“O Mother-Father God” Video

Sophia Wisdom continues to call us to expand our spiritual experience. For centuries religious traditions have limited the great Creator of the universe to a few male names and images, one of the most common being “Father.”

Our Milky Way Galaxy contains more than a hundred billion stars. The Milky Way is only one of hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe. How could we ever limit the Creator of so vast a universe to a few male names and images? How could we have missed the many biblical female divine names and images, including “Mother”? The Bible uses the word picture of God as a loving Mother who not only gives birth to Her children, but also comforts and nurtures them toward their full potential (Isaiah 66:13); and the picture of God as a Mother whose relationship with Her children is so strong that nothing can ever break it (Isaiah 49:15). The picture of God as a tender Father, loving and caring for His children (Psalm 103:13), is just one of the many images of God in the Bible. 

             As Ann Landaas Smith writes, “God Is Not a Single Parent”

Ann Landaas Smith

Father God, Creator of us all.
How long will we see you as a single parent?
Send your loving wisdom to fill our hearts
and minds with new words of inclusivity.
Open our eyes to see images that nurture and heal our brokenness.
Grant us courage and your freedom to try new words that
restore balance in all our relationships.
And like baby swans being guarded and cared for by both parents,
let the wholeness of you be illuminated in us.
Mother, Father, Creator of us all. 
 
(poem from Women’s Uncommon Prayers, included in She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World)

 

This hymn video invites people to expand spirituality and contribute to justice and equality through inclusive metaphors for the Divine. Including multicultural female divine names and images along with male and other gender images in worship contributes to equality and justice in human relationships and right relationship with the earth, while expanding our experience of divinity.

This collage of divine images, repeated throughout the video, is by Pam Allen. She created this picture for the books God, A Word for Girls and Boys and God, A Word for Girls and Boys Coloring Book

Rev. Larry E. Schultz conducts the Chancel Choir and Orchestra of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh, North Carolina, in “O Mother-Father God” to a familiar hymn tune, with pictures from various artists.

 

O Mother-Father God, your love surrounds us all;
through rustling wind and sparkling glen, we hear your gentle call.
With strong and tender care, you nurture us each day;
you calm our fears and wipe our tears, and with us always stay.
 
O Mother-Father God, your beauty fills the earth;
from morning light to starry night, you bring new life to birth.
The fields in rainbow hue are blooming everywhere,
while robins sing to welcome spring, and fragrance fills the air.
 
O Mother-Father God, the heavens sing your praise;
all earth joins in the glorious hymn; a grateful song we raise.
Your grace exceeds all thought, embracing everyone;
your kindness flows more than we know, from dawn to setting sun.
 

Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton, from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians (Eakin Press, 2006). Recording © Jann Aldredge-Clanton & Larry E. Schultz, from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians CD (Eakin Press, 2007)For permissions, contact Jann Aldredge-Clanton; also, see inclusive music for all ages.

Performed by: Chancel Choir and Orchestra of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh, North Carolina. Conductor Rev. Larry E. Schultz

Visual Artists:

David Clanton: photo of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church Choir and Congregation, © David M. Clanton. Used with permission.

Pam Allen: collage of divine images © Pam Allen. Used with permission.

Hartwig Kopp-Delaney: “His Hand”

Ansgar Holmberg: “Black Madonna and Child” © Ansgar Holmberg. Used with permission

Robert Lentz: “Holy Wisdom” © Robert Lentz. Used with permission

Lucy A. Synk: “Ruach” © Lucy A. Synk. Used with permission.

Shannon Kincaid: “Oprah and Child” ” © Shannon Kincaid. Used with Permission.

Recorded by: Ward Productions, Pinehurst, North Carolina

 

 

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V-Day, One Billion Rising, at Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran

On the weekend of February 13-15, I had a powerful experience participating in the V-Day events at Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran in San Francisco. V-Day, One Billion Rising, is an activist campaign held around the world on February 14 to end violence against women and girls and to promote justice and gender equality. The project was founded on the alarming statistic that one in every three women will experience violence  at least once in their lives. This means that over one billion women will be impacted by violence and thus the “One Billion Rising” campaign. The project urges women to walk, dance, and rise up in opposition to violence. It has reached over 140 countries including North Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States.

