Theology both fascinates me and irritates the daylights out of me. Theology means the study of the nature of God and of religious beliefs. The study of what (or who) humans consider to be divine and why constitutes a large part of the interest and allure that mythology provides for me. Our collective search for meaning within ourselves and also through something altogether grander and more compelling than ourselves appears to be intrinsic in being human.
Currently and historically, theological or religious studies focuses upon a God or Gods as well as looking deeply at the religious beliefs that encircle him or them. For me, this emphasis on a patriarchal divine male led me to turn toward mythology.
Working from within: religious women as change agents
For a lot of women, however, feminist or not, being part of a religion remains deeply meaningful. A number of these women have taken on the challenge of trying to change their particular religion or theology from the inside out.
I completely admire and applaud their efforts. In the spirit of appreciation, for my religious readers who may enjoy news and resources on agents of change from the inside out, I offer you the following:
The Atlantic recently profiled two female theologians Danya Ruttenberg and Bromleigh McCleneghan. Both women are actively changing their religion’s perspective on parenting. Each woman wrote a book on their respective faiths and parenting. The article is a engaging conversation on a topic that mothers (and fathers) may find affirming and informative.
“Women’s work with bodies and fluids is not just “not holy,” but profane. Not just “soft,” but really not a part of spiritual life.” —B. McCleneghan
“I had to build a bridge between the things that Martin Buber was saying and the things the Talmud was saying and the lived experience on the ground with small children.”—D. Ruttenberg
For feminist readers of all faiths, if you don’t know the blog Feminism and Religion, I highly recommend it. This blog offers a broad spectrum of topics and contributors. Many are very well-known within their fields, but all of them serve up savory food for thought.
Another blog, Faith in Feminism explores “conversations on religion and gender equality.” Although it appears that new content is stalled, the content that is available also showcases a multiplicity of women’s voices. Worth reading!
And finally, hopefully readers know about resources such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s The Women’s Bible, the on-going work of the feminist Muslim women of Musawah , Sisters in Islam, and The Jewish Women’s Archive, or the work of scholars such as Rosemary Radford Ruether, Rita M. Gross, Judith Plaskow, Kim Chernin, Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, Nicola Slee, and Asra Nomani to name just a few.
Please share other resources! As always, I look forward to your comments.