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Faith and Feminism

152. Feminism and Faith

This is the first of several on the issue of feminism—not necessarily all in a row—just know that I’ll come back to it. Secular and faith-based have usually blended together for me.

Years ago I went to a book group at a library in Rockland County where we discussed The Women’s Room by Marilyn French. And then I joined a women’s poetry writing group, led by Honor Moore. I think of those two events as the start of my feminism thinking and exploration.

And meanwhile at New City United Methodist Church as we sang hymns of brotherhood, mankind, and a male God, I fumed. I met regularly with the pastor of New City and he listened as I vented my anger and frustration. I also started on Sunday evenings attending Washington Square Church in Greenwich Village where I knew that the service would be clear of sexism and as Paul Abels preached, I knew I could relax and worship.

For me language is important and at the same time, it isn’t all of it. There is a basic belief in the self-worth of each person, female and male. And then there is a living that out. It feels we should be well past the “first” phenomena—first woman to do this, or that, or be this or that.

I never dreamed it would take so long to make changes. The Church continues to have a primarily male God. But for me God is he and she, and love, and giver of grace. God is tender, and strong, and holds within God-self all the attributes of the best of women and men.

There is still work to be done, both within the church and within the society; and I will write more.

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