Susy over at Unmasking the Goddess has a good post on this book as well.
I just want to state again for the record that I have great respect for Sue Monk Kidd. She is a fantastic writer, and I must believe that she truly believes in the path she is taking. After all, no one wakes up and says, "you know what? I think I'll just jettison everything I've been taught and follow some really hokey beliefs instead... you know, just for kicks." While I never read her Dance of the Dissident Daughter, I've seen enough in other articles about her to realize that she struggled quite a bit with her beliefs, and did not just do this "on a whim."
It is also not my intent to make light of what others are really struggling with. My own personal struggles, for example, may seem small and simple to others, but to ME, they are what I must wrestle with. There are many, I am sure, who have great difficulty with God as FATHER, SON, and Holy Spirit.
But I just honestly cannot begin to understand how one could look at Jesus, see all that He has done, and who He is, and say, "you know, that's just not good enough. You see, I need someone FEMALE to connect with."
I first came into contact with this sort of spirituality when I came to college. I took a religion class with a professor who is well-known in feminist circles, and the interpretations she gave to Biblical teachings just threw me for a loop. I am grateful to her for a challenging class (and the A she gave me, in spite of the fact... or perhaps, BECAUSE of the fact... that I questioned her every step of the way), because for the first time I came face to face with the question, "Why do you believe any of this?" What frightened me, however (besides her wild claims) was that the other students in the class just drank it all in. Never questioned one of her assertions.
I suppose I can understand, albeit in a rather small way, why some may cry out for a more feminine face for God. I can see why it might be an attractive concept; however, we already have an amazing Savior. We don't need to go looking for something better -- we already have a most perfect and wonderful Lord. The fact that He took on flesh and bone as a MALE does not block me from sharing all my hopes, fears, and joys with Him. He understands it all... yes, even "feminine issues." We read in Genesis that He created both male and female in His image. All the more traditional feminine traits -- compassion, nurturing, listening, giving, etc -- come from Him. We don't "outdo" God in these areas. He has given women the gift of reflecting His personality in these areas, and has given men the gift of reflecting Him in the more traditional masculine roles. Women are not second-class citizens simply because our God is not a god-dess.
I've rambled on long enough, I suppose, but in conclusion I've got two thoughts running through my head:
1. It is way too easy for me to be captivated by whatever tickles my ear. I am eternally grateful that we have the Church, the "pillar and foundation of Truth," to guide us.
2. I wish I could find a way to link to the song by Julie Miller, "How Could You Say No," which is a haunting song that has been going through my head ever since I started writing this post...