The Spirit Creates Matter

"The Spirit of God dwelling in the world with quickening power deconstructs dualism and draws in its place a circle of mutuality and inclusiveness. Instead of matter being divorced from spirit and consigned to a realm separate from the holy, it is an intrinsic part of the cosmic community, vivified, indwelt, and renewed by the Creator Spirit. The Spirit creates matter. Matter bears the mark of the sacred and has itself a spiritual radiance. Hence the world is holy, nature is holy, bodies are holy, women's bodies are holy. For the Spirit creates what is physical — worlds, bodies, senses, sexuality, passions — and moves in these every bit as much as in minds and ideas. About the Creator Spirit this can be said: loves bodies, loves to dance. The whole complex, material universe is pervaded and signed by her graceful vigor."
Women, Earth, and Creator Spirit

A Living Communion

"At the heart of physical reality we find a living communion, today under threat. Being converted to the earth in its hour of suffering places us in resonant cooperation with the deepest reality of creation, the Creator Spirit. When we work with people and movements committed to cherishing the earth and opposing its plunder, we are participating in the Spirit's own political economy of life. Instead of living as thoughtless or greedy exploiters we are empowered to become sisters and brothers, friends and lovers, gardeners and stewards, advocates and poets, priests and prophets, colleagues and fellow dancers, co-creators and children of the world that gives us life. Too much has already been lost. But the narrative memory of the dead, as always, has the capacity to bring about a living future if we cooperate with the compassionate power of the Creator Spirit. As a symbol of the solidarity between east and west on this issue, I close with the prayer uttered by Korean theologian Chung Hyun-Kyung in her Canberra address on peace, justice, and the integrity of creation. 'Wild wind of the Holy Spirit blow, to us. Let us welcome her, letting ourselves go in her wild rhythm of life. Come, Holy Spirit, renew the whole creation. Amen!' "
Women, Earth, and Creator Spirit

Religion is Not an Unalloyed Good

"Taken as a whole, the changing phenomenon of the world's religions displays the character of an enormous quest, an ongoing search for what is ultimate and whole. The critiques leveled against religion by modern atheism starting in the nineteenth century and continuing today gave rise to the idea that this quest for the living God was finished, that the march of technical progress would soon make religion wither in those naive outposts where it continued to cling to life. But ongoing history indicates that the death of God was greatly exaggerated.

"Religion is not an unalloyed good. All too often groups have yielded to the temptation to make their deity into a god of their tribe, hostile to outsiders. This has instigated horrific bouts of violence. The religious philosopher Martin Buber wrote scathingly that the word 'God' has blood all over it and should be retired from our vocabulary, at least until it recovers from such misuse. This ambiguous heritage needs to be constantly kept in mind as a critical corrective to any smug, triumphal tooting of the religious horn. At the same time, the unexpected vitality of religion into the twenty-first century, for better and for worse, along with the emergence of new forms of spirituality outside organized religion, show that connection with the sacred still matters to a goodly number of people. The quest for the living God has been and continues to be a perennial activity of the human spirit."
Quest for the Living God

A Living Creation

"When people begin to think about God in relation to this world, the stunning natural world opened up to our wonder but being destroyed by our wasting leads to a whole new approach. In former times, the basic conception of the world was that it was created in the beginning and remained a static entity; God's activity consisted primarily in maintaining what had already been established. Now that we realize that the world is becoming, that genuinely new things come into being by evolution and other processes, fresh ideas of divine presence and agency are needed. To date these have centered on the Spirit of God, called the Creator Spirit in the great medieval hymn Veni, Creator Spiritus. As it integrates the revelatory experience of a personal God into an expansive cosmological setting, ecological theology, replete in its fullest measure with social justice and eco-feminist insights, is mapping yet another new frontier."
Quest for the Living God

Remembering Mary

"Remembering Mary as a friend of God and prophet in the communion of saints, a woman who is truly sister to our strivings, allows the power of her life to play in the religious consciousness of the church, encouraging ever-deeper relationship with the living God in whom our spirits rejoice, and allying us with God's redemptive designs for the hungry, the lowly, and all those who suffer, including in an unforgettable way women with their children in situations of poverty, prejudice, and violence."
Truly Our Sister

Mary in the Communion of Saints

"I am proposing that one fruitful way to work out a liberating feminist theology of Mary is to locate her in the communion of saints and there to remember her, dangerously and consolingly, as a woman with her own particular history among her contemporaries and before God. At first glance placing Mary in the company of the saints may seem strange to those accustomed to more traditional Catholic practice, even though the title 'Saint Mary' adorns many churches, schools, and other institutions. It may even seem a diminishment of the honor that is her due as the Theotokos, or bearer of God. But at root it grants her the greatest honor the Christian tradition acknowledges for a human being, namely, the core dignity of being created in the divine image and likeness and gifted, in community with others, with a graced relationship to the living God."
Truly Our Sister

Who is in the Communion of Saints?

"Drawing on their Jewish belief that God would raise the dead at the end of the world and witnessing to the resurrection already, in advance, of Jesus who was crucified, early Christians extended membership in their community of saints to those who had died. Teasing out the logic of this early intuition of faith, we see that they forged a certain syllogism. If living persons share in the life of God, and if the dead are likewise still clasped by the living God, then both the living and the dead are united to each other, forged into one community by the same vivifying Spirit. Paul puts this insight succinctly: 'whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and rose again, that he might be Lord of both the living and the dead' (Rom. 14:7-9). Thus the idea grew that the community of sinful yet redeemed followers of Christ not only extends across spatial boundaries to include those living in different lands at the present moment, but, as the past recedes, also stretches across time boundaries to include those living in different historical periods. The communion of saints thus expanded to include the dead according to the logic of hope in the fidelity of God."
Truly Our Sister

God: Mother-Creator

"The actions of contemporary mothers in situations of oppression bear eloquent witness to this powerful aspect of the maternal relationship. One Central American woman writes of her Christian base community's growth in consciousness under a violent dictatorship:

"I recall that it was women who insisted on discovering God as a God of Life . . . Being bearers and sustainers of life women found new meaning in God as God of life, and themselves became stronger as defenders and bearers of life, not only in the biological sense but in all its dimensions . . .

