Here is a selection of my writings including papers, lectures, and sermons. The listing is updated periodically. Please feel free to download and use any of this material. I would be interested in hearing any responses to the ideas presented.
::. Women in Pants
I learned a lot during my time at Sancta Sophia Seminary but I never really fit in because I don’t wear dresses. I wrote this account of my experience as a pants-wearing-woman about a year after I left the seminary.
I wrote this dialogue between a teacher and a student after taking a class in meditation taught by Carol Parrish at Sancta Sophia Seminary. The dialogue describes meditation as a process, distinguishes between passive and active meditation, and introduces the technique of Seed Thought Meditation taught at the seminary. Parrish emphasizes the importance of meditation in guiding our actions. “Almost anyone can be peaceful in meditation but the point is to bring it into your day to day life.”
Despite the violent antagonisms that exists today between religious groups, an experience of unity or oneness is at the heart of each tradition. The fundamental difference in religions is the way in which direct experience of the divine is articulated. The esoteric and mystical branches of the world religions – such as Sufism in Islam, Kabbalah in Judaism, and Gnosticism in Christianity—teach how to reach an intuitive experience of unity.
Women gathering in “myth-making” circles telling our stories, identifying patterns, and understanding life events in terms of universal archetypes is a form of spiritual activism leading to what has been called the “reawakening of the Goddess.”
Based on Karen Armstrong’s book The Battle for God, and her claim that religious fundamentalist movements are a modern phenomenon not throwback to the past, this paper describes how modern, secularist, rational, scientific society has pushed “nonrational” aspects of religion into the collective unconscious and this is breaking through in various forms of fundamentalism. If secularists and fundamentalists are to escape from the current escalation of hostility and recrimination each side must look at their own position more honestly.
Catholic priests have been sexually abusing children for many years and the institution of the church has enabled this practice. At the heart of this problem is the deeply ingrained belief that sexuality and spirituality are mutually exclusive. This separation of sexuality and spirituality is totally antithetical to my own experience and that of other women including Carter Heywood who believes “The erotic is our most fully embodied experience of the love of God.” Judy Grahn who describes her experiences of love making that takes the lovers into the domain of higher consciousness, creativity, and insight. While Audre Lorde speaks of erotic power as “an assertion of the life-force of women; of that creative energy empowered, the knowledge and use of which we are now reclaiming in one language, our history, our dancing, our loving, our work, our lives.”
The world is out of order. We are experiencing a time of great change and chaos. The old separatist and materialistic worldview is no longer feasible. The world as we have known it is over. To prepare for the new we must look deep within ourselves for wisdom, for Sophia.
By coming to terms with our own bodies, refusing the Barbie-doll image promoted by mass media, and developing a fully embodied self, women are taking humanity beyond the oppositional dualism of patriarchy into a whole new mode of perception and experience. It is not a matter of integrating an abstract “feminine principle” with an abstract “masculine principle.” It is a growing beyond dualism and creating a new humanity, no longer at war with nature and the body, but existing in a state of mutuality and partnership with all aspects of the of the web of life.
As a feminist I agree with Mary Daly’s observation that major world religions function to legitimize patriarchy and the oppression of women. For many years I totally rejected Christianity, the religion of my parents. However, when I was in my late 50’s I began having disturbing dreams and realized, with the help of a Jungian therapist, that it was important for my psychological well-being that I make peace with the religion I was born into. This paper is a description of that journey.
In this lecture I describe my own experience coming out as and its significance in my spiritual life. Drawing on Judy Grahn’s book, Another Mother Tongue, I describe modern gay culture as a remnant of an ancient gay culture in which gay and lesbian people played important acknowledged social and spiritual roles. We have been here from the beginning and we have sacred roles to play today.
I gave this sermon as part of the requirements for my graduation from Sancta Sophia Seminary. The title comes from Thomas Berry’s claim that in the original Christian tradition there were two books of revelation, the Book of Nature and the Bible. It is now time for us to put the Bible on the shelf and turn our attention to the Book of Nature. The sermon gives suggestions and examples of what this means.
May 27, 2009