"Devi Vaani": Dionne Kohler, Alison Newvine, Kathleen Neville-Fritz

The V-Day, One Billion Rising, events extended over 3 days at Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran in San Francisco. On Friday evening, February 13, Devi Vaani , a gifted trio of singers/songwriters dedicated to celebrating the Divine Feminine, performed a benefit concert to raise money for SAGE (Standing Against Global Exploitation), a survivor-led organization that works to eradicate human trafficking. Devi Vaani performed original pieces decrying violence against women and calling upon the redemptive, empowering presence of the Divine Feminine.

Judith Lavender Dancer

On Saturday, February 14, Judith Dancer, Minister of Embodiment, led us in “One Billion Rising Divine Dance of Protest.” It was an amazing experience to feel the energy in our group and to imagine ourselves joined with ONE BILLION people across the globe in protest of violence against women and girls and in solidarity with the Divine Feminine to eliminate this violence. We danced, we sang, we meditated, we shared stories of what we protested and what we prayed for. Our prayers were moved, sung, and shared for the healing of this deep wound inflicted on women and children throughout our global community.

Rev. Stacy Boorn (photo by Viva van Assen http://www.vanviva.com)

On Sunday morning, February 15, Pastor Stacy Boorn led us in the Liturgy of the Divine Feminine. On this last Sunday of the Epiphany Season, we indeed experienced Epiphany, “revelatory manifestations of divine being” within, among, and around us. Pastor Stacy believes that in order to bring justice in the world for females and for all people, we must change the church to include multicultural female images of the Divine: “I don’t see how the world is going to change until the religious institutions change because they are so much a part of who the world is. The more we can provide church in a different way, the more we can hope things change.” She provides church in a different way, a prophetic and creative way. Here is a portion of the February 15 liturgy:

Pastor: Beloved, You are the one with healing in your wings and through compassionate touch and wisdom you raise up companions, advocates, and friends to assist us in seeking health for ourselves and those who are ill and in distress. May oppression and all kinds of controlling submission of women and children be dismantled so that their empowerment and self-worth are restored. May suffering be overcome and all that is amiss in this universe be repaired! Wise Grandmother, Compassionate Child, Restoring Spirit.
All: Blessed Be!
 
Reading: Psalm 30 (from Rejoice, Beloved Woman! The Psalms Revisioned, by Barbara J. Monda)
 
            Voice 1:         I will praise you, Mother, because you have come to empower and
                                      restore my wholeness. You have transformed those who maliciously
                                      enjoyed my pain.
            Voice 2:         I cried out and you listened and healed me. You returned me from
                                    despair.
            Voice 3:         In my Mother’s presence there is life and in her absence there is
                                    death. Her gifts fill my soul as her silence drains my strength.
            Voice 4:         When she says “Yes” to me the tears of grief I shed at night become
                                    tears of joy in the morning. Again, I am made confident.
            Voice 5:         With you at my side I am like a mountain, strong and persevering.
                                    You are my friend and confidant, my mentor and reflection.
            Voice 6:         I am lonely and despairing when you turn away from me. Anguish
                                    fills my void and I feel the coldness of death around me.
            Voice 7:         What good comes from a despairing woman and how can I do any
                                    good if dead? If you abandon me, how can our commitment be
                                    honored?
            Voice 8:         Look at me and be generous. Come back and let us resume our
                                    relationship. There is much for you to teach me and I hope to
                                    learn it all.
            Voice 9:         You have turned my groans into songs and my body dances again.
                                    I will change my clothes, put on my best things.
            Voice 10:       With joy, I welcome you; my heart sings to have you back. I am
                                    forever grateful to be your friend.
 

Pastor Boorn, in her proclaimed “Wisdomscapes,” inspired and empowered us to continue our liberating feminist mission as long as we live—to protest, pray, and act in partnership with one another and the Female Divine to change the church and the world so that there is gender equality and justice. She challenged us to keep on co-creating a world where all people are free from violence and oppression and free to become all we’re created to be in the divine image.

Before Holy Communion, Vocal Divine led us in singing “Our Mother.”

Our Mother who is within us,
We celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come; your will be done,
unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all that we need.
You remind us of our limits and we let go.
You support us in our power, and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us,
the empowerment around us,
and the celebration among us,
now and forever, now and forever, now and forever,
now and forever. Blessed be!
 
