Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Give it up for the guys

I have to say I've been remiss in not mentioning the men I'm coming into contact with here at school. For the most part, they are really great guys. They laugh good-naturedly about the school's requirement that we always translate and write in gender-inclusive language, but they take it seriously. They listen and I haven't yet felt like they disrespect my opinions.

Of course, I haven't yet gotten into a theology class, where women have traditionally been viewed as incapable or at least unworthy of leadership. In Greek, they have to listen to me, because I'm kicking all their butts in learning the language. So's my friend Jo, the cool girl from New York who came into the class after it had begun but is totally keeping up with the current.

It's going back to the comment I made about how female seminarians tend to be really smart women. They have to be! And not just because there is an unspoken fear about women not being good enough to be church leaders; I also believe we have a strong desire to best the boys.

Maybe it comes from being part of a generation that grew up watching women fight big battles for freedom and leadership. Just in my life I've gone from a church that wouldn't let a woman be an usher to now being at one where a woman is essentially CEO. And so we have learned from our spiritual mothers that we are not just required to be as good as the men, but better than.

But I think it's also that the Lion has roared within us (to paraphrase a title of a favorite book about mysticism). It's the uniquely female contribution to theology, which involves harder work, greater ambition, more sensitivity, more tolerance. And a deeper sense of God within. A literally physical sensation of God within. God entered the world through a woman in the first place, and somehow perhaps we are linked to Mary as conduits of his presence in the world.

In the end, perhaps, it's not that we want or need to be better (although men need to recognize us so we can contribute). Perhaps it is that we are just different. We have something new to bring to theology. We are finely attuned to God's mother nature; we are aware of our own nature as child-bearers and by extension God-bearers to the earth.

At any rate, thanks be to God for male feminarians!

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