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Published Date: October 31, 1991

Published Date: October 31, 1991

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God as Mother, Not Mother as God: A Biblical Feminist Response to the “New Feminism”

In Boston Globe Magazine (February 25, 1990), Kathleen Hirsch wrote an extended article called “Feminism’s New Face,” subtitled, “Some Feminists are discovering what they see as the unclaimed sources of women’s real power: spiritual vitality and psychological gifts.”l She wrote about New Feminists, some who (1) establish their own “free-standing” groups associated with, but not governed by, an institution, e.g. Harvard Divinity School’s Theological Opportunities Program, or “free-standing” groups associated with a religion but outside of the traditional institutional organizations, e.g. the Jewish havurah movement; and some who (2) “hybridize,” that is, remain in churches while venturing in new spiritual directions. She categorized three “spiritual” or religious movements: the Womanspirit movement which promotes women’s spiritual practices, the Goddess-centered movement, and witchcraft. She concluded that most New Feminists critique the ”New Age’s smorgasbord approach to matters of psyche and spirit” because “a good deal of New Age thinking, they say, perpetuates the illusion that, as human beings, we are in control.”2

What are some of the positive concepts in New Feminism? The positive words in Hirsch’s article include community, healing, spiritual vitality, individuality, democracy, equality, God as in all, interconnected, diverse, dynamic, each part unique, consensus, new symbols, creative, everyday, physical, here and now, not hierarchical, in everyday life is sacredness, nature, nurture, women’s life-cycle experiences, dream analysis, meditation, personal rituals, earth-centered, unity, decentralized authority, immanence, relationships, caring, listen without judgement, mothering, empathy, receptivity, mystery, and love. In contrast, the negative concepts include God as external, maleforce, out or up there, disembodied, transcendent, man having dominion, patriarchal, withdrawal from life to find sacredness, separations from others, autonomy, assertiveness, war, hierarchy, silencing, competitive, and power as dominion.

Therefore, “Feminism’s New Face,” she says, has new values and new sources of authority. Kathleen Hirsch’s research is documented by feminist writers. For instance, Miriam Simos or Starhawk writes “Women-centered culture, based on the worship of the Great Goddess, underlies the beginnings of all civilization….Witchcraft, ‘the craft of the wise,’ is the last remnant in the west of the time of women’s strength and power.” Because witches are oriented to earth and to life, she says, they value spiritual qualities that are especially important to women – independence, personal strength, passion, emotion, and love.3 Carol P. Christ summarizes the collection of essays in Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion with a quotation from the Broadway play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” – “I found God in myself and I loved her fiercely.” She says that women can find God by celebrating “the Goddess as symbol of life and death powers and waxing and waning energies in the universe and in themselves.”4 She says that religions centered on the worship of a male God create “moods” and “motivations” that keep women in a state of psychological dependence on men and male authority and create the impression that female power can never be fully legitimate or wholly beneficent. The God of Judaism and Christianity is such a male God. The Goddess instead affirms female power, the female body, the female will, and women’s bonds and heritage, and that is why the Goddess had to “reemerge as symbol of the newfound beauty, strength, and power of women.”5

The questions people sometimes ask are: Can evangelical feminism be saved from secular feminism? Is ancient Goddess worship the real basis for feminism? Is ancient goddess worship also the real basis for these new values? In response, I am going to propose that many of the needs and the bases for feminism come from God and God’s followers. Further, both feminists and male chauvinists elevate values and perspectives that, in truth, should not be contradictory or exclusive from one another.


First of all, do feminist concerns come from some women asserting their rights rather than being satisfied with the place God has apportioned to them? (Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary (1962) defines feminism as “the theory that women should have political, economic, and social rights equal to those of men.”)

Was it right for the daughters of Zelophehad, Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah to ask Moses, Eleazar, the leaders, and all the congregation at the door of the tabernacle to “Give us a possession” (Numbers 27:1-4)? God told Moses: ”The daughters of Zelophehad are right” (Numbers 27:7). God could have said: “How dare they stand up for their own rights and in front of everyone! Have them stand outside the camp and be burned up.” But God listened to them and agreed with them.

