The Mother Heart of God - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 09-22-2002, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands." Isaiah 49:15

Lately I have wanted to consider the feminine and maternal aspects of God’s nature. It is easier for me to consider God as my Father, because my relationship with my earthly father has been mostly positive, and because the image of God as Father has always been readily available in religious culture. But I have always felt needy when it comes to my relationship with my earthly mother, and I sense that I could find healing by seeking out the mothering I need from our heavenly Parent.

But because of my background in Christianity (I want to say Christian “dogma,” but I wish I knew a gentler way to say it) my brain is not even allowing me to think in that direction. It is like I hit a mysterious force field that bounces my back into the realm of the safe and familiar every time I go there. My background tells me it is somehow blasphemous to paint God as a woman – and that to attribute femininity to God is to attribute to God weakness. As though by nature, feminine qualities are an open door to sin and confusion.

I know these thoughts and influences must wreak havoc on my sense of self worth. The implication of these lessons is that women are made “less” in the image of God than men. I know it is garbage, and yet I still get stuck every time I attempt to open the door.

I know that Christians often find a medium for the expression of feminine qualities via the image of Mary, but I do not view Mary as divine, and so considering her qualities does not have the same affect on me that considering the qualities of God might.

At any rate, I was hoping some of you could help me to open that door by sharing those qualities you see in God that could be described as feminine and maternal.

Thanks.
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#2 of 14 Old 09-22-2002, 01:50 PM
 
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I connect much moe to a feminine divine spirit than a masculine one, and so I became a Pagan. I see God/ess as life giving, nuturing, and loving. Which seems more motherly than fatherly to me. I love the idea of Earth as out mother and the Goddess Gaia.
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#3 of 14 Old 09-22-2002, 04:24 PM
 
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You don't see much of the feminine in God in the Bible. Perhaps more in Jesus than in Yahweh? JC seems more touchy feely, but perhaps it's just that he is flesh, that we can relate to him more.

Women are 2nd class citizens in the OT. Well, they are hardly citizens, but are valued as babymakers. thats how I see it.

I thought it was intersting when Jesus was at the end of his earthly life, the apostles abandoned him (temporarily) but several women remained loyal. Maybe, b/c of their low status, they were rather invisible, and weren't at risk of being seen as supporters.

I was raised as a Xian, and had a not so great relationship with my earthly father, so when people at church, the pastor, the Sun sch teachers asked me to imagine God as loving me the way my dad loved me, I was like..."wha?" Not much love to go on there.

Someone on MDC said that the Catholic Church was fairly pagan, and with the cult of Mary being so popular, I have to agree. (not to mention graven images!) People, men as well as women, have a need for both male and female manifestations of the divine, and the Cath Ch realized this. The old yin yang concept.
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#4 of 14 Old 09-22-2002, 04:38 PM
 
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Years ago I got a book that you might find helpful. Maybe your library has it or can get it on loan for you?

A God Who Looks Like Me by Patricia Lynn Reilly

Much comes from the perspective of those who have been hurt by the patriarchal attitudes, but you might find some good in this.

There's a bit of a movement out there to put more emphasis on, or at least acknowledge, the feminine side of the Christian Divine. Check around and I'm sure you'll find something. Look up Sophia.

The imagery is creeping in, hence the backlash in the papers in the last few years after that one conference.

I personally like the imagery of the feminine version of the 23rd Psalm.

The Earth is my mother I shall not want......


"What will you do once you know?"
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#5 of 14 Old 09-22-2002, 04:44 PM
 
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The care and compassion and enveloping presense of Hashem (G-d) are what are said to be some of the"feminine aspects" of G-d. I have never feal that G-d was one gender so I do not connect in that way, but I focus on the aspect tyhat I need for myself at the moment.

I love that women are so highly valued, as spiritual individuals in my Torah and in my community.

-BelovedBird

Mom of 5 boys- 13, 10, 8, 2 : and newbie Aug. 24th, '09 . babywearing advocate . Cook, baker, homemaker, wife to a man with another woman's kidney (live altruistic, unknown donor).
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#6 of 14 Old 09-22-2002, 05:14 PM
 
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Has anyone ever read Marianne Friedricksson's book, "Mary Magdeline"? It is an interesting take on the relationship between her & Jesus. Most would probably freak out because they were lovers, but I saw it as the females take on Jesus, and her view of what the guys ended up doing to the faith out of a need for organization after Jesus died.

