“Women’s theology uses technical terms to single out oppressive patterns of social and mental behavior. Patriarchy, or rule of the father, refers to social structures where power is always in the hands of the dominant man or men. Under patriarchy women never have equal access to power in the social sphere. Androcentrism, or male-centeredness, refers to ways of thinking that privilege men: it makes men’s way of being human normative for all human beings. In androcentric thinking women are always derivative, off-center, less than truly human. Today it becomes clear that the liberating goal of feminist, womanist, mujerista or Latina, and third-world women’s theology is not reached by simply integrating women into a society and church were patriarchal structures and androcentric theory still prevail as a norm. …Rather, the whole structure of church and society needs to be transformed to make space for a new community of mutual partnership. The goal is a new justice. On this frontier, theology glimpses an ancient, unassailable truth with new clarity: God loves women and passionately desires their flourishing. When violence is done to women, to their bodies or their spirits, it is an insult to divine glory. When liberating advances are made that overcome bias and promote the dignity of women, it is a victory for the reign of God. Struggling to claim their human dignity on every level, women find the God of life walking with them and supporting their efforts, for the holy One who sprung the slaves out of Egypt and raised Jesus from the dead is unrepentant in siding with those deprived of fullness of life.” Elizabeth Johnson
“There is no longer male or female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Do you believe that God passionately desires the “flourishing” of women?
- Are you committed to “promoting the dignity of women?” Is your church?
- “While women make up one-half of the world’s population, they work three-fourths of the world’s working-hours, receive one-tenth of the world’s salary, own one one-hundredth of the planet’s land, and constitute two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults. Together with their dependent children they comprise 75 percent of the world’s starving people and 80 percent of homeless refugees.” (Johnson) In this light, do you think it an exaggeration to speak of women as “deprived of fullness of life?” Are you O.K. with “the norm” of how things are for women?
Sophia, God of Wisdom, may those of us with power, use it for the flourishing of women, and in so doing, extend your reign in our world.
For More: Quest for the Living God by Elizabeth Johnson
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)