and the ones with darker skin. They were women who had been abused as possessions, their most vulnerable female places treated with violence. They gathered around her and said,
“Grandmother Noah, we are here. We will heed your call.”
And Grandmother Noah told them to bring all their animals to the altar as well. As night passed into day, more of her children and grandchildren gathered around the Crone Moon altar. That night, as the sun set, the sky was completely dark. There was no moon to light the sky, and even the stars were dimmed behind clouds. A great wind arose, tearing at the trees and houses.
“Come!”called Grandmother Noah. “Hold to the altar! The Crone Moon Ark will protect us!”
And all the people and animals held to the altar and to each other. Slowly, the crescent moon of the altar grew larger and larger, until it became a large silver crescent boat, resting on the ground.
“Climb into the ark!” called Grandmother Noah.
So the people and animals helped each other climb into the Crone Moon Ark, and when they were inside that silver crescent, the wind did not touch them. Then a great storm arose, with terrible lashing rain, hail, and lightening.
“Hold to each other! Do not let go!” called Grandmother Noah.
And the people and animals held to each other inside their ark, and the storm did not touch them. The people who had not come to the altar saw the storm knocking branches from trees and shaking houses, and the rivers beginning to flood, and they were afraid.
“What will become of us?” they cried.
Then they saw Grandmother Noah and her family, safe inside the Crone Moon ark, surrounded by calm and protected from the storm.
“Let us come, too! Save us!” cried the people, and they rushed to the altar.
They were afraid that the people at the altar, people they had scorned and rejected, would not let them into the ark of safety. But those at the altar opened their hearts to their kindred and welcomed them to come into the ark.
But Grandmother Noah would not let them in.
“You may not come in here,” she said. “You are forgetting something.”
“Please, tell us what we are forgetting!” cried the people, afraid the storm would wash them away.
“Look at our ark, and then tell me what you are forgetting,” said Grandmother Noah.
The people looked at the Crone Moon Ark, full of people and animals holding each other. Then they remembered.
“Our animals! We did not bring our animals! But it is too late to go back for them now!” cried the people.
“It is not too late,” said Grandmother Noah. “You may not enter the ark if you betray your animal kindred, the least and the lowest of your broken community.”
The people cried out in anger and fear, but Grandmother Noah would not let them into the ark. So the people turned back out into the storm and flood, the rain, hail, and tearing winds, to find their animals. The rains and floods drenched them until they were completely sodden with water. The wind and hail pounded them until they were sore and bruised. But they worked together and did not stop until they had found every single animal in their community, every dog, cat, bird, rabbit, mouse, squirrel, cow, sheep, goat, duck, goose, horse, frog, and snake. It took the people hours to gather all the animals in the storm and flood, and then they took them to the Crone Moon Ark.
“Now you may enter,” said Grandmother Noah, and the people and animals helped each other to enter the silver crescent.
As soon as they gathered inside the ark and held on to each other there, the storm did not touch them. All through that dark night, the storm raged, and it raged for forty days and nights. The people grew weak and exhausted inside the ark. But they had the food and water and fire and feather coverings that Grandmother Noah had gathered there. The storm and flood washed away all the people’s houses, all their belongings, and all their treasures. But the ark of the Crone Moon carried all the people and their animals through the storm in safety.
Finally, the storm waned, the winds and rain calmed, and the sun shone again. Grandmother Noah did not know whether it was safe to leave the ark, so she called her friend Raven and asked her to fly out and see whether the land was safe. Raven flew out, but she did not know whether the land was safe. She had no answer for Grandmother Noah.
Grandmother Noah waited a few days and then called her friend Dove and asked her to fly out to see whether the land was safe. Three times, Dove flew out searching. Finally, Dove came back with an olive branch in her beak, and by that Grandmother Noah knew the land was at peace.
The people returned to where their homes had been, but all was washed away. At first, the people wept and complained at the loss of all their belongings and wealth. But they gradually realized that complaining would not bring back their belongings. They had to start over, building new homes and forming a new community. As they worked the simple tasks of building homes, gathering food, and forming their community, they remembered the joy of a simple life. They remembered the importance of sharing and togetherness, of harmony with the land and all creatures. They remembered the strength, wisdom, and power of Crone Goddess and Grandmother Noah, and they were careful to treat her with respect and reverence. Most of all, they remembered that the outcasts of their community had saved them and led them to new life. They remembered that they all needed each other, and that they all were one kindred.