"This is an extraordinary report of the intertwining of maternal self-consciousness, compassion for the weak, concern for justice, and speech about God as mother spun out of growth in responsibility amid daily occurrences of violent death. The power of mothering in situations of danger and need points language toward God's passion for justice precisely as she is Mother-Creator of all.

"The dynamic of maternal love is visible in the mothers and grand-mothers of Argentina's Plaza de Mayo who courageously demonstrated in public against a repressive government on behalf of their disappeared children. It appears in alliances of South African mothers who love their children and therefore speak out at great personal risk to abolish apartheid."
She Who Is

God Language and Women

"What is the right way to speak about God in light of women's reality? Ideas of God are cultural creatures related to the time and place in which they are conceived. We have traced one pattern of Christian feminist language arising from diverse experiences: the Spirit's universal quickening and liberating presence, the living memory of Wisdom's particular path in the history of Jesus, and inconceivable Holy Wisdom herself who brings forth and orients the universe. We have explored the ways in which these discourses coalesce into the symbol of the Trinity, a living communion of mutual and equal personal relations. Divine capacity for relation has led to speaking about Sophia-God's participation in the suffering of the world that empowers the praxis of freedom, a discourse that takes place in the energizing matrix of the one God's sheer liveliness named with the symbol SHE WHO IS. All of the above chapters are clues, starting points, commencements. This generation needs to keep faith with this question, creating, testing, reflecting, discarding, keeping. No language about God will ever be fully adequate to the burning mystery which it signifies. But a more inclusive way of speaking can come about that bears the ancient wisdom with a new justice."
She Who Is

Hope in the Communion of Saints

"Hope is a dynamic at work in a community, first of all. Finding expression in a community's imagery, rituals, and stories, it arises in individuals insofar as they partake of this social reality. In the Christian community, a shared attitude of trustful hope is directed toward the gracious reality of God who in making and sustaining the world, raising Jesus from the dead, and gifting human beings with grace pledges unconquerable fidelity to all of creation. The communion of saints forms part of the vocabulary of this hope. Because the God of love who holds the world in being still embraces the dead, they can be affirmed as being alive in communion with the living God, thus signaling the destiny that awaits all. With these companions in hope the church cries out to God amid the beauty and suffering of history, 'You are my hope,' and sets itself to the task of making an earth where life with dignity is possible for all creatures."
Friends of God and Prophets

The Power of Memory

"In Hebrews the cloud of witnesses is not a handicap to the runners, weighing them down, but rather a dynamic help that sustains their efforts, helping them run faster. So too the memory of all these lives is not an antithesis to women's spiritual growth and involvement in the world but a presence that bolsters and encourages their efforts. Remembering the great crowd of female friends of God and prophets opens up possibilities for the future; their lives bespeak an unfinished agenda that is now in our hands; their memory is a challenge to action; their companionship points the way. Such a fully realized memory of the history of women's involvement with God issues in an irresistible call for conversion, away from the marginalization of women and their gifts in church and society and toward full recognition and equal participation. In effect, the summons to remember and to act because of the lives cherished in memory resounds as an integral part of contemporary women's spiritual journey and as a liberating paradigm for the ekklesia as a whole."
Friends of God and Prophets

Divine Creativity

"Beyond their fundamental origin, being created also means that plants and animals continue to be held in life and empowered to act at every moment by the Giver of the gift. Without this sustaining power they would sink back into nothingness. A beautiful metaphor from a 20th-century philosopher expresses this insight: the Creator 'makes all things and keeps them in existence from moment to moment, not like a sculptor who makes a statue and leaves it alone, but like a singer who keeps her song in existence at all times.' There is an ongoing relationship involved. An unbroken flow of divine goodness sustains the existence of the universe in every instant, while creatures exist with an absolute reliance on this life-giving power for their own being and action. Divine creativity is active here, now, in the next minute, or there would be no world at all. Theology traditionally speaks about this music in language of the Spirit, the personal presence of the transcendent God: 'The Spirit of the Lord has filled the world, and that which holds all things together knows what is said' (Wis. 1.7).

"The evolving history of life is still underway. In and through the suffering and death of billions of creatures new forms continue to emerge, and what lies ahead is not yet known. The ever-creating God of life, source of endless possibilities, continues to draw the world to an unpredictable future, pervaded by a radical promise: at the ultimate end of time, the Creator and Sustainer of all will not abandon creation but will transform it in an unimaginable way in new communion with divine life. Being created means that living creatures are the bearers of a great and hopeful promise:

'Behold, I make all things new' (Rev. 21.5)."
Ask the Beasts

Agency and the Evolutionary Story

"To a large extent human agency is now part of the evolutionary story. The future of the tree of life is now at the mercy of human decision and indecision. If ever there were a sign of the times to be interpreted theologically in light of the living God who creates and redeems, this is it. Impacted by the Contours of the crisis, this book's dialogue between Darwin's view of evolution and Christian belief in the God of love has delivered us to a crossroads: the option for conversion to the Earth, or not. The option reaches into profound depths, for the call to be converted to compassionate care for other species is not in the first instance an ascetic or moral mandate, but an urgent invitation to be converted to God: to love in tune with God's abundant love so that all may have life."
Ask the Beasts