February 19, 2009

Week #7 Reading Reflection Assignment

Instructions: After doing all of the reading for this week (using the discussion questions to help you do critical reading), respond in writing to the prompt below. Write your response in Word (or an equivalent word processing program), do spell-checking and proofreading, and then copy-paste it into a comment (below).

Writing Prompts - Please respond with specific references to articles in responding to these prompts:
-- This section revisits the interest feminist scholars of religion have had in re-imagining the divine, finding new metaphors for the divine, and experimenting with new language to speak of the divine.
-- Reflecting back on articles exploring new images or language for the divine in WomanSpirit Rising, what approaches or arguments in these Weaving the Vision articles seem new to you? What is new?
-- Which of these articles present views that are helpful or compelling for you? Why?
-- Which of these articles present views that you have problems with? Why?
-- To the extent that you are comfortable sharing this, how do gendered (female or male) images or gendered language figure in your own understanding of or connection to the divine?

Week #7 Reading Discussion Questions

Weaving the Vision Part 2: Naming the Sacred

Read the articles associated with the questions below. Read Griffin and Falk as time permits. Use these questions to guide your reading and thinking.

1. Introduction: (95+) What are some problems associated with an 'androcentric' (male-centered) way of imagining God?
-- How are some feminist understandings of God different?

2. Walker: What is Shug's God like?
-- What does Shug's God expect of human beings? How do we find God?
-- What is Shug's understanding of the Bible?
-- What can Celie let go of with this new approach to understanding God?

3. Morton: Why is it important to invite an experience of Goddess images for the Divine into our spiritual lives?
-- How did Morton's experiences of Goddess metaphors change her understanding of self and of the Divine?
-- What is involved in experiencing - rather than just conceptualizing - the Divine in feminine metaphors? (Summed up 115+.)
-- How did the Goddess as spider image (an experience that occurred spontaneously in Morton's meditation) allow her to connect meaningfully with indigenous spirituality? (116-117).

4. Downing: For Downing, why do we need to reconnect to myths for our own spiritual development, especially those with feminine images of the Divine?
-- How did Downing come to identify with Artemis? What did this connection open up to her?

5. McFague: For Sallie McFague, why is it important for Christians to include God as mother in our imagery for God (not replacing God as Father, but adding a new dimension)?
-- What theological understandings does this new model for God open up to us?

6. Ruether: What does Ruether claim are the problems with 'male monotheism' (imaging God only in male terms)?
-- How does this imagery support and shape social structures and the wider culture in ways that she finds problematic? (150+)
-- Where in Jewish and Christian Biblical history can we find the hidden legacy of earlier feminine imagery for God? (152+)
-- Is it enough to recover the androgynous (both sexes) nature of God images? If not, why not? (154+)
-- Where in Jewish and Christian tradition can women find liberating images or understandings of God? (155+)
-- Beyond reconstruction, how can feminists open up new ways of talking about or imagining God? (158+)
-- Why are males hostile to this renaming - and how does Ruether respond to their fears? (160+)