The people built an altar together in the center of their community. They gathered often at the altar to tell their stories and share each other’s joy and sorrow. They all brought generous gifts to share, and they danced and sang their gratitude to the Womb and Source of all Creation.
And Crone Goddess saw that her people had learned to let go. They had stopped being greedy and selfish. They no longer used up the land around them. Now they treated it as a revered and sacred friend. They stopped cutting down many trees. Now they planted trees and lovingly protected the forests and the animals who live in the forests. They no longer set some members of the community up as more important and more powerful than others. They did not oppress anyone or treat anyone with scorn. Instead, they treated each person as equally sacred and precious.
The stormy death-birth waters of Goddess, who is Crone, and Mother and Matron, had washed the people free of their chains and diseases of fearful greed. They were reborn into her divine image once more, as compassionate and openhearted kindred. So Crone Goddess became reborn also, as the young Girl Goddess. She painted a beautiful rainbow in the clouds and told them, “This is the sign of our covenant. New life will always be available to you, and I will always help you to let go of your prisons, of anything that divides and oppresses you. I will always provide you an ark of kindred to help you weather the storms of death and rebirth. I will always give you the hope of a new moon that lives within the darkness. My love will always be stronger than your fear. I set my seal upon you, my rainbow people: freedom and wellness and joy.
Trelawney Grenfell-Muir teaches courses about Sex, Dating, Marriage, and Work in the Religion and Theological Studies Department at Merrimack College and about Cross Cultural Conflict in the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A Senior Discussant at the Religion and the Practices of Peace Initiative at Harvard University, she holds an M.Div. from the Boston University School of Theology with a concentration in Religion and Conflict, and a Ph.D. in Conflict Studies and Religion with the University Professors Program at Boston University. Previously a fellow at the Institute of Culture, Religion, and World Affairs and at the Earhart Foundation, Grenfell-Muir has conducted field research in situations of ongoing conflict in Syria, Lebanon, and Northern Ireland. Her dissertation explores the methodology, constraints, and effectiveness of clergy peacebuilders in Northern Ireland. She has been an invited speaker in community settings and at MIT, Boston University, Tufts, and Boston College on topics of gender violence, economic injustice, and religious or ethnic conflicts and has also moderated panels on genetic engineering, cloning, and other bioethics issues. She currently writes articles, book chapters, and liturgical resources about feminist, nature-based Christianity.
38 thoughts on “A Feminist Retelling of Noah’s Ark by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”
I love this story, Trelawney! Thank you! I’m always wondering how we could retell some of the old stories for today. This one is perfect.
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Thank you, Barbara. That’s very kind and affirming. My girls really love this one. They ask for itball the time.
Love the image of the crone-moon boat. If you are remaining in the church, I hope you will teach Sunday School. There are so very many stories that could use feminist retelling.
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Thank you, Elizabeth. Yes… I think you are right, I should probably teach Sunday School, so my girls enjoy it more, and many stories do need retelling.
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This made me cry.
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Blessings to you, Carol. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
This is a beautiful story but what I fear this that the domineering god of the church will insert itself into your daughter’s mind and body like a poison in spite of our courageous and inventive re- imaginings and re -tellings. PLEASE do not underestimate the patriarchal underpinnings that define our culture and continue to shape the lives of our children
And have you considered removing your child from a place that tells such frightening stories?
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Thank you, Sara. Yes, in fact, we have left a few churches that were just too sexist for us, and we probably will again. This happened two years ago-ish at a different church. But they are getting very good at seeing everything— media, things other adults and kids say, religion— through a feminist critique lens. I always give them the option: Do you want to go to a church that doesn’t really like Christianity and rarely if ever talks about Jesus, or a church that talks about Jesus but uses all this male language?” They pick Jesus. But most of their religious formation is from me. We call Jesus “she” pretty often, too. They take everything they hear in church with a lot of skepticism until we deconstruct it together afterward. 😏
Brava! I like your story. It’s a hundred times better than the version about that nasty, punitive god in the so-called holy book. I hope you’ll write more stories like this one. And I second Sara’s question about removing your child from a place that tells frightening stories. Write more of your own stories!
