Spirit-Sophia is the source of transforming energy among all creatures. She initiates novelty, instigates change, transforms what is dead into new stretches of life. Fertility is intimately related to her recreative power, as is the attractiveness of sex. It is she who is ultimately playful, fascinating, pure and wise, luring human beings into the depths of love. As mover and encourager of what tends toward stasis, Spirit-Sophia inspires human creativity and joy in the struggle. Wherever the gift of healing and liberation in however partial a manner reaches the winterized or damaged earth, or people crushed by war and injustice, or individual persons weary, harmed, sick, or lost on life’s journey, there the new creation in the Spirit is happening (Elizabeth A. Johnson, She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse, 135).
In Johnson’s book she points out that the Holy Spirit is normally glossed over in regular theological tomes. She finds this interesting since it is God the Spirit who works in this world to reconcile creation to God and to build God’s kingdom. She also finds this lack of scholarship interesting since most of the feminine names for divinity revolve around the Spirit. Johnson begins her theological reflection about God with God the Spirit.
I wonder if this lack of reflection on and talking about the Spirit is one of the reasons why the Church appears to be ineffective in combatting the powers and principalities of the world: racism, sexism, genocide, war, economic injustice, and the battles going on between different Christian organizations. Johnson goes on to say that it is Sophia-Spirit who gives us hope when there is no reason hope. She is the one who inspires us to new creative and prophetic endeavors to stand against the evil in our world and bring into life the loving and redeeming kingdom of God. I have always been a visionary–a prophetic visionary. I see the way things are, but I also see the way things should be. But very often I forget about Sophia-Spirit’s presence and power in our world. I forget that it is She who has given me the insight and calling that I have. I need to remember this God who tirelessly and mercifully continues to work and move and love this world back to herself.
0 thoughts on “The marginalization of the Spirit”
Thank you, and I agree with all you said. Armstrong’s book is on my to-read list.
Thanks for the reference, She Who Is by Elizabeth A Johnson. I am currently reading Karen Armstrongs, One Jerusalem, Three faiths. I draw from your post that female aspects of God and faith are marginalized by omission. I find it curious that some people are hung up on attributing femaleness to God. To me it is perfectly natural and sensible to see God as Female, birthgiver of Creation. Even more curious is the glaring omission of our Divine She in religious prayer books. We are holding our hands over our eyes if we still see He as God Man as all people, as long as you don’t name them Woman.
I like your posting.
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That’s not what I’m doing–that was just the chapter I had finished in She Who Is. This morning I read the chapter on Jesus and the next one is viewing God as Mother, so this entry is just the starting point for my reflections on the feminine side of God as well as Johnson’s book.
I hope to see more comments from you. Thank you for your “two-cents.”
One of my key interests is the doctrine of the Trinity, particularly from a feminist perspective.
I think the Spirit is one way into recognize the feminine aspects of God. However, I am reluctant to ascribe the Spirit as the feminine, alone (not saying this is what you are doing; this is just a trend.) To me, there is still imbalance. It also raises questions of what is feminine, without essentializing and limiting it to nurture, compassion, etc.
These are just my two-cents on the issue. It’s something I give a lot of thought on, and the Trinity is something I have written a lot about lately.