I had a startling experience in church recently. It was Father’s Day, and the pastor was talking about how “God is our heavenly Father.” For the first time in 17 years, that idea held some appeal to me. But no sooner did the thought enter my mind, then it was ripped away by the realization that my church will never allow me to symbolize the divine as a “father.”
I grew up with “God the Father” language saturating my churches. I also grew up with a rageful, unsafe, sometimes abusive father, who was also wonderful, empowering, and feminist in many ways. Seventeen years ago, I attended my first seminary lecture on the topic of Feminist Theology. That day changed my life, as did my exposure to feminist theology throughout seminary and at a queer Methodist congregation. My journey took me through more scholarship and liturgy, jobs as chaplain or as assistant pastor struggling to convince my communities that sexism matters, parenting young daughters who lament their own subconscious male divine programming, and finding a prophetic call to speak, write, and sing the Female Divine. Continue reading “My Church Won’t Let Me Call the Divine “Father” by Trelawney Grenfell-Muir”
I am privileged to live near a wood where I can walk with my family, my dog, or alone – when I have the courage. I fear the woods, see; not because of physical danger from humans or wild animals, at least, not really. I fear the woods because time in the wilderness forces me to think and feel things I normally can distract myself from.
It took me years to figure out why I resist going to the woods alone. I’m not really alone, of course – there are other people and their dogs on the trails, not to mention all the wild animals and plants whose homes I am visiting. But without a walking companion, sometimes, something rushes in, something that crushes me, so that I can’t breathe. Is it Nature’s Wall of Grief, as nature connection mentor Jon Young posits – the stark reality of the ecological crisis and my own disconnect with my earthly roots? Is it the summation of all my past grief and trauma, or a fear inherited from my ancestors? Is it whatever feelings of fear, inadequacy, or pain that I usually process in smaller, more manageable quantities? All of the above? No, no… it’s much safer to wait until someone wants to go with me. Continue reading “To Love the Earth and Fear the Forest: My Paradox as an Ecofeminist by Tallessyn Zawn Grenfell-Lee”