The "sacred feminine" and all that.

25 09 2009

Since we (Christians) usually think of God only as masculine, the connection between some of what I’ve been talking about (femininity, beauty and mystery) and God can get confused.

But Biblically, both men and women were made in the image of God, and both express parts of who God is. Once again, I turn to Bono to bring clarity to this topic:

Oh thank you U2 for an awesome song. I love it, because Bono frequently blurs the line between singing to a woman and singing to God. Which, um, can sort of be unhealthy, but can also teach us something.
I’ve always thought of the Holy Spirit as the “female” member of the Trinity. Partially I guess because “Father” and “Son” are obviously masculine, so the Spirit is the only remaining option. But also because the Spirit just seems more feminine: The two words that I’ve been using most in these posts – beauty and mystery – come immediately to mind when I think of the Spirit. The Spirit is unpredictable, wonderful, knowable and unknowable at the same time. Jesus describes those born of the Spirit as being like a wind.
The song above calls on the old saying, “The Lord moves in mysterious ways”, but also makes it about a woman. Clearly he’s talking about a woman, because he says, “she”, but towards the end of the song, you can also hear the singer in the background saying, “The Spirit moves in mysterious ways”.
And then there are those references to the moon, which I love. There has long been a poetic connection between the moon and femininity, and again, those same words come to mind: The moon is both beautiful and mysterious. It comes and goes, and its changes are cyclical and can be predicted, while remaining mysterious.
In the song, Bono describes a walk in the moonlight, and being illuminated by “her” pale light. And later he says, “She’s the way / she turns the tide”. Which is something the moon does, but also a beautiful illustration of the drawing power of both the heart of a woman, and of God. I am reminded of a line in a poem about femininity written by a woman counselor I know:
“Her vulnerability is so lovely / You cannot keep your soul out of hers”
I am captivated by all of this, as I think my heart was made to be.
In fact, the aspect of God that I am most frequently wooed and tormented by is his mystery. The way he can be at the same moment the closest thing to the center of my soul, and a million miles away. He is both here and not here, in plain view and impossible to see. He is my best friend and the person I know least. All of this inflames my passion and makes me want to know him all the more, even as it makes me want to give up on the hope of ever knowing him more and just go do something easier like watching tv.
I think I’ll spend the rest of my life pursuing him, the most elusive, beautiful, and intimate creature I’ve ever encountered. Thank you, women, for helping me to understand that.
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