Was it right for the Hellenists to complain that their widows were neglected in the daily distribution of food? Apparently the twelve decided it was, because they picked out seven men of “good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” to oversee equitable distribution (Acts 6:1-6). Then “the word of God increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly” (Acts 6:7).

The apostles could have said: ”You are providentially blessed that you are getting anything at all when you do not even bother to learn and keep using the sacred Hebrew language! We may consider adding one Hellenist to represent your interests.” Yet all seven deacons had Hellenist names.

So first. we should conclude that for women (or anyone else) to stand up for their own rights is acceptable and necessary in God’s sight. We often misinterpret Philippians 2:4 – “not to your own things let each look out for, but also each to the things of others” – to mean “I should not stand up for my own rights.” But Paul’s point here is broader – look out for the other’s rights, do not push forward your own “selfish ambition” (eritheia) (Phil 2:3). Keep in mind other’s interests as much as you keep in mind your own.


Second of all, is ancient goddess worship the real basis for feminism? And, is secular feminism the real basis for Christian feminism? Many contemporary historians have shown that Christian feminism goes back many years, long before twentieth century feminists. For example, Janette Hassey, in her study of Evangelical Women in Public Ministry Around the Twentieth Century,  No Time for Silence (Zondervan, 1986), notes how many fundamentalist or evangelical organizations supported women in ministry in their early years. Two illustrations from her many examples are Simpson and Moody. A.B. Simpson, the found of Christian and Missionary Alliance, called the Holy Ghost “our Mother God” and included women on the executive board committee, employed them as Bible professors, and supported female evangelists and branch officers (the early C&MA equivalent to a local minister).6 She also shows how Dwight L. Moody worked together with a number of women preachers. At the turn of the century, graduates of Moody Bible Institute “openly served as pastors, evangelists, pulpit supply preachers, Bible teachers, and even in the ordained ministry.”7 In addition, Gordon bible and Missionary Training School in its earliest years had an equal number of women and men professors and so many women students that people suggested “it should be a ladies’ school entirely.” In 1905, 1907, and 1908, twice the number of women graduated over men.8

Katherine Bushnell published her study God’s Word to Women in 1919, showing that if the  Bible is treated as “inspired, infallible, and inviolable,” then one must conclude that “the teaching that women must perpetually ‘keep silence’ in the Church, be obedient to her husband, and never presume to teach or preach, because Eve sinned, blights the doctrine of the atonement, and robs Christ of glory, in that His death atoned for all sin, including Eve’s of course.”9 Five years later, Judson Press celebrated a hundred years of Bible distribution by publishing Helen Barret Montgomery’s The New Testament in Modem English in which she translates, as one example, Romans16:1-2 as”our sister Phoebe, who is a minister of the church of Cenchreae …. has been made an overseer to many people, including myself.”10 Montgomery’s translation was a natural follow-through of the thoughts and examples of earlier women. Sixty years earlier, Catherine Booth had published her pamphlet on “Female Ministry: Women’s Right to Preach the Gospel.”11

Women such as Angelina and Sarah Grimke began to speak against slavery in the early 1800’s, although they were denounced for speaking before men and women. A decade later they began a women’s rights movement, declaring women along with men have “the right and duty … to promote every righteous cause by every righteous means, and especially in regard to the great subjects of morals and religion.”l2 No wonder author and abolitionist Lydia Maria Child in 1841 explained ”The sects called evangelical were the first agitators of the woman question.”13 Significantly, former slave Frederick Douglass, the accomplished advisor to Abraham Lincoln and Consul General to Haiti, declared about “woman’s agency, devotion, and efficiency in pleading the cause of the slave” that “gratitude for this high service early moved me to give favorable attention to the subject of what is called ‘woman’s rights’ and caused me to be denominated a woman’s-rights man. I am glad to say that I have never been ashamed to be thus designated.”14

Christian women and men were promoting the full use of women’s gifts in the 1900’s, 1800’s, and even as early as the 1600’s. In 1667, Margaret Fell had declared that ”Women’s Speaking” was justified, proved, and allowed of by the Scriptures because “women were the first that preached the tidings of the resurrection of Jesus.”15

However, even if we were to go further back in history, what would we see? What is still true today: True freedom has always existed near misunderstood freedom in regard to women (and men) in the same way that truth has existed near falsehood. The two must always be differentiated.

Where we have a judge and prophet like Deborah fully commended by God, who as a “mother of Israel” gave “rest” to the land for forty years (Judges 4,5), we also have a Jezebel, a Sidonian, who worshiped Baal and encouraged the nation in Baal worship (1 Kings 16:31-33).

Where we have a wise woman able to save an entire city-state from Joab’s attack (2 Samuel  20:14-22), we can also have a medium with whom Saul can consult (1 Samuel 28:7-14).

Where we have prophet Anna (Luke 2:36), and women prophets at Corinth whom Paul assumed should keep on praying and prophesying in public (1 Cor. 11:15), we also have another prophet not commended, the woman at Thyatira who called herself “Jezebel” (Rev. 2:20). (And of course sometimes the same person acts wisely but at other times not, such as the prophet Miriam.)

The fame of some prophets, such as Philip’s four daughters, increased from New Testament times, when they are simply mentioned, until in later years, Eusebius, the church historian, uses them as standards by which to evaluate eminence “for a prophetic gift,” those who belonged to “the first stage in the apostolic succession” (History of the Church III.37, IV.17). The early church believed that the many women (and men) who died for their faith had a special authority. In heaven they share Christ’s authority and are Christ’s fellow-judges.16

Finally, where we have a Perpetua, whose biographer in A.D. 203 saw in her life and death proof that the Holy Spirit still give prophetic gifts and visions, we also have the prophets Maximilla and Priscilla who joined Montanus in what is usually considered to be an early church heresy (Eusebius V.16ff).17

The point is this: As in all matters of life, we must be discerning.


Third of all, is ancient goddess worship really the basis for values such as community, healing, spiritual vitality, individuality, God is in all, interconnectedness, democracy, equality, diversity, dynamism, uniqueness, consensus, symbolism, creativity, everyday relevance, body, nature, nurture, unity, immanence, relationships, caring, listening, mothering, empathy, receptiveness, mystery, and love? And is the God of Christianity really the basis for values such as transcendence, masculinity, disembodiedness, dominion, patriarchy, separation, autonomy, assertiveness, war, hierarchy, silence, competitiveness, and power?

Donald Bloesch in The Battle for the Trinity does seem to suggest so. Although God may be described as “divine motherhood as well as a divine fatherhood, … yet the latter is the controlling symbol.” God as Father “is not a mere symbol,” but it is “closer to being literal.” It corresponds with the masculine, “creativeness, initiative, and aggressiveness,” as opposed to the feminine, “receptivity, openness, spontaneity, intuitiveness.”18

Raymond C. Ortland, reviewing Beyond the Curse and Beyond Sex Roles in a booklet entitled Gender, Worth, and Equality: Manhood and Womanhood According to Genesis 1-3, concludes: “It is God who deliberately ordains inequalities in many aspects of our lives.” Even the Godhead is “equal in glory but unequal in role.” He concludes that feminist thinking results in “a mass stampede for power, recognition, status, prestige, and so on.”19

I would like to remind us that God is both “masculine” and “feminine” since male and female together make God’s image: “God created the Adam in his image in the image of God he created him.”

Who is Adam? “A male and a female he created them” (Gen. 1:27).20 Yet God is also Spirit (John 4:24). Moreover, God is transcendent and immanent. Paul says we should be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit because God is “the one over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:6). God is transcendent, which is “over all.” God is immanent, or “in all.” We have been arguing so much over transcendency and immanence, we have not even begun to discuss what it means for God to be “through all.”

