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