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Thank you, Barbara! I so appreciate your affirmation. I am eager to write more stories! I have written ten, and that feels like a good start, but… I realized two years ago that I feel called to be a writer, and so your vote of confidence means a tremendous amount! I responded to Sara above about the church – yes, I may well end up teaching their Sunday school class myself! :)
I hope you’ll post more of your stories here on FAR. Stories are highly effective teaching tools. Go for it!!
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Trelawney, I think it would be cool if you rewrote the tale of Judith and Holofernes. Surely there’s a better way to end it!
Barbara, wow…. that would be…. so fun…. my mind is spinning with possibilities. I have this other academic project I’m buried in right now, but wow…. you are so right…. I’m reeling with my desire to work on that one, now!!! thank you!!! awesome suggestion!!!!!
Trelawney, I love this story! It is so delightful! Do you have others–perhaps published in book form?
Thank you, Tim! Xochitl and Gina (the owners of this site) are hoping to publish them in book form, but of course that just takes a long time. Thank you for your affirming words! :)
Love your image of Noah’s Ark, thanks, Trelawney, so ancient the scene somehow, and the animals seeming so young and innocent and delightful. The colors too so beautiful. And I love that name, “Grandmother Noah” — absolutely priceless, thanks for sharing.
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Thank you, Sarah! I confess that the picture was chosen by FAR, not by me, but I was very happy to see it also. I am glad you like “Grandmother Noah” – it was a bit surprising for me every time I read it at first, but now I have grown to love it very deeply. She turned out to be such a wonderful friend.
fo an true arche to happen it would have to be bigger then any ship ever built n have enough food for long time n lots people feeding daily n getting ride of the poo left behind
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Yep. These mythological stories have wonderful truths in them, but I see the truths as more symbolic than historical. So it’s an archetypal ark! :)
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Trelawney, I’d love it if you’d come on my radio show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine, and read your wonderful story. Please contact me and let me know.
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Karen, what a lovely invitation, I would be honored. Thank you! I will contact you! And I will find out more about your show – it sounds like something I will wish I had found long ago!
Karen, I sent you a message on facebook messenger – I wasn’t sure the best way to contact you.
Wow, what a creative, beautiful, and inspiring rewriting of the story, Trelawney!
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Thank you, Linda! That makes me so happy! I’m very glad you enjoyed it! :)
A thought from the middle of the night: You need to rewrite more of those Bible stories. How about the one where a bunch of kids are making fun of a bald prophet (Elijah? Elisha?) and the prophet sends a wolf after them? Or maybe you could rewrite Hosea and NOT compare the Israelites to his whoring wife? Or maybe just any other story in which Jehovah smites his worshipers? Stories teach us more than most people think they do. Of course, you know this already. Write on!
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Thank you, Barbara!! I will write on! You are motivating me to get back to it! Have you read any of the other rewritten Bible stories I have posted here at FAR? You are right – there is so much to “fix” – in particular, the sexism and misogyny! It’s very, very satisfying to do that. For me, it feels as though I am digging through muck to find a beautiful pearl of wisdom, washing it clean, and placing it lovingly in a new, meticulously crafted setting, where its beauty and value can be appreciated and understood. That sounds pretty pretentious. But washing off the sexism to find the value of ancient stories feels important to me… it feels like holy work. <3
I must admit I did not actually read your re-telling of the story of Noah’s Ark – Im sure its good in its own way and that you are a creative, imaginative writer.
I am concerned that you seem to be doing to Christianity what they did to Pagans/the Goddess religion and long term, I don’t think that’s helpful. You have previously referred to Christ as a ‘Hag’ and your sister Tallyesin (apologies for the mis spelling) insinuates that Christ is just some ‘dead white guy’ and I believe takes old hymns and changes the wording. Im not sure I feel that strongly about word changing – the hymns are written by ordinary people, not prophets, but there does seem to be a bit of a trend here.
I do think there are some words that are irredeemable in our Society. As someone who has had her neighbour scream at her that she is a witch and and an old Hag, I can happily attest that I am happy to reclaim the word witch, but at this present time, I am not happy to be referred to as a Hag. Maybe around people I know and know that they are coming from the same place of basic love and respect/humour. Perhaps in the same way the word n…r is absolutely not acceptable except perhaps within the black community themselves or by white people they trust.
