feminism 101

I’ve just returned from diocesan synod, where there was much conversation about the need to share resources and expertise more widely.  So to that end– to the glory of God, and for the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles– a short introduction to feminism:

  1. ‘Man’  is not an inclusive term, not even when used by a woman.
  2. Yes, it does matter.
  3. Feminism is nothing more than the consistent application of the idea that all human beings are of equal worth.
  4. If the church had been better at listening to Jesus, Mary Daly wouldn’t have had to shout so loudly.

17 thoughts on “feminism 101”

  1. The trouble is that you will keep having to remind the people of Argyll. It can take a while for folks to understand how important this all is. Nice to catch your blog. Thanks.

  2. At least two of your flock have subtly altered the words of the Nicene Creed to reflect this concern over the word “men”.

  3. Welcome Freda. Now I wonder if that means a certain provost has finally linked my blog… I forgot to consider drawing on your experience. Maybe we coud start an ecumenical venture and you could help in our conversations on Inclusion.

    Chris, if you had been standing near me at the synod eucharist, you’d have found me changing all sorts of words (no creed that day, but the hymns…) I don’t do it when I’m presiding because (1) it is part of the sacrifice of priesthood, (2) I don’t think the congregation is ready for me to ask the bishp for permission to change usage on an ‘experimental’ basis, (3) I worry that if we all simply make the changes without formal permission, the canons will never get changed. We missed inclusive language liturgies at synod by a very narrow vote. We need to get it back on the agenda.

  4. I wonder which words in the Nicene Creed Chris is referring to – what worries me most is calling the Spirit ‘he.’

  5. Now isn’t that interesting. I never ever think of Spirit as a greek word. It is hebrew. And feminine.

    But given that the initial reference was to the Nicene Creed, I will have to concede Kelvin’s point. (how irksome)

  6. Hmm, notion of the spirit as either gender non-specific or female is valid is it not? Perhaps though we need to think of the spirt as transgendered or third gendered, however uncomfortable that notion might make us feel.
    ps.I think conceding to the Provost might always be a dodgy choice myself.

  7. ‘Trans-gendered’ as in ‘transcendent’ but not cross-gendered. (oh dear, words are complicated: how did the cross get in to this?) The idea that God is beyond gender, neither male nor female, is fundamental to both Judaism and Christianity. Of course, the church hasn’t always done a good job of conveying that.

    My initial point about the Spirit as he or she but not it was to stress the belief in a personal God rather than God as object (it). I suspect that when we encounter God as consuming fire, there is really no thought of pronouns at all.

  8. Hmmm, you know, I do wonder whether we could think of the holy spirit as revealed through a form of gender border crossings might just be disruptive enough to engage us in a wider discussion about the revelation of God in gendered forms that don’t fit the current norms? The binary of neither male nor female seems such a masculine supposition to me, especially if we think of male/femake as social constructions in the image of man rather than God? But maybe I have just been reading too much queer theology…….Perhaps neither one nor the other at the same time as being both and more is useful? though I suspect that is not what the Letter to the Galatians had in mind……

  9. Vicky, it might be a matter of context. I can imagine having a fruitful discussion starting from some of the ideas you suggest. But not in congregations in Argyll. Remember where this post began — we haven’t even dealt with the basics of feminism yet. I think we need to take it in steps. Theologically, transgender issues are far more complex than issues of homosexuality, and the church has barely begun to deal with them. And I suspect that Doon the Watter, it will have to wait.

    (and no, I don’t suppose it was what Galatians had in mind. Do you know the cafe in Glastonbury called Galatia? The thought of St Paul in the midst of it always makes me laugh.)

  10. Whew…thanks , KImberley, for rescuing me in the nick of time from posts which (which I am sure I could get to understand) are at present completley beyond me. Perhaps one day I will be able to debate this with Vicky, but I found Kelvin’s trackback both more comprehensibvel and more orientated to what is needed now, within the context of the SEC , and (even more centrally I suppose to me) within a country that has difficulties in moving forward on such things (I still bear the scars of the Section 2A dispute in which I had to play a part when in the Parliament).
    And alongside that national context, there is the local one -and of course Rothesay, Dunoon and Tighnabruaich couldn’t be more doon the watter as you put it.
    I not exactly a typical product of that (Troon was where I started out and we always regarded ourselves as a little cut above such things) but I suspect that bits of me still need the Feminism 101 course before taking what in Scottish Universities is called a “second ordinary” in transgender issues.
    For example , whilst I had heard of Mary Daly before, nothing had forced me to the net and then onwards to start to read not just about her, but things by her. And if that is true for me, it is true with bells on for others in this place.
    So what I am saying, I suppose, is that a “new readers start here” approach may seem a chore to you , but it is going to be necessary. For me and for others.

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