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Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 17: A Book You've Read that's Changed Your Views on Something

I used to read a series of books by Marion Zimmer Bradley religiously.  I was at a point in my life where I was disgusted by the church I'd been taken to as a child.  Although these books, beginning with The Mists of Avalon, are fictitious, they opened my eyes to the world of neopaganism and a different idea of "God."
The Baptist church very much promotes the idea of God as a masculine figure, the "Heavenly Father." Women in the Baptist church are minimized behind their male counterparts who are, ideally, their husbands.  Marriage is expected and the male is the "head" of the family.  Sexuality, both private and interpersonal, outside of a marital relationship was scorned.  The female figure was something to be hidden (they called it "modesty") because it was the source of male lust and therefore sinful.

It didn't feel right. Why did I need a man to legitimize my existence and a group of religious people (and the government) to decide that I was "married"?  My body had done nothing wrong by just being my body. No, according to the philosophy of the Bible, I had been created in God's image.  Who were these people to tell me that I was sinful just for being a woman?

Bradley's books present the goddess, a triune deity representing the three stages of a woman's life.  There is a masculine deity, however he is more of a removed, heavenly being while the goddess is more along the lines of Mother Earth.  Women were powerful in this situation.  They, and their bodies, were the bringers of life and men were lucky to be chosen to participate.  Sexuality was viewed as a beautiful expression of life, not a shameful thing.

While I still attend a non-denominational, Protestant church, my personal spirituality has been enhanced by a broader view of God.  I believe that there is one God, however, I don't think that he is of any particular gender.  The idea of the masculine God, and therefore human male superiority, is, I believe, a corruption of the original intent of the Bible.  I could expand on this for hours and pages and would be more than happy to share with you if you want to know, but I'll keep it short and sweet for the blog.

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