Bridging Our Divides by Gina Messina

My voice has been absent from the FAR Community as of late; and without good reason. Rather than engaging in dialogue, I have remained in a silo, alone with my thoughts. Something shifted for me a few years ago; and I haven’t been the same. I can’t articulate it. But what I can say is that from that moment I’ve question my feminism and faith and feel as if I’ve lost a part of my identity.

With such turmoil in our nation and the great division among us, I’ve wondered if being so steadfast in my principles has made me part of the problem. It seems we are in the midst of a political civil war; and if I’m being honest, so many of the people I love are standing on the other side of the divide. I haven’t known how to reconcile this, and I’ve been grieving. 

The intersection of religion, gender, and politics has been an intense focus of my research and work for quite some time. And now, to engage in such work serves as a reminder of our current state and the hurt so many of us feel deep in our core. We wonder how anyone could think differently from us when the answers are so obvious. With such critical issues on the line it is easy to write each other off, to walk away, sever relationships, and cling to the comfort of an echo chamber. Yet, with such a response, the division continues and there is no reprieve from our grief. 

As I wonder how we can overcome this, I return to the philosophy of Carol Christ. Sharing our stories, hearing our own experience in those of another reminds us that we are not alone. It also reminds us that commonalities do exist among us that can help bridge our divides. 

In search of healing in my own journey, I’ve decided to do what I know – start another project. If you know me, you might be laughing right now, or rolling your eyes. Nonetheless, I’ve launched a podcast and workshop series to share our stories and discuss when it is okay to be bold, take risks, and break the rules to create a better outcome. My hope is that we recognize one another in the small intimate details of our lives and find a space to begin a conversation that centers on what brings us together.

It might be foolish or a band aid to shield my own wounds. But in these moments, I think it is important that we consider what we are grieving and how we might re-envision our lives in a way that allows us to move forward.

Listen to my latest podcast episode featuring Monica Coleman or consider registering for a workshop.

Gina Messina, Ph.D. is an American feminist scholar, Catholic theologian, activist, and mom. She serves as Associate Professor and Department Chair of Religious Studies at Ursuline College and is co-founder of FeminismAndReligion.com. She has written for the Huffington Post and is author or editor of five books including Women Religion Revolution. Messina is a widely sought after speaker and has presented across the US at universities, organizations, conferences and on national platforms including appearances on MSNBC, Tavis Smiley, NPR and the TEDx stage. She has also spoken at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations to discuss matters impacting the lives of women around the globe. Messina is active in movements to end violence against women and explores opportunities for spiritual healing. Connect with her on Twitter @GMessinaPhD, Instagram: @GinaMessinaPhDFacebook, and her website ginamessina.com.



Categories: General

8 replies

  1. “to consider what we are grieving”… big question. I have been grieving for 4 years since the Donald began his course of destruction, and again when Warren and Sanders lost the nomination. siggghhh It does seem obvious to me that though economic inequality is not the only important issue, it must be addressed with stronger measures than Biden seems prepared to implement.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Good for you to admit and contemplate your issues around gender, politics, and (especially) religion! You’re really not alone, you know. I think part of the trouble is that people aren’t gathering in groups to talk about issues these days. Well, not smart, careful people. And the despotism of the Huge Orange Tyrannosaurus Rex still occupying and White House has indeed made everything worse. He’s inspiring violence all over the U.S. Civilized lands around the world are watching the U.S. to see what’s going to happen in about a month. I’m worried, too.

    We each need healing. We all need healing. The whole U.S. needs healing during this political civil war. (Nice term!) Thanks for your courage as shown in your post. Bright blessings to all of us.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. First, I love the name of your podcast “When is it time to just eat the donut?” – the answer is, to me, it is always the right time to eat the donut.

    Second, I think what you are doing is perfect for our times. I see the need for healing and reconciliation on so many levels in just about everyone I encounter – sometimes related to recent crises and other times multigenerational wounds that have built up over decades, centuries or millennia. People in the community of those exploring feminism and religion, women’s spirituality, the Sacred Female, transformation of established religions, or however we each define what we do have so much to offer. Our newly rediscovered heritage of female deities and holy women and practices related to them, women’s spiritual art over the ages, our ability to view society’s structures from new frameworks, our friendship and dedication to each other and non-hierarchical ways of being in community, and so much more is just what the world needs now. We have a lot of work to do, and sharing our stories and ideas is a wonderful way to both heal ourselves and participate in the work of creating a better future.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I was very moved by this post. Along with so many I am grieving grieving grieving and struggling to find a bridge to the other side. Recently, I had a dream that seemed hopeful – in the dream I could imagine bridging the gap that seems to be ever more looming. In my day life I just can’t wrap my mind around the indifference of people around this pandemic – it has destroyed my sense that compassion is a reality for most people – but I continue to ask how do I bridge the gap without compromising the importance of a value system that has compassion at its center.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Brava, Gina. Your new project sounds like a wise and inspired Rx for us all.

    Like

  6. Thank you so much for your podcasts, I listened to the first one and took it in all the great insights. Now the rest of your podcasts I marked as my favorites on my computer to listen any other time. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  7. Another project! You go! Harness that creative energy you hold so abundantly. Thank you for making plain our grieving I believe we have been grieving loss for even longer than the present administration. I have at least. The recent administration, for me, has been a ripping off of the band-aid that covered up so much that has been lost. Time to reclaim.

    Like

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  1. Bridging Our Divides by Gina Messina – bestthoughtssecrets.com

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