(Words: Miriam Therese Winter; Music: Pamela Parker; Arrangement: Dionne Kohler; Vocals/Guitar: Dionne Kohler, Kathleen Neville-Fritz, Alison Newvine; Violin: Lana Dalberg; Visual Artists: Alice Heimsoth: four photos in the sanctuary and one outside of Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran and one photo of Divine Feminine paintings by Shiloh Sophia McCloud; Lucy A. Synk: “Ruach”; Stacy Boorn: “Goddess in Blue” and “LightDarkness”; Elizabeth Zedaran: “Flow”; Mirta Toledo: “Sophia”; Sister Marie-Celeste Fadden, O.C.D.: “God Who Gave Birth to Humanity”; Mary Plaster: “Sophia, Divine Wisdom”)
 

On Sunday afternoon, February 15, I had the honor and joy of continuing the V-Day spirit by presenting my book She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World and then facilitating a playshop on “Writing Our Stories” that included time for writing and sharing stories. Participants shared wonderful, creative stories that inspired and energized us to keep on discovering our sacred voices and to keep on writing our sacred stories because they transform the world.

 

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She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World for Gender Equality: Colette Casburn Numajiri (Coco Niji), Founder and Leader of Goddess Group, Dallas, Texas

Colette Casburn Numajiri

“Including female divine names and images in worship changes the church from the ground up. It’s transformative. Not only is it important for women and girls to hear and see female images of the Divine, but it’s just as important for men and boys.”         

These comments of Colette Casburn Numajiri come from her experience of female images of the Divine and from her passion for her sons to experience more than exclusively male divine images. She explains why she believes female divine images are imperative for males as well as females: “If you only see male images of the Divine, then that gives males permission to act higher than females in every way—be it in the work place, at home, on T.V.  Exclusively male divine images make it seem that men and boys are holy and women and girls are not. Therefore, any abuse that a male inflicts on a female is somehow justified. And women and girls, being taught that they are the lesser sex, accept and expect the abuse. Females may even abuse each other, because they don’t see their own value and potential.”

Acting on her beliefs, Colette brings her two preschool sons, Zayden and Nikko, to New Wineskins Community, where they see visual images of the Female Divine, hear Her included in the songs and other rituals, and experience Her love through Community members. Colette sings the New Wineskins “doxology” every night to Zayden and Nikko, and in our Community meetings, they join us as we sing:

             Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
            Whose womb gave birth to all we know,
            Who holds us close to Her warm breast,
            for nurture, love, and tenderness.

                                                            –Elizabeth Watson-Martin & Lisa Taylor

Several months before her first son was born, Colette had a dream vision. In the vision she saw 12 or 13 women of various ethnicities and ages, all dressed in gleaming white. They moved toward Colette and with urgent, loving voices told her to begin a Goddess Group in Dallas. Colette at first hesitated, “You must not mean me. You know I’m about to have a baby, and I’m really busy now and will be even busier very soon. Also, I’ve never done anything like that before.” They continued, “Yes, we mean you. We have chosen you to do this sacred work, and we will be with you and guide you.” Colette says that the following morning she was inclined to dismiss this vision and to question what she had seen and heard. But then she got an email from a friend inviting her to lunch to talk about providing opportunities for more people to experience the Female Divine. Colette kept getting messages from Her that she was to start this group. So when she was eight months pregnant, Colette held the first meeting of Goddess Group in her home, leading us in healing meditations and empowering rituals. Colette continues to lead this community with wisdom and love.

Colette grew up in a Methodist household until her parents divorced. After that, she says she “tried out” other denominations. She continues: “What I’d been taught in church confused me, and I grew further and further away from the institution. At a point when I had completely rejected Christianity and spirituality (at that time the word ‘Jesus’ made me cringe!), I had my life-changing experience. It changed everything. Through a chain of miraculous events, I was led to a book, Sylvia Browne’s The Other Side and Back, that spoke of God the Mother. When I first read this, I threw the book across the room, calling it ‘Satan’! A day and a half later I picked the book back up and read it. My eyes have been opened ever since.”

Enlightened and empowered through her discovery of the Divine Feminine, Colette joins others in changing the church to include Her. “I think being a part of and supporting communities who include the Divine Feminine is an important way to bring Her to the church,” Colette says. “By finding like-minded people and inviting new people we are re-growing the church the way it was meant to be—open, loving, nurturing and equal.”

To “re-grow” the church, Colette believes we must change language and symbolism to include multicultural female names and images of the Divine. “Language and symbolism are absorbed into our consciousness and we become them. If half the population is left out at the highest level, then they will always be considered lesser than. And if so, equality is impossible. If one gender is not seen as equal to the other, peace cannot ensue. A complete imbalance occurs. It’s strange to me that this has been able to continue for two thousand or more years! The time for change has come.”

Changing the church, Colette believes, will change the wider culture. “There is so much confusion and there are so many conflicting messages coming from the church right now, and they are trickling down into every other aspect of our civilization. No gender, race, class, sexual orientation, etc., is any better than another. We are all special and important and necessary to the beauty of creation. If we change the foundation of the church by reclaiming the Divine Feminine, ultimately, we will change and heal the world. Let’s give Her back Her voice!”

And that is just what Colette is doing through her transformative work with Goddess Group and New Wineskins Community. A mystical feminist and creative writer, Colette leads visualization meditations for peace and healing. Here is one of her powerful Divine Feminine meditations:

 

 

 

 

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The Words of the LGBTQ Christian Experience, Guest Post by Marg Herder

She Lives! Sophia Wisdom works with us to co-create a world of justice, peace, and equality. She is working with us for equality for people with diverse intimate partner relationship preferences (IPRP).

In this guest post Marg Herder, Director of Public Information for EEWC-Christian Feminism Today, underscores the power of words in creating this equality. (Originally published in Christian Feminism Today):

Words and language are an important part of how we think, how we understand our culture, existence, and even how we create our vision of ourselves.

At the 2015 Gay Christian Network Conference, I gave a workshop on this topic with the kind and learned John Backman.  I based my portion of the presentation on what I’ve learned from my friend, Dr. Alena Amato Ruggerio, rhetorician, professor, and avid Seattle Seahawks fan.

She gave a wonderful presentation at the 2008 EEWC-CFT Conference entitled Theapalooza (available as an audio file on this website).  Don’t miss it.

Her talk was so cool I even wrote a song about what I learned from it. (The song is called “A Name,” which you can purchase for a mere dollar on iTunes if you are so inclined.)

The Basics

Words are symbols which represent underlying concepts which linguists call “referents.” Words, whether spoken or written, refer to— or stand in for— something else.  As a very simple example, take the word “cup.” We obviously couldn’t drink from the word (which is just a combination of three letters of the alphabet, c-u-p), but we wouldn’t think twice about pouring our coffee or tea into the beverage container (the concrete item) that the word “cup” symbolizes (the referent). A referent can be a thing, or person, or concept, or situation, or status, or theory; the list goes on.  The referent is what exists and needs to be described or named; the word is the symbol used to do so.

Words are very important, but even more significant are the decisions behind what referents are identified as important enough to be symbolized with words.

See, the powerful and privileged decide what referents are “worth” putting words to.  The powerful and privileged decide what words get formalized by putting them in dictionaries.  Thus, referents specific to the experience of marginalized groups (women, non-whites, economically disadvantaged, and LGBTQ people) are not likely to be identified or symbolized by words.

I think this may be changing since we are quickly adopting a new information sharing paradigm (facilitated by the peer to peer communication made possible by the Internet), but that’s a post for another day.

Creating Words to Describe the LGBTQ Experience

One of the things we worked on during our “Watch Your Language” workshop was expanding the pool of referents and words relating to LGBTQ people.

We split into small groups, and each group came up with their own referent and word.  I thought each one was wonderful.  I’ve listed them here for you.

Faith Kaleidoscope – The intersection of faith, sexuality, and identity that comes into focus when an individual tells their story.

Spectrsexuance – An atmosphere of acceptance for all.  Freedom from assumption.

Page – People Affirming Gays Everywhere

Church – Conservative Heterosexual URespectful of Christian Homosexuals

Schadenfreunde Bracken-Love – A relationship with unfortunate boundaries.

This group went onto explain that it was the kind of relationship we have where we can’t discuss certain topics or have to constantly extend grace because of wounding words or actions.

Cismic – Celibacy ISingleness, Momogamy ICommittment

Queerlief – The emotional feeling of finding safe space with other LGBTQIA Christians.

Parrocks – Parents who love their LGBTQ children unconditionally whether they (the parents) “understand” or not.

Crawl – Christian Reconciling And Willing to Love.

Dreaving – Grieving the life you expected/desired/dreamed for yourself or someone else. And hope for a new beginning.

Who Decides Which LGBTQ Words to Use?

Of the relatively few words available to describe the class of lesbian and gay people, I understand from a Human Rights Campaign pamphlet available at the conference, the words “fag,” “dyke,” and “homosexual” are no longer acceptable terms to use.

I am delighted to let the term “fag” fade into oblivion, but I’m not ready to give up the word “dyke.” First of all nobody asked for my vote; and best I can tell, nobody asked many other lesbians who are my age either.  So you’ll have to forgive us if we continue to refer to ourselves and each other as dykes. We took that word back from the people who used it as a weapon against us.  We’re not about to surrender it back to them.

Getting rid of the word “homosexual” leaves a problematic linguistic void.  It’s been my go-to word to refer to the entire class of lesbian and gay people.  I’m not sure what word we have left.  The acronym, “LGBTQ” (whether the Q  is considered to stand for queer or questioning) includes more than homosexual people.  Yes, I know a lot of people think that the word “gay” should suffice to describe this class.  I disagree.

The word “gay” was created to indicate male homosexual people, but has apparently now, in our patriarchal society, begun to be understood to indicate the entire class of homosexual people, including the female members of the class.

As a feminist, this chafes as much as it does when people try to explain that their use of the words “man” and “mankind” are inclusive, that those terms indicate the group of both men and women.

One would never hear anyone using the word “woman,” or “womankind” to describe the whole of humanity, and that’s all the proof I need that the word “man” is only inclusive because our society considers men to be superior to and/or in possession of women.

So I’m hanging on to the word “homosexual.”  I’m just not going along with this plan to let the word “gay,” a word that originally referred to men, bleed over to describe the entire class, including women.

A Referent in Desperate Need of a Word

Ever since I attended the Oriented to Love dialog I’ve been looking for a better way to refer to the group of Christian people who oppose our equality.  I’ve tried using Evangelical Christians, Conservative Christians with objections to each (“Not all evangelical or conservative Christians oppose LGBT equality.”).  There are numerous objections to the use of the term “homophobic Christian.”  The term “anti-gay Christian,” appears to be similarly objectionable (“We’re not against you, we loooove you”).

For the last year I have settled on the phrase “the Christians who oppose our equality.”  But there’s nothing elegant about it, it’s pretty clunky, and certainly will never come into common usage.  But at least it adequately describes a group that would prefer their label to be simply “Christian.”

I think it’s very important to provide a clear understanding that this group is a subset of Christians.  As long as this subset shrugs itself out of every label we try to affix to them, there will be millions of people who work to thwart our full inclusion into faith communities and society, who can convince themselves they are simply “Christians” who hold a different opinion, they pose no threat, they cause no harm to LGBTQ people.

The denial of acceptance and welcome is harmful to LGBTQ people.  And while it may be rooted in a difference of opinion, which in itself is not problematic, those who feel it necessary to push their opinion out into the world in a discriminatory way can and do cause harm.

We must name this group so they are differentiated from the majority of Christians. Labeling this group allows us to unequivocally address them in our pleas to stop their wounding.

I’m open to ideas.

Can we keep their minds out of the bedroom, please?

There are some relatively new words being used by Christian people to refer to us, the class of LGBTQ people.  Two are “same sex-attracted,” and “sexual minorities.”  Maybe someone had to come up with new words because it was decided that the term “homosexual” is no longer okay to use.

I have objections to both of these new terms.  Both focus the listener, intentionally or not, on sexual activity as the defining difference between them and the group of lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, and questioning people.

The word “sex” is commonly applied to two different referents.  One is a reference to gender, as in “same-sex attracted.”   The second is a reference to sexual activity.

I think when a phrase containing the word “sex” is used in the labels applied to us, it’s impossible for the Christians who oppose our equality not to think of the “sexual activity” referent.  The whole sexual activity focus is what makes the Christians who oppose our equality so anxious.

I don’t want anyone, especially conservative Christian people (who are generally confused and well, phobic, about variations of sexual expression in general), to be thinking of sexual activity every time they hear a word used to label the group of people to which I belong.

The primary difference between me and a heterosexual person is not my sexual activity.  The primary difference between me and a heterosexual person is with whom I am most comfortable establishing my primary intimate partnership.  There are people who know and willingly admit inclusion in the class of lesbian, gay, and bi people who do not participate in sexual activity with their intimate partner!

Sexual activity is not the defining difference between us and straight people.  The fact that we establish our primary intimate partnerships with people other than those similarly gendered is.

That’s the real referent here.  It’s not “people who have sex with people similarly gendered.”  It’s “people who establish primary intimate partnerships with people similarly gendered.”

So I’d like to propose an alternative symbol (word) for all these labels now being used to describe the subset of lesbian, gay, and bi people.

I’m proposing that we start using the term intimate partner relationship preference (IPRP).

We are not “sexual minorities.”  We are people with diverse intimate partner relationship preferences (IPRP).

We are not “same-sex attracted.”  We express a same gender intimate partner relationship preference (IPRP).

It’s a clunky phrase, but in writing you only have to write it once.  After that you can use the acronym, which is not so clunky.

