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Week #12 Discussion Café

In this Discussion Café, read over the Week #12 Reading Reflection postings by other class members responding to the first set of articles in Religious Imagination of American Women. Due dates for those unable to join the in-person discussion: EXTENDED to Sunday, April 19 for full points; partial credit by April 23.


Response to Christine’s reflection 12.
I agree with Christine that women’s full participation is needed all the time to get the experience. Many years ago, women did not an opportunity to participate in many activities especially religious rituals. Judith Plaskow claimed that women make up half of the religious community. Therefore, I think more and more women’s participation and expressions make difference and may be one day will be some changes in churches, temples, and mosques.
In my society, many women left behind because lack of opportunity, men works outside to feed the family, men are head of the households so they get the chance to participate in religious rituals, monks should be the teachers and religious leaders for an instance. Now a day, women are catching up, they work as men do even better and harder, they have many religious leaders and teachers who are women.
“Virtue is ambivalence” because everyone should have feeling of ambivalence towards the church or temple that can cultivate our true faith and beliefs toward our religion and community. It is a gift that we carry and it is a part of our life. They are many people who participate in certain religion without knowing what is mean to them in term of their spiritually. They are many people in my religion do not know anything about their religion but they participate in rituals to follow their ancestors footsteps. Young generations as we speak, they are more educated, they research and ask many questions to their parents or religious leaders.

In response to Tiffany L: I like the freedom that immanence permits as well. I do believe in some higher being and an afterlife, but my feelings about specifying that higher being are pretty vague and unclear too and I agree that trying to find God within myself helps me to find peace spiritually. What you said about viewing God as “some guy in the clouds” stuck out to me because that is exactly what I was taught as a child in church that sparked my feelings of ambivalence and vagueness about God and has led me to look for spirituality within myself. As the readings point out, it’s difficult to feel a sense of connection with “some guy in the clouds” especially being a woman and having to deal with being discriminated against and oppressed. Constantly being forced with the image of God as a man and being treated as separate but equal in relation to men makes it difficult to connect to a god who I see as a man. But I feel like I can relate more to a god who is in my heart and my mind. I find myself talking to the god within me asking for strength in certain situations and helping me get through rough times.

I have to agree with Tenzin about everyone should have the feeling of ambivalence of their spirit. Many people today walk around and physically do what they are suppose to do, and believe that is all the have to do. You need to have a relationship with your spirit or God to understand what is expected of you and what the spirit or God wants to give you. I think in my religion young people fall over the faith track easier when then parent or guardian do not practice the faith with them. If no one is a example for you are know of a past ritual to share with the younger people the faith could be lost forever.
I also agree with Christine about women have to stay connected because I think they are like the glue that keeps things together. Until this class I never knew how much women were opposed and I think if we can put this in prospective we can show an example to show the oppression and show how we can work to make it not happen again. If no one wants to speak or work at change nothing will ever change. I think this is why change takes so long because only a few can achieve what is needed to ring the bell for people to take notice.

In response to Tiffany L.

I totally agree with your statement "As Judith Plaskow pointed out in one of her articles, women make up half of the religious community. I believe there is strength in numbers, and if there is an outcry from half of a church’s congregation, the leaders of the church will have to take notice and at least become cognizant of the issues expressed, and perhaps will be willing to make some changes." However, I have to also point out that even though it's so obvious that we need to stand up and be heard, but that won't bring about change. We can talk about something until we're blue in the face, but in order to get changes made we need to show that we're serious by making some sort of actual gesture.

We see the same thing happening in politics right now. People across the nation just had "tea parties" to express their dissatisfaction with the government and the taxes being imposed on us, but how many refused to do their taxes on April 15'th? Having "tea parties" and telling our political leaders that we don't want more taxes is not stopping them from imposing them. Now, if half the country stopped paying taxes the government would be forced to listen just to get the revenue back.

Something similar needs to happen within religion in order to bring attention to what women want to see happening. The same concept may even work. What would happen if all women stopped tithing at their local churches? What if every woman skipped church on the same day? If women got together and did something drastic religions would be forced to start paying attention to what women want and need from their places of worship.

I’d like to respond to Tenzin’s comment about people who follow a religion and participate in the rituals without really knowing why or what they are doing. I think a lot of people blindly follow the religious practice that they were raised in, without researching the validity or studying the fundamentals of that religion. Probably, many of the religions do not encourage their followers to do much research. The religious leaders may bristle when asked probing questions. I know I’ve been scolded for that before, because (as I’ve been told) asking questions indicates that I do not have faith. I suppose they stand to benefit if the congregation remains like a herd of sheep, obedient and manageable.

I liked what Jessica suggested in regards to women’s voices being heard in the church. Making a stand by refusing to tithe would be a really powerful bargaining chip. Sadly, I am sure that some churches would still be willing sacrifice the revenue in order to keep things “status quo.”