Making Sense of God: A Woman's Perspective
From the Prologue…
Spirituality is the journey of falling in love with God and living out that love in everyday life. It might include service to the poor, support of causes that contribute to the common good, spiritual practices, developing a life of virtue. Theology is ordered reflection, in which we interrogate our experiences in order to name and make sense of them from a faith perspective. Where is God in this? Who is the God lurking behind our attitudes, behaviors and prayer? Who are we in the sight of God?
In the chapters to follow, I identify several key themes from a rich smorgasbord of theological ideas. I chose particular topics that I think are important, relevant and pressing at this point in history. I hope conversation about these themes will entice you to further exploration. There is so much to learn, so much to live.
Part one explores the possibility of viewing ourselves as theologians. Who, me? No way…or is there a way? I remember the knowing gleam in the eye of one of my students when she discovered that theology was not the exclusive domain of priests and religion professors as she had thought. The energy behind her newfound power was quickening. Chapter two discusses our ability to notice God in the world, or sacramental consciousness. In what ways do we experience an intrinsic holiness of the world—in spite of sin and suffering?
Part two explores the many faces of God, with a special focus on the Holy Spirit. When we think and speak about God, we use qualities and images too numerous to contemplate—multiple ideas built up over a lifetime. God is friend, aunt, father, rock and fortress, mother, feather, eagle. God is compassionate, just, patient, angry, honest, forgiving, steadfast, awesome. Our discussion focuses on how these images are based in the tradition’s ideas about God as Trinity—the God who creates, becomes incarnate and makes holy.
Part three examines two practical and sometimes thorny issues for women’s spirituality: self-sacrifice (asceticism) and virtue. These chapters are followed by a discussion of the relationship between theology and spirituality, with a comment on what is known as “negative theology.” These topics are intended as a source of encouragement and creativity for your theology and spirituality; they may also alert you to how much theology you are already doing.
Monday, September, 8, 2008
Pre-Publication Reviews of Making Sense of God: A Woman's Perspective
“Dreyer’s book could be subtitled A Guide to Doing Grassroots Theology. Each adjective, adverb and noun in the definition is explored carefully and gently. Her first (but not exclusive) audience is women who may need help appreciating the theology of their daily lives. Dreyer gives them the tools and wisely steps aside.”
—Denise Carmody, Jesuit community professor, religious studies department, Santa Clara University
“Making Sense of God is as democratic in its outreach to ‘all’ women to see themselves as theologians-in-the-making as it is a cry for a grassroots, practical spirituality that will change lives and the world for the better. Richly personal, wonderfully informative and beautifully written, Making Sense of God offers women a transformative journey for both head and heart, for both theory and practice, one that will surely call a diversity of women in the pews together for a conversation we’ve long yearned for. Dreyer’s guidance makes the wait worth it.”
—Donna Freitas, author, Sex and the Soul
“At once theologically sophisticated, pastorally astute and poetically written, this book will appeal to all who seek fresh ways to connect God’s Spirit to daily life.”
—Lisa Sowle Cahill, Monan Professor of Theology, Boston College
Monday, September, 8, 2008