Sophia, Goddess, and Feminist Spirituality: Imagining the Future by Carol P. Christ

Though represented by its detractors as an incursion of paganism into Christianity, and presented as an integrally and intrinsically Christian phenomenon by its supporters, the truth about the Re-Imagining Conference and movement is that it was a product of a wider feminist awakening. The critique of patriarchal religions that emerged in the academy and in churches and synagogues in the late 1960s and early 1970s was part of the emerging feminist uprising. The feminist movement placed a question mark over all patriarchal texts and traditions, secular and religious, and as such was beholden to none.

In the spring of 1971, Roman Catholic Christian Mary Daly published “After the Death of God the Father” in the liberal Catholic magazine Commonweal. She asserted that the God whose death was touted in the “Death of God” movement was an idol fashioned in the image of male power and authority. She called for “the becoming of new symbols” to express the new becoming of women. In the summer of 1971, a group of nuns from Alverno College convened the first Conference of Women Theologians. Besides sparking dialogue about the role of women in religions, the conference endorsed my call to form a women’s group at the fall meetings of the American Academy of Religion, up until then a gathering of several thousand male scholars of religion, with only a handful of women scholars in attendance. At winter solstice, Z Budapest launched the Susan B. Anthony Coven #1 in Los Angeles publishing a Manifesto calling on women to return to the ancient religion of the Goddess. Continue reading “Sophia, Goddess, and Feminist Spirituality: Imagining the Future by Carol P. Christ”

Can You Kill the Spirit? What Happened to Female Imagery for God in Christian Worship? by Carol P. Christ

carol at green party 2014 croppedWhen I first began to think about female language and images for God I imagined that changing God-He to God-She and speaking of God as Mother some of the time would be a widespread practice in churches and synagogues by now. I was more worried about whether or not images of God as a dominating Other would remain intact. Would God-She be imaged as a Queen or a Woman of War who at Her whim or will could wreak havoc on Her own people?

Forty years later, very little progress has been made on the question of female imagery for God. I suspect that most people in the pews today have never even had to confront prayers to Sophia, God the Mother, or God-She. Most people consider the issue of female language in the churches to have been resolved with inclusive language liturgies and translations of the Bible that use gender neutral rather than female inclusive language.

In her new book, Women, Ritual, and Power: Placing Female Imagery of God in Christian Worship, Elizabeth Ursic states that one of the reasons that the issue of female language seems less pressing than it once did is because those for whom the issue was important have for the most part left the church. But the question is why. Continue reading “Can You Kill the Spirit? What Happened to Female Imagery for God in Christian Worship? by Carol P. Christ”

%d bloggers like this: