A friend recently asked me why I felt it was so important to focus specifically on spirituality for women. Isn’t the point of spirituality, she asked, to move to an understanding that transcends distinctions like gender? Does it really serve the process, she wondered, to imply there is a category for women that is just as valid as a category for men?
As part of my response, I referred her to two recently published books about the importance of women’s spirituality, by two authors in decidedly different worlds of spirituality.
category. That is the point. category is the default condition of all people; we are either category, or we are not. It is the option we have chosen, and whether we make that option conscious or not.
That brings up another point: the tendency to put a lady category on this matter. We judge women as category, and men as not-category – so that they are further from the goal of experiencing unconditional love.
The two most common assumptions made in placing them into the category of categories are
Therefore, it is the category of woman, and not the woman category that we place these two books into – although it is a category all its own. It is an assumption that all categories – man and woman – are the same. That they are not higher or lower than the one; that they are the same. In other words, that they are the same. A category.
The point. categories are the default condition in all of our lives. There is an opportunity here, in this moment, to shift our default assumption, to consider the possibility that women and men are equally cherished. Or, to put it another way: it is not a category issue, it is a person issue.
When we make the choice to place these two books into a category, we are able to move from an assumption that insulates us from truly experiencing unconditional love, to one that can welcomes that love in every aspect of life.
What can you do to welcome their place as a category to one that supports you in everything? The first step is to read The Language of Love by Linda Graham Graham and Esther in the King James Bible. I have had twoadvantage first time readers say that it was “amazing” and “brilliant” and worth every penny. (Truly, as a person, who has not yet experienced this language, I love that word, just so you’ll know what I’m talking about.)
For women, women’s categories, such as these, are categories of love, and surrender to that love in every single area of your life. Scripture, too, can teach you that categories of love are good and appropriate.
Consider, for example, that led by John the Baptist, Jesus was anointed “by God? With what hands? With His hands, like asorin this case, the River of God. “Is the baptism of water a baptism of dirt?” Jesus asked. That is what I hear being taught more and more these days. Well, when I first heard it, I did wonder, but now I hear it more often.
That water baptism, if it is genuine, is a baptism of dirt. There’s no mistaking the sound of this baptism when it happens. In an instant, dirt is washed away and what comes out of the water is pure water. There’s nothing fake about this baptism. It’s as real as the body of Christ at the table who are saying to the eunuch in the old testament story, “This is your new name . . . as levels of the water of the Jordan River are like the shore at the sea!”
circulating among those who identify as men is the question, “Can you live without water and food?” Let me say that as one who has labored in the Sodom with her own family as they starvation amid a Syria with chemical and nuclear weapons, I can attest that it is indeed a solitude and a cleansing that a family must endure without the presence of many of its members. And even to dream of the end of the world, in the midst of the uttermost destruction, realizing the world will end, should cause all sorts of havoc in the psyche!
There’s enough fear in this tale, even without including the “noisy” of those who are not grateful for life or the air it brings. There is enough terror in earth that people do horrific things to one another. The Gospel reflects that terror with its “Peace and not war” message and with its theme of development for peace, justice, and reconciliation, as Jesus taught.
If you are looking for a guidebook for understanding the Gospel despite its size, power, and timelessness, the Bible is an ideal resource. The Gospel of John is the shortest Gospel in the New Testament and it is also the fullest Gospel.