“First, injustice is injustice, and it is made all the more egregious by having to do, in this case, with issues that are deeply formative, spiritually rooted, and that affect people in profound ways. Put bluntly, I will not allow another generation of girls to be fed the lies previous generations received. We know better, and we will implement better theology.”
An "intensely felt and clearly articulated path of one woman’s experience: ... a beginning born of evangelical Protestant roots, a ten-year period of questioning—her foray into feminism and a subsequent faith crisis—and her arrival now, in her mid-thirties, a Catholic who stakes her conversion on rejecting previous feminist convictions and critiquing Protestantism."
These four women taught by precept and example not only that mysticism, or direct communion with God, was for all believers. They also taught by example that Christian mysticism is anchored in the Church with its creeds and rituals.
I wish this whole story were fiction. Unfortunately, the truth of these events leaves viewers with urgent responsibilities, especially women who are committed to other women and to a walk with Jesus of Nazareth, the one who said, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40 NRSV).
This book serves as a useful introduction to an important spiritual figure. It also works to deepen her readers’ perspectives on her life, and to whet the appetite for seeing how the octogenarian feminist religious leader and her cohort continue to shape the monastic tradition in postmodern relief.
To live as a prophet is what we are called to be, and to do so, this is our handbook. This collection of Sister Joan’s writings is an absolute must to keep on hand as a reminder of what it means to be a follower of Christ and a faithful and honest part of the church in our criticisms and our supports.
In the end, "Embodying the Sacred" allowed me to dream of a time when we go a step further yet and see gathered believers together embracing Conway’s wise insights into pregnancy and laboring, letting God speak through flesh and blood women and their partners who are experiencing it rather than talking about it abstractly and poetically every once in a while.
The really delicate task we (LGBTQ people and their allies) are now faced with is to ask how we inhabit the "Lord's victory." How do we bear it up without making it toxic for others. How do we reach out a hand to those who are scandalized so that they too can be reconciled?
This is a book of distilled wisdom. For me, the moment called "Aging" was especially poignant. It is certainly part of my life review at this period in my life. Reading and responding to the words here was invigorating. Also challenging.
Perhaps now that a woman has publicly claimed her priesthood, we will recognize ourselves within her story. Perhaps we will find each other and then, one day, like the walls of Jericho, and the Wall in Berlin, the wall between the men and women of the Roman Catholic Church will just come tumbling down.
Those who are part of the Roman Catholic Womenpriest movement "along with women in the Anglican (Episcopal) and Evangelical and Protestant traditions, share the common vision of reforming the church structures from within, of re-imaging and designing a new model of priesthood..."
But even as I finished the book, I sensed I was only touching the edges of it — the tassels on her magic carpet. MT's largeness of heart and ability to see and relate to Mystery goes beyond anything I can really apprehend. Yes, I understand something of the world of the Spirit, but I am too rational, too linear, too controlled to dive in with M.T.'s abandon.
With a history dating from 1973, we are an international organization of women and men who believe that the Bible supports the equality of the sexes. We are Christian feminists. We are inclusive. We welcome you.
"I remember feeling so thrilled to have such an intellectual friend whose memory could always pull up just the right quote at the right time. And once again I felt the same awe and admiration I had felt when I first began reading her books years before. "