"Sexist God-talk insidiously conditions people to feel that male power is natural, normal, proper, and right, while female power is unnatural, abnormal, improper, and wrong." - Jeanette Blonigen Clancy
by Jeanette Blonigen Clancy
I'm delighted to see a new brand of spirituality rising in America. It's called "Nones" because its members are not affiliated with a religion. Nones generally believe in what is called "God," but they describe themselves as more spiritual than religious. I do too.
A Pew Research Center poll in 2014 found that Nones comprise 23 percent of all U.S. adults. Among older Millennials, they comprise 34 percent. I am in my 70s and call myself a Catholic but closely identify with Nones. Like Nones, I get more inspiration from nature than from church talk. Like Nones, I criticize institutional religion and seek spiritual food elsewhere.
When anyone attacks religion, however, I rise to its defense. I believe that no sector of society has done more good for poor and suffering people than religions. Without Christian churches, the civil rights movement would have lacked much of its inspiration and leadership.
I rejoice in the rise of Nones because they do not pray to male lords. "Father and Son" get no prayers from me; I hold these images responsible for gender abuse - the issue that burns hottest in me.
I squirm when people say "the Lord" aids them or guides them, cringe when I hear He/Him/His God-talk. Learning about Goddess cultures opened my eyes to the absurd myth of a father having a son alone, without a mother. Primal cultures more appropriately imagined the Source/Creator as Mother. I am committed to educating people past literal belief in the Father/Son myth and toward the highest purpose of all religions - connection with Inner Reality.
Sexist God-talk insidiously conditions people to feel that male power is natural, normal, proper and right, while female power is unnatural, abnormal, improper and wrong. Always praying to him and never praying to her emotionally damages both women and men.
So why do I keep going to church and putting up with He/Him/His God-talk? For cultural reasons. Catholic religious people are my friends, wise mentors and companions oppressed by the patriarchal institution. They, my family and my community draw me to church, where I have to change the language for myself but drink in the ambience of Sacred Presence emerging from reverent surroundings.
Meanwhile, I do my best to raise awareness of the damage done by male gods. And I applaud Nones for modeling a new spiritual path for the generations following mine.
Jeanette Blonigen Clancy lives in Avon, Minn., and is an educator and writer who blogs about religions and spirituality at
BOOKSHELF Jeanette Blonigen Clancy recommends these books on women's spirituality:, When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone
The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
The Rule of Mars: Readings on the Origins, History and Impact of Patriarchy edited by Cristina Biaggi (one essay by Clancy)
God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky: Cherishing Christianity without Its Exclusive Claims by Jeanette Blonigen Clancy
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