Feminism and “The Force:” Thinking Through “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” by Sara Frykenberg

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), on the other hand, works to resist the call of the “light.” The Force Awakens puts emphasis on the villain’s perspective; and my question is, is this because many of us who are in the audience need to see how we are also like this villain?

Sara FrykenbergSci-fi fan that I am, I would feel remiss if I failed to discuss Star Wars: The Force Awakens here on feminismandreligion.com (warning, spoilers ahead). Yet, despite the fact that I have seen the movie two times since its release and the many, many discussions of this movie already out there, I have yet to form some conclusion as to the relationship between feminism or religion, and Star Wars.

Image sourced from here.

On the one hand, The Force Awakens is just like the other Star Wars movies. ‘Good guys’ fight the ‘bad guys,’ a hero/ine emerges and some characters are tragically lost, either by choosing the wrong side or when killed by emerging villains. Interesting iterations of “the Hero’s Journey,” these movies fulfill standard mythic tropes—mythic tropes that also tend reinforce our existent social structures and ideals… so, often kyriarchal ideals of power. Continue reading “Feminism and “The Force:” Thinking Through “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” by Sara Frykenberg”

Scholars of Mythology by Barbara Ardinger 

Barbara ArdingerHere’s how my mind leaps around. I was mooning about and trying to figure out what I wanted to write for this blog when I picked up one of the books in the stack at the other end of the couch. I bought The Mythology of Eden by Arthur George and Elena George because I’d read the thoughtful review by Judith Laura, a Goddess scholar I know and respect.

In their introduction, the Georges present a paragraph by biblical scholar Millar Burrows that explains that myth is:

a symbolic, approximate expression of truth which the human mind cannot perceive sharply and completely, but can only glimpse vaguely, and therefore cannot adequately or accurately express. … It implies not falsehood, but truth; not primitive, naïve misunderstanding, but insight more profound than scientific description and logical analysis can ever achieve. The language of myth in this sense is consciously inadequate, being simply the nearest we can come to a formulation of what we can see very darkly. … The procedure is quite legitimate if [we] understand what is being done (p. xii). (Burrows’ book is An Outline of Biblical Theology, published in 1946.)

Mind leap: Wow, I said to myself, does this describe the revisionist fairy tales I write? I try to see through that dark glass more clearly and recast old ideas in new ways. (I hope this doesn’t sound too pretentious. I don’t mean it to.)

Mind leap: And, I further said to myself, we scholars who write for Feminism and Religion often write about myth, though we don’t always acknowledge that our religious stories are indeed myths. It’s like the old joke—“If I believe it, it’s religion. If you (or they) believe it, it’s myth.” Even though we sometimes call our myths the inerrant word of this god or that goddess, the stories in all of our holy books are our instructive myths. Read Burrows’ definition again. Continue reading “Scholars of Mythology by Barbara Ardinger “

“JC” by amina wadud

Amina Wadud 2 I am Muslim, by choice, practice and vocation

It’s been more than three decades, and certainly most of the influential time of my own theological/social justice career, since I was first introduced to Joseph Campbell (may he rest in “bliss”).  He was still alive then, and my husband and I were like geeks following his PBS series on Myths and Metaphors, and reading all his books.  We called him “JC”, an intentional play on initials and Jesus Christ.  Both of us Muslims by choice, we embrace the Gospels as part of the divine legacy of revelation and accept that they come from the same Source as the Qur’an, the Torah, and other sacred texts, but we fall short of the divination of Jesus.  The grey area of this is hard put for some Christians because “accepting Christ” means to accept the story of his birth, death and resurrection as formula bringing salvation.

We accept his extraordinary divine mission.  Our sacred text not only recaps the virgin birth but also gives Jesus the gift of speech from the cradle where he confirms that his unmarried mother was not a loose woman, but rather the bringer of a Divine miracle, and as such, a miracle herself.  Maybe at another time I will discuss how Mary configures so uniquely in my own feminist theology as read through the Qur’an, but, today I have in mind something about the transformation I went through with Joseph Campbell, starting with the virgin birth.  Continue reading ““JC” by amina wadud”

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