I didn't end up having much time to write about this book, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, when I read it on 9/22. So, suffice to say it was very, very good. Really interesting. It is by Sue Monk Kidd, who wrote Secret Life of Bees. I accidentally stumbled across this one at the Columbia book sale last month. The subtitle of this book is "From Christian Tradition to Sacred Feminine." Anyway, I marked two quotes to share and that will have to do for my comments about this one:
"As a formed my critique, I came face to face with a system of social governance, a vast complex of patterns and attitudes within culture, religion, and family. The name of the system is patriarchy. It's important to emphasize that patriarchy is neither men nor the masculine principle; it is rather a system in which that principle has become distorted." (emphasis mine--something I've always wanted to explain, but couldn't quite. Basically, explaining how it is that one can be a feminist and not "hate men.")
Later, when discussing her reluctance to embrace the Father-God image of her church with a minister:
"He thought we should forgo recovering Divine Feminine images and move directly toward abstract, androgynous images; we should neuter the language and symbol of the Divine. He said we should use only the word God, not Father or he or his. 'But the word God does not register in us as neuter,' I said. 'Technically it may not imply any particular gender, but registers and functions in the mind is male.' As McFague says, androgynous terms only 'conceal androcentric and male assumptions behind the abstraction.' How many times had I heard someone say, "God is not male. He is spirit.'?
Side note: I think my beloved Wayne Dyer does a good job of using gender neutral language for the Divine that does not make me have a knee-jerk "down with patriarchy!" reaction.