Thursday, June 2, 2011

Getting away from 3rd grade God (part I)

One of my frustrations with the way that Christianity is practiced (at least within US culture) is that we tend to get stuck in what I'd call a 3rd grade view of God.  This is especially true in how we present things to outsiders and young people, but it extends beyond that.

Outside of theological discussions--which tend to remain the realm of adult Christians already heavily invested in their faith, perhaps understandably--we tend to present God in an overly simplistic, two-dimensional way.  (At least to the extent that we emphasize individual relationship with God at all... not Catholicism's strong point, in general.)

This 3rd grade God is the God of stars and hearts and flowers and rainbows and bunny rabbits.  This is appropriate for young children, because God's love for us is fundamental, as is the idea that God is the source of all gifts, all good.  God gives us good things.

But it's not an appropriate idea of God for adults. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The slow journey toward feminism

Growing up, I never really expected to become invested in feminism.  Not that I ever disagreed with feminist ideals, but that I wasn't passionate about them, and took them for granted.  Like many people, I didn't connect them to my own life, or understand that it takes real, conscious effort to protect them.

I attended a women's college.  But I didn't really plan on going to one.  Before college my school experiences were always co-ed, with the single exception of 9th grade PE.  But through high school my great desire in life was to be a professional ballet dancer, and I spent most of my waking hours outside of school in the ballet studio.  The ballet world is female-dominated, and most of the women I knew there were strong-minded and strong-willed.  I enjoyed my time at the ballet studio, despite its lack of guys.  So when I started looking at colleges, I didn't rule women's colleges out.  I remember saying, "sure, I'll look at them," at some point during 10th grade or so.  The decision felt inconsequential, almost like whimsy.   I had no idea that it would shape my life.