God Says Yes To Me

Page 654 of your textbook offers a poem called “God Says Yes To Me.” Summarize the poem and its main points. How does this resonate with your own life? Offer some critical thoughts.

GOD SAYS YES TO ME
KAYLIN HAUGHT (1995)
I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don’t paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I’m telling you is
Yes Yes Yes

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Pg. 645 book:
More recently, feminist Mormon women have taken to the Internet as activists calling for social change. Some of the move active websites include Feminist Mormon Housewives, Exponent, and Women Advocating for Voice and Equality (WAVE). Through their activism, these women seek to challenge the church’s stances on feminist issues and reclaim the power they believe women held in earlier generations of Mormonism. The reading “I’m a Mormon Feminist” by Jessica Finnigan and Nancy Ross offers an overview of Mormon women coming together online. Within almost every religious tradition, women and LGBTQ people are resisting discrimination and injustice, using their religious faith to challenge the tenets of religion that marginalize, exclude, and dehumanize others.
Finally, for many women and LGBTQ people, religion provides a place in which they find a sense of worth as a valued person. The poem “God Says Yes to Me” by Kaylin Haught illustrates an accepting, loving God that has the potential to empower women. In the twenty-first century, many women are participating in revivals of ancient woman-centered religions and have become empowered through the revaluing of the feminine implicit in this spirituality. Wicca, or witchcraft (although not the witches we popularly think of at Halloween), is a Goddess- and nature-oriented religion whose origins predate both Judaism and Christianity. Current Wiccan practice involves the celebration of the feminine, connection with nature, and the practice of healing. As Wiccan practitioner Starhawk suggests, witchcraft encourages women to be strong, confident, and independent and to love the Goddess, the earth, and other human beings. This notion of witchcraft is very different from the cultural norms associated with witches that are propagated in society.
Indigenous cultures have also offered examples of valuing queer and gender diverse people. Before colonization, Two-Spirit people were accepted and often revered among many native peoples as counselors, storytellers, and healers. Two-Spirit identities are discussed in the reading “Native American Men-Women, Lesbians, Two-Spirit” by Sabine Lang that appeared in Chapter 3. Colonization brought homophobia and transphobia, and Two-Spirit people were often pushed to the margins as colonizers’ heteronormative beliefs and practices influenced native cultures. Now, however, there are efforts to recover the place of Two-Spirit people in native communities.
GENDER AND GOD-LANGUAGE
Many theorists contend that one of the most powerful influences in molding gender and maintaining gender oppression is language. The words that religions use to talk about the divine are especially powerful in shaping the ways we think about men and women. Any language we use to talk about deities is of necessity metaphorical. We create images that can only partially represent the full reality of this concept. Unfortunately, those images sometimes become understood in literal, rather than metaphorical, ways. So, instead of thinking, for example, of God as Father, we may come to think God is Father. Throughout Jewish and Christian history, the preponderance of images for God have been masculine—Father, King, Lord, Judge, Master—and the effect has been that many people imagine God as male even though, intellectually, they might know this is not true. God is often imagined as white too.
In ancient times, the image of the Great Mother Goddess was primary in many cultures, but as war-centered patriarchal cultures developed, the life-giving Goddess had to be defeated by the warring God. In ancient Babylonian mythology, Tiamat was the Great Mother, but she was eventually slaughtered by her son Marduk, the god of war. Yahweh, the god of the ancient Israelites, was originally a consort of the Canaanite Mother Goddess, but, as the Israelites moved toward a patriarchal monotheism (belief in just one God), Yahweh became prominent as the Great Father God, and worship of the Goddess was harshly condemned by Yahweh’s priests. The prominence of a single masculine image of deity then became reflected in the exclusion of women from the priesthood and eventually from the concept of Israel itself.
In response to the hegemony of masculine images of God, feminist theologians have constructed alternative feminine images of deity. Some theologians, such as Virginia Mollenkott, have returned to the Jewish and Christian testaments to point out the existence of feminine images within scripture. Other theologians, such as Sallie McFague, have challenged people to develop new models of God such as God as mother, God as lover, and God as companion. And yet other women have returned to the ancient images of the Goddess herself. Others have reimagined God as transgender—the One who transcends, transgresses, transforms, crosses over.
The political nature of the decision to challenge normative God-language does not go unnoticed by traditionalists wishing to cling tomale images. The Southern Baptist Convention issued a statement declaring that God is not like a father, but God is Father. And a group of mainline churchwomen created a furor within their denominations when at a conference they chose to call God “Sophia,” a biblical, but feminine, name for deity.

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