A more feminine Christianity

What do we mean with feminine and masculine characteristics? Some of it may be rooted in biology, and most of it is cultural – although there are some universal themes across cultures. Mostly, it’s a way to conveniently split certain human qualitites into two categories, and as human beings, we have all of it in us.

Jesus as depicted in the stories we have about him seems to embrace both typically feminine and masculine qualitites. He seems whole and knows himself as what’s beyond and includes all of it.

The Christian church, so far, has displayed a lot of masculine characteristics, and sometimes in ways that are (what many would see as) unhealthy. They have traditionally emphasized hierarchy, obedience, pathriarchy, judgment, and punishment. They have also emphasized a heaven-Earth split, humans superiority over (the rest of) nature, and devaluing and sometimes demonization of nature and the body and natural impulses.

On the surface, this has benefited men, those higher up in the hierarchy, and humans, and it may even have helped progressing civilization in certain ways. Looking a little closer, it’s clear this has also harmed all of us.

So how would a more feminine Christianity look? Many know a lot more about this than me, and many have developed and practices this since the beginning of Christianity, so I’ll just say a few words.

If I imagine a more feminine Christianity, and one I personally would feel more at home in, I imagine it would…

Emphasize innate goodness, how what we are is love and it’s covered up by pain and trauma.

Be more egalitarian and inclusive.

Be more Earth- and creation-centered, emphasize love for creation, and see creation as inherently sacred.

Emphasize love over ideology.

Encourage compassion for oneself and our scared parts.

Value indigenous knowledge.

Acknowledge the value in the main spiritual traditions of the world, and have an active inter-faith orientation.

Learn from other traditions, and use pointers and practices from any tradition.

Emphasize the pointers from Jesus over tradition.

Emphasize mystery (that we cannot know anything for certain) over doctrine.

I would love to see this form of Christianity gain momentum and popularity, and perhaps it will happen. It’s already happening in smaller groups around the world.

Painting: Harmonia Rosales

  • A feminine Christianity
    • Basic goodness, inherent goodness
    • Earth

DRAFT FRAGMENTS

If I imagine a more feminine Christianity, and one I personally would feel more at home in, I imagine it would… emphasize innate goodness, be more egalitarian, more Earth- and creation-centered, emphasize love for creation, see creation as inherently sacred, emphasize compassion for oneself and our scared parts, value indigenous knowledge, emphasize love, emphasize the essence of truth and love in all the main spiritual traditions of the world, emphasize an inter-faith orientation, use pointets and practices from any tradition, emphasize the pointers from Jesus over tradition, emphasize mystery over doctrine.

If I imagine a more feminine Christianity, and one I personally would feel more at home in…. I imagine it would emphasize innate goodness, be more egalitarian, more Earth- and creation-centered, emphasize love for creation, emphasize compassion for oneself and our scared parts, emphasize the value in indigenous knowledge, emphasize love, emphasize the essence of truth and love in all the main spiritual traditions of the world, emphasize an inter-faith orientation, emphasize the pointers from Jesus over tradition, emphasize mystery over doctrine.

….

Take a naive view on what’s feminine and masculine, go by stereotypes,

….

DRAFT

Some would say that traditional Christianity is famously, notoriously, masculine. It has feminine elements – in female saints, emphasis on love and forgiveness, and so on. But in it’s emphasis on doctrine, hierarchy, inate sin, judgment, and so on, it’s more masucline. 

I agree with the essence, but don’t agree so much with what’s seen as feminine and masculine. What we think of as feminine and masculine har a large cultural component, and everyone will have slightly – or significantly – different ideas about what’s what. 

That said, how would a more feminine Christianity look? 

I imagine it would emphasize innate goodness, be more egalitarian, more Earth- and creation-centered, emphasize love for creation, emphasize compatible for oneself and our scared parts, perhaps emphasize the pointers from Jesus over tradition, and so on.

And we see that already. Many are developing that form of Christianity.

……

QUOTE

”Imagine that it didn’t happen the way you were told in the religious communities of childhood. Imagine hearing Eve’s words read from the sacred text one morning at your church, synagogue, mosque, or women’s circle:

As the Mother of all Living, I pick the fruit of life. It is good and satisfies hunger. It is pleasant to the eye. It is wise and opens the way to self-discovery and understanding. Those among you who are curious, who lust for life in all its fluidity, dare with me—bite into your life and the fullness of its possibility.

After Eve’s words are read, the elder women give an apple to the first person in the row. As the crone hands you an apple, she looks into your eyes and says:

Take and eat of the good fruit of life. You are good. You are very good. Bite into the apple and savor its sweetness.

After everyone has partaken of the good fruit of life, the closing blessing is spoken:

Open to the depths of goodness within you. Believe in your goodness. Live out of the abundance of who you are as a child of life. Affirm the original goodness of your children until the stories of old hold no sway in their hearts. Bite into your life and the fullness of its possibility.”

-Patricia Lynn Reilly, A Deeper Wisdom, The 12 Steps from a Woman’s Perspective

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.