I would, at this point, hugely recommend the book ‘Witch’ by Lisa Lister. Brilliant book.
I can quite happily incorporate my firm christian beliefs with more pagan/goddess practices and am appalled by our christian history and saddened and angered by many practices that occur within the christian religion, however, I personally, am not prepared to say catagorically that the bible is made up of make believe stories. No-one can know that, for sure.
This is coming from someone who at present, is not able to worship in church. This being due to the fact that I am single handedly challenging them and have been for the last 4 years about their practice of taking 5 year old children, without their parents permission, to a church building and role playing the marriage ceremony, in front of an ordained Priest.
I don’t think we should resort to name calling (which is verbal abuse) calling Jesus Christ a Hag is name calling, and systematically destroying what they have built up, just to replace it with our own – however angry we are.
Wouldn’t it be better to work with respect? Yes, we have been oppressed and yes, we are being oppressed, but swapping one oppression for another? would that truly work?
Whilst many on this forum would probably cheer that churches in my country are closing down, turning into pubs, luxury flats etc, I personally have been devastated even though, I have got to the point of thinking it’s their own fault and perhaps something that needs to happen.
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Helen, thank you for your thoughtful reply. I appreciate the sincere wrestling you are offering here. I think that kind of authentic, honest wrestling is the most important work we all need to do. It is not easy work, and it helps to do it in a community of loving, supportive peers/friends.
I find it so interesting that you link this story with my previous piece and with my sister Tallessyn’s work as well. You are right to do so – it does feel to us as though everything we do is connected and part of a broader, deeper effort to reform our Christian tradition so that it can be alive and healthy. To us, the process of resurrection is done in the community, in the body, and it involves both dying and rebirth, both letting go and creating new, both honoring and preserving the past and liberating it from its chains to find freedom and wellness.
I will try to address your points one at a time.
Regarding Christ as Hag… you might be right. It might be impossible to reclaim the word “hag” to honor its original meaning. But to me, it is worth the effort. Part of the reason is that I had a life-changing experience in Istanbul at an ancient Christian cathedral called Hagia Sophia – that name refers to the eternal Wisdom that is the divine creative force, which births and orders all creation – and it is where the author of John got his symbol of Jesus as Logos/The Word. So every time we say “the Word” we are saying “Hagia Sophia”… and the truth, the beautiful truth of that symbol strikes a powerful chord in me. I know pagans and Christopagans who are reclaiming the word “Hag” as part of their croning ceremonies, and they are finding that process healing and liberating. The words “queer” and to some extent “bitch” have been reclaimed by some people, as well as other words… I hope “hag” can be as well. Christ is Hagia Sophia, and the word “Hag” comes from that “Hagia”… it is a sign of just how sick, just how broken and diseased our culture has become, that we would take a word that originally means “wise woman elder” and think of it as irredeemably negative/insulting.
Thank you for your book recommendation! I have heard of this book, I will take a look.
Regarding the Bible as “made up stories” – perhaps you saw my comment above. As I said, my approach is not just respectful – it is deeply reverent. For me, it feels as though I am digging through muck to find a beautiful pearl of wisdom, washing it clean, and placing it lovingly in a new, meticulously crafted setting, where its beauty and value can be appreciated and understood. That sounds pretty pretentious. But washing off the sexism to find the value of ancient stories feels important to me… it feels like holy work.
I do not believe the Bible is “nothing but made up stories” – my seminary training taught me that the Bible was written in two forms: mythological truth and the holiness code. The Hebrew people saw mythological truth as the most important, most powerful truth – the truth that defines reality and shapes our moral consciousness, our identity, our sense of the meaning and purpose of life and humanity, our relationship with the Ultimate/the Divine. The holiness code, in contrast, was meant to be taken as literally as possible, in order to observe the proper laws.
Of course, various reformers throughout the Bible rewrote the mythological stories, so we have two versions of Kings/Chronicles, two creation narratives in Genesis, four Gospels, etc. And reformers also reinterpreted the holiness codes. So I am acting solidly within the biblical tradition, doing exactly what the writers themselves did – I am seeking to make the biblical truths as relevant and powerful as they can be for my current community and context. I do not do any of this lightly or flippantly. I hope you will actually read my stories. I think if you do, you will see just how precious these stories are to me. They are sacred and holy. They are also a product of their time.