What’s your IPRP?  Same gender IPRP?  Opposite gender IPRP?  Pan gender IPRP?

I’m open to your suggestions as well.  But it’s my strong feeling that we will be well served if we can do something to get the “sexual” references out of the way we are described.  If we can do this consistently, I believe some people who have closed their minds to us might find it easier to accept us.

The main way in which we are different from the societal norm is not sexual, but rather relational.

And now for your words . . .

I’m be interested in hearing the words you use to describe the LGBTQ experience.  Maybe you have made up some of your own words. Tell the rest of us about them!

Maybe you have some thoughts on the words people use to describe you.

Dyke, lesbian, gay, homosexual, same-sex attracted, sexual minority, bisexual, pan sexual, transgendered, trans . . .   How do you describe yourself?  Which of these words do you find offensive?

Copyright 2015 by Marg Herder and EEWC-Christian Feminism Today. All rights reserved. Originally published in Christian Feminism Today. Reposted with permission.

This post is part of a series of posts inspired by the 2015 Gay Christian Network (GCN) conference held in Portland, Oregon. I highly recommend the other pieces in this series posted in Christian Feminism Today.

Marg Herder, Director of Public Information for EEWC-Christian Feminism Today, is a writer, musician, photographer, and sound artist interested in the exploration of the intersection between incarnation and Divinity. She is the author of Christian Feminism Today’s “Where She Is” blog  and a blog on her website. You can find more of her story on my blog and in She Lives: Sophia Wisdom Works in the World.

 

 

 

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She Lives! Wisdom’s Works of Expanding Spiritual Experience

She Lives! Sophia Wisdom is working with us to transform our world. She expands our spiritual experience as we co-create with Her a world of love, joy, peace, and equality.

Sophia Wisdom reveals that we are all Divine. Jesus, Sophia incarnate, said that we are “all gods” (John 10:34). All people of all genders, races, and religions are Divine. The incarnation does not refer only to Jesus. Jesus-Sophia teaches the incarnational truth that all people are Divine. If everyone truly believed what Jesus-Sophia said about the Divinity of all people, would females suffer abuse, violence, exploitation, exclusion, and discrimination around the world? If everyone believed that all people are Divine, would there be wars, domestic violence, gun violence, and other forms of violence and abuse? When we believe ourselves and all people to be Divine, we affirm the infinite value of all people and expand our spirituality to embrace our amazing creativity.

Incarnational theology includes all of creation. The incarnation reveals that the Divine is here with us in human flesh and in all of created “matter.” Divinity lives throughout the created world. The Ignatian spirituality of the Jesuits encourages finding the Divine “in all things.” St. Hildegard of Bingen and Mechtild of Magdeburg, medieval mystics and church mothers, also taught the inter-relationship of the Divine and all creation, the Divine in all beings and all beings in the Divine. We all come from Divine Darkness—the darkness of the womb, the darkness of the earth. We are interconnected in the Divine Womb of the universe. If everyone believed that Divinity is in all creation, would the earth suffer exploitation and abuse? When we believe that the Divine lives in all beings, we experience the sacred value of all and join in caring for all creation.

Dr. Kelley Haynes-Mendez

Dr. Kelley Haynes-Mendez’s poem “Reverence” is an eloquent expression of her expansive spiritual experience of the Divine in all. Kelley says this poem was inspired by a New Wineskins Community ritual focused on Epiphany (“manifestation of Divinity”).

Reverence

I have always been a child of the night,
Peering into starry skies
With peace and imagination.
A moonchild walking, not blindly,
In the dark.
 
Unafraid, I walked the catacombs
Of winding spirals and mazes
Hand in hand with darkness,
and did not turn to stone.
 
As day breaks and my adulthood
sears the dawn,
Bringing hopes and dreams
(and adult responsibility things)
 
I see the colors of the morning sky
And feel the rain like small velvety petals.
I find puddles amazing,
And blossoming roses majestic.
I am inspired by the frolic of the bluejay. 
 
I bow to their highness
In Reverence
and with the next step,
I am dancing in rainbows.
 

© 2015 Kelley Haynes-Mendez

Dr. Kelley Haynes-Mendez is a professor and psychologist who resides in Dallas, Texas. She has broad interests, including the impact of diversity and cultural issues on individuals and relationships. In her travels, she has visited Cape Town, South Africa where she served as a summer guest lecturer. She is married to a wonderful partner, and her favorite past-times include reading and vegetable gardening. She is also a proud member of the Lake Highlands Community Garden in Dallas, Texas.

 

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