I was raised with a God who was a He. Always a He. Those who spoke for Him, they were also males. No woman could stand in the pulpit. It would be horrifying if one did.
As I began my slow and gradual exit from Christianity, I began attending a mainline liberal church. Far removed from my conservative Evangelical heritage and their communion of grape juice and goldfish crackers on a once a month basis (after being warned not to take it if in sin, or you might die), I watched my new group of people revolve their service not around a male pastor’s sermon, but instead around the Eucharist, around a communion where everybody partook of the Body and Blood of the Divine.
I finally gathered up the courage, after a few weeks, and went to the front and bent my knees to receive the Eucharist with the group. A woman was in charge of the service. As she handed me the cup of wine and spoke words over my head, I felt a deep well of tears begging to come up from inside. That a woman could hand me Divinity?
I never knew how much it hurt, the absence of my gender in leadership roles, until that moment when the kindly older woman looked at me, her eyes surrounded by wrinkles from the years, and with authority in her voice, invited me to partake of God. I was thirty years old and this was the first time such a thing had ever happened to me.
It was a life-altering moment.
I struggle with the God who is a He. Not with God. The He-ness assumed of God. I hear it all the time. God…He…God…He… No one blinks an eye in assuming God is male. If and when I substitute the He for a She, it’s as if the whole world jumps in shock.
That reaction, the horror and the affront (that one might suggest God was a She?), makes my chest tighten, my stomach clench. I feel angry. Something has been stolen from us and we are so blind, we side with and defend the thief!
Not because I have a problem with men. I love my sons. I have loved men, enjoying the rich sense of masculinity (whatever that mysterious thing is) that they bring to a relationship. The world would be a dimmer place without the male gender. Just as it would be without females. And that’s the point. The “One True God who is Not a Woman” is a dimmer kind of God.
Slowly, I work my way through “The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth.” So much of it is now underlined, the sidebars scribbled with my notes, musings and questions. Sometimes I read for a little bit and then put the book down, lean my head back and close my eyes. A world where Goddess was not only assumed as normative, but as healthy, good, lovely. A world where a woman’s monthly blood was seen as sacred, special, magical. A world where testosterone did not overtake and usurp, but was part-of, in partnership with, a companion to.
It’s the kind of world I wish I knew, a world I wish I could raise my daughters in. I cannot imagine what it would be like to have that kind of world as my birth-water. I can take steps to help the world I live in, right now, move in that direction, even if ever so slight.
And as I pursue my eclectic spiritual path, it is one of the things I know—the kind of knowing that comes from somewhere deep in the bones. My spirituality will honor women. My spirituality will not spend itself on a male-centric path where the very first myth/story is of women ruining the world, on a kind of community that only has room for women insofar as they help the men, on the sort of God who is only to be referred to as a He.
There is a fullness, a wholeness, a richness to be had and it cannot come through a world where one gender stands on top of the other, nor a spirituality that leaves out one entire half of humanity.