I do not cheer that churches are closing. I think, as you do, that it’s their own fault, and something needs to happen. The founder of my denomination, John Wesley, considered his church (Methodism) a total failure by the time he died. He called it a dead sect, empty of divine purpose. He founded Methodism as a reform movement, to help bring Anglicans back to a focus on the same things Jesus focused on – justice, economic oppression, holy living… and it did enormous good for a long time, especially in my family’s original home of Cornwall, which was very poor. But as Methodism grew more respectable and middle class, it lost its way. I take my Methodist heritage seriously, and my Celtic heritage seriously… I am staying within the Christian tradition, but I am unwilling to allow the sexism and other diseases go unnamed or unhealed. I hope you can understand (and I think you will if you read my stories) that I am a trained peacebuilder, and I approach all of my work – with hymns, with words for Christ, and with Bible stories – as a peacebuilder, a healer, and someone who loves my tradition too much NOT to try my best to give it my love in the ways it needs it most.
My time to say you might be right! Maybe the word Hag can be redeemed. Interestingly, when I typed the word earlier, I ‘mistakenly’ typed Hagia…..You made a good case for it – although I still feel hugely uncomfortable and how can Christ be a “wise woman elder”? Jesus Christ was male. I agree/believe that Christ consciousness can and is male and female and the consciousness can and does live in both.
I’m not above poking fun at christianity. I enjoyed the work of Monty Python. I adore the work of Stanley Spencer – the artist, who painted Jesus on the cross wearing red underpants and also depicted Jesus as a homeless man, bloated and looking like an alcoholic with the scripture beside it of the birds of the air have their nests, the foxes have their holes but the son of God has nowhere to lay his head.
I am reminded of Jerry Springers opera, where Jesus was portrayed, I believe, wearing a soiled nappy and apparently depicted as a homosexual.
For me, there are some words and some depictions that go too far.
I am aware of the Church, Hagia Sophia, you talk about and I am absolutely certain the origins of the word is holy and admirable. I’m curious about your experience at the church – but only share if it feels appropriate.
I suppose when I wrote my comment, I wasn’t totally aiming it at you, I had read the other comments and one is always aware that one’s comments are going to be read by a number of people.
I was interested in the term you used – christopagans – I’ve not heard of that before – that’s probably what I am – assuming that it is the merging of christian beliefs and pagan beliefs. I’ve tried calling myself a christian witch, which I am happy with in my head, but because of negative associations with the word ‘witch’, it can make my life difficult, if spoken out loud and my life is difficult enough as it is. As a christian witch or a christopagan, you don’t fit into one bracket and on the whole, certainly in the enviroment I find myself in, it can cause intense hostility. I have even been told, by a ‘friend’ (ex friend) that I need to make a decision and decide, once and for all, what I am. I know what I am – I am peacemaker and I want world peace.
With creative licence, I use some of Ghandi’s words – I am a christian, I am a jew and I am muslim. To add my own bit, I will be whatever you want, as long as we have world peace, and at the end of the day, does it really matter what I am, as long as we have world peace.
I see that you refer to “loving, supportive/friends – the insinuation being that the FAR community is just that.
In my comments I mentioned the sexual abuse of children on a mass scale by the church of England and yet you chose not to mention it. Is that being a loving and supportive peer/friend?
I have commented on this before and one person thanked me for letting people know. Is that it?
Not one person has offered to write a letter, put it on Facebook etc. Is that loving and supportive?
Is this not indicative of the problem at large – let’s ignore it and hope it goes away.
There have been women who have been sexually abused as children in this forum and been ignored – they know what it is like and yet they also stay silent.
If you are not part of the solution, you are also part of the problem.
This sort of prophetic challenge is a very important part of Christian community – any community – imo. I will try to answer your questions one at a time.
About Christ as male or female – I agree that Jesus was male, if he existed, which he probably did. However, like the biblical writers, I see mythological truth and symbolic truth as the most powerful forms of truth, rather than historicity. To me, the power of Jesus, or of Christ, to bring wellness to individuals and communities rests on how we symbolize Jesus/Christ. And Christ is much bigger and broader than the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Churches have been painting black Jesus, Asian Jesus, etc, for years -a female Jesus (or Christ) is just another way of helping people see themselves in the divine and the divine in themselves. I wrote a lot about this in previous posts – I can link them if you like!