I think that whatever you think is holy about female traits - is part of the holiness of God. GOD is the holy spirit - women listen more to their spirits. The best of humanity is what God is - unfortunately, humans have been in control of the faith, and we are not so good . . .
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#7 of 14 Old 09-22-2002, 10:24 PM
 
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I might be theologically off base, but in Genesis it says "in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them..." which implies to me that in order to be "in the image of God" the male and female both have to be parts of God.

There are also lots of scriptures about God as "mother hen"
"in the shadow of Thy wings" Ps 17:8, "under his wing you may seek refuge" Ps 91:4 "How often I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her chikcs under her wings" (Matthew 23:37)

I also feel that Jesus was a fairly radical feminist for his time. These things comfort me and help me to push forward in exploring the feminine face of God.

 
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#8 of 14 Old 09-22-2002, 10:37 PM
 
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I found it helpful to refer to God in a more non-gender way as a matter of habit. I always say The Creator, that helps me focus on the Whole Being, not just what was taught to me in Catholic school.

I, also have begun a pagan path, although I do not practice Goddess worship. I see all of creation as being holy and something we should show gratitude for. I focus on the one creator as the one whom I reflect on and pray to, and show my gratitude by being as kind as I can to the earth as well as people. A few months ago, I set up an alter for lighting candles in my kitchen amongst my plants. Whenever I need to send out helpful thoughts or good wishes or need to pray about something in my own life, I light a candle and reflect on that everytime I see it burning. Recently we bought a bunch of 24hr candles, those are great for reflection purposes. (They were intended for use during Yom Kippur, but my Jewish friends assure me I am not doing anything blasphemous! )
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#9 of 14 Old 09-23-2002, 03:57 PM
 
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In our (Mormon) understanding of God the Father, there is also a Heavenly Mother. Our prophets have also indicated that Heavenly Father loves/respects her so much that she is spoken of very little/veiled allusions in the scriptures. We also ascribe the the "male and female created He them" being in the image of God.
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#10 of 14 Old 09-23-2002, 11:05 PM
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The Gnostics believe that the Holy Ghost (Holy spirit) is the Goddess Sophia. I have been reading a lot on this lately because I have laways felt that there is a female aspect to God.
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#11 of 14 Old 09-24-2002, 01:23 PM
 
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Lauren you are not theologically off base, You are right on! There is nothing new under the sun. God created both men and women in his image and together they reflect the totality of God's image.

I find much in scripture that reflects God's nurturing femine side. And yes Jesus did bring freedom and respect to women in a traditionally patriarch society.
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#12 of 14 Old 09-26-2002, 03:38 AM
 
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Missed much of this thread originally ...

G-d is completely nongendered in Jewish tradition, but has various aspects (maybe "traits" is as close as I can come in meaning) that are given gender-specific ideas.

The language in the prayer book and Torah is usually masculine, but the generic way of the Hebrew language is to use masculine for, say, plurals and the like, so it doesn't include the male visual, IYKWIM.

We spent a week at a progressive/Jewish Renewal retreat center some years ago, and they include a lot of women's issues in their whole gestalt. Anyway, as an attempt to "empower" women, they changed much of the liturgy to use female language to refer to G-d.

That was the first time I ever thought about G-d as at all gendered. The attempt to "equalize" totally de-equalized it for me. Thank G-d I got over it ...

T
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... by sunmountain
... a bunch of 24hr candles, those are great for reflection purposes. (They were intended for use during Yom Kippur, but my Jewish friends assure me I am not doing anything blasphemous! ...
sm, those are memorial candles, used on Yom Kippur and other particular days to remember people from our lives who've left the world. No, nothing blasphemous, they are great for reflection/meditation.

- Amy
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#13 of 14 Old 09-27-2002, 12:45 AM
 
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I've been meaning to listen to "The Mother Heart of God" which was recommended to me over a year ago. I tried listening tonight, but I just can't focus. Perhaps some of you will find smething interesting. Go to www.tacf, then click on media.....then click on revival live network.....then lick on the father loves you conference.....and there you will find the mother heart of the Father.
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#14 of 14 Old 10-02-2002, 05:12 PM
 
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The books that Mother Teresa writes are very inspiring. You might be interested in that. My understanding is that we are androgenous in spirit & it is the polarity of 3 dimensional manifestation of life that divides us into male & female.
Therefore it may be helpful to see 'God' ( a male imposed image) as androgenous -meaning neither male or female tho with characteristics that each possess.
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