Regarding sexual abuse – I’m sorry you felt as though I did not take it seriously. I do. I advocate for feminism constantly, and that includes a very passionate focus on violence against women and girls, especially sexual violence. Such violence is everywhere, in every community, and of course Christian communities and feminist communities are in no way exempt, despite their efforts to be safe. I guess I see these issues broadly as part of the deeper and wider societal ills that poison our culture and all its ideologies, whether religious or secular. Certain symbols and words and beliefs exacerbate the problems, and I tend to work on healing those forms of “cultural violence” that justify and perpetuate the structural violence (discrimination/exploitation) and direct violence (abuse, rape, infanticide, selective abortion, honor killings, etc) against girls and women. Most of my writing is an attempt to heal cultural violence, because cultural violence is really the base on which the other violence rests, and yet it tends to be invisible to most of us.
I was sexually abused as a child and raped by multiple men as an adult, and in a four year relationship with a violently abusive man. I work on these issues in my own way, and I work on them all the time. I am glad you have your own ways of working on these issues. I hope that together, we can make progress and find healing – in our community and our society.
So what specifically are you doing to stop the abuse of hundreds of children that are going through abuse at the hands of the Church of England, as I described in my article?
We are never going to make progress and find healing if our future generation is being systematically sexually abused (and forcing them to role play the marriage ceremony is a form of sexual abuse) by the major religion in this country ie England.
I’m a bit confused – is this group covenanted such that each of us is expected to commit to specific forms of activism on the specific issues that any other member brings up? That would be a bit odd… I myself do quite a bit of activism, but I do not expect other members in this group to commit to specific acts of advocacy in response to issues I raise. I appreciate your passion for this specific example you raise, of a particular practice in a particular denomination in a particular location, which is clearly sexist and abusive. I am glad you are focusing on it. Personally, my focus is more on prostitution, rape culture, pornography, and sexist language/symbols/cultural norms. I’m not going to list all the details of my advocacy, and I don’t expect anyone else to list theirs for me, either. I appreciate this group for the ways it raises our awareness and gives us each a chance to have a voice about feminism and religion. Perhaps I expect different things from it compared to what you expect. I’ve never yet been in any community – religious, family, friends, civic, etc – in which anytime one member raised an advocacy issue, all other members were required to commit to engaging it the way/degree the first member desired. What I expect is thoughtful, respectful discussion of the blog each member posts, and I do find that here. Learning and thinking together has value for me, and I see a lot of our members doing a lot of good advocating for various important issues in today’s world.
You are not confused at all – merely being sarcastic.
Saying that the expectation that I had that a feminism and religion group would react more vehemently and tangibly, when told about a religion abusing hundreds/thousands of children on a regular basis would be “a bit odd” is calling into doubt my sanity for such an expectation.
This is not a competition as to who does the most advocacy – I don’t even use those terms when describing what I do.
I am certainly not expecting members of the group to put in the same amount of effort/passion that I do, but to leave it all solely down to me and not even offer to put a post on Facebook?
I am not saying that I don’t enjoy being a member of FAR but it is difficult to hear it described as a “loving and supportive” community, when, when sexual abuse of children by religion crops up, everybody goes silent, sees no need to remotely get actively involved in any way, shape or form.
It’s no good having a voice about these things, if having a voice is where it stops. Sometimes, love needs action as well as a voice.
I appreciate your honesty about your own abuse and I also realise you are grieving for the loss of your father.
Well, I wish you could see into my heart, that I meant no sarcasm or disrespect. I was hoping to diffuse the tension and find some peaceful accord. I can understand your frustration. I have frequently felt frustrated that people in various contexts (family, friends, facebook, churches) did not join my own highest priority advocacy efforts. I eventually learned not to take it personally. For me, it is sexist language. When people I know have been taught just how violent it is for us all to be using male words such as “Father” or “Lord” or “God” for the divine, still use those words and lead worship with them, I struggle to be patient and accepting that we are all on our own path. I mean no disrespect or discord with you. I wish you every success in your campaign with your church. If there is some concrete action I can take to mend things, such as sign an existing petition, send it on over. Peace to you.