When I was on my sabbatical in 1989, as a self-enriching activity, I read through the Bible and kept a list of all adjectival phrases God uses as self-revelation. Moses, in summarizing who God is, describes God as “a great and terrible God,” the “God of gods, and lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God.” That type of description is certainly apt to dissuade any “new feminist” who does not believe God should be transcendent, “into power,” autonomous, assertive and hierarchical. But what does God then go on to say? Because of these traits God “is not partial and takes no bribe, executes justice for the fatherless and the widow and loves the sojourner” (Deut. 10:17-21).

In other words, God does not separate power from love, transcendency from immanence, autonomy from interconnectedness, assertiveness from listening, hierarchy from democracy. Because God has power, God uses that power to perceive the individual and aid the needy. Because God is transcendent, God can also be immanent. Because God is autonomous, God can also be interconnected. Because God is assertive, God can choose to listen. Because God is the highest in authority, power and esteem, God can enable us to use our authority to give power and esteem to others. Therefore God commands “love the sojourner” (Deut. 10:19), take care of the widow and the orphan (Deut. 14:29).21

Thus, ancient goddess worship can not take the credit for these values. All good values come from our one living God, the God who created matter as good. It is a destructive deception which causes us to separate our one God into male and female deities. All good gifts come from our one Source of lights (James 1:17). We certainly do not want to resurrect any ancient goddesses or gods. What knows what ancient evils might resurrect themselves with them?


But, fourth of all, we also need both to appreciate what I will call “image theology,” yet watch out for its dangers. Paul begins his letter to the Romans with the often quoted sentence: ‘What can be known of God is manifest among humans; for God made it manifest to them. For God’s unseen attributes, namely God’s everlasting power and deity, is? being seen thoroughly since the creation of the world, being perceived by means of the things God has made” (1:19-20). God who is a Spirit and therefore “unseen,” “invisible” or incomprehensible to the sense of sight, touch, smell and sound nevertheless can be known (or becomes visible) by seeing, touching, tasting, smelling, and hearing all that God has created. Paul stresses that what can be known of God is visible or known, evident, plain because God to them made it visible or plain (1:19). God communicates to every person individually (“to them”) through what can be seen in the world. God’s self proclamation (to gnoston) is proclaimed clearly (phaneros) because God “to them” made it clear and self-evident.

Even as the God who cannot be seen became visible in Jesus (Col. 1:15-16), the God who cannot be seen is visibly proclaimed by what God created. Beginning with the time of the creation of the world, God’s unseen qualities have been demonstrated ”by means of what is created.” Paul specifies that God’s invisible qualities can be (and are being) perceived clearly. What are those unseen or invisible qualities? They are God’s everlasting or eternal power and deity. God’s unseen attributes have been perceived since the creation of the world because God’s power had no beginning and it has no end. The world may have a beginning and an end, but God has no beginning or end. Peter explains that the divine power results in life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4). Only God has a truly “everlasting” deity (theiotes) unlike the deity assigned to Roman Emperors. Therefore, Paul can conclude in verse 21 that humans ”have known” God (ginosko, the same word used for the intimacy of knowledge in marriage – e.g., Gen. 4:1 LXX). Paul is saying that humans can have an experiential knowledge of God by contemplating God’s creation.

In Romans, Paul does not cite a clear example of how God’s everlasting power and deity may be perceived clearly in the created world. However, Jesus said that the person who gave food, gave drink, welcomed a stranger, clothed the naked, visited the sick or the inmate “did it to me,” therefore showing that Christ is present in the person in need (Matt. 25:34-40). Similarly, since humans have been created in God’s image, God’s power and deity may be “perceived clearly” in humans. Human need, desire, and have the ability to interrelate with each other, reflecting the one God who is in three Persons (Gen. 1:26). The power of humans through their ability to think, to speak, to procreate, and to be moral would also reflect God’s own power.

In the same way as God’s creation is an image or reflection of God’s eternal power and divine nature (Rom. 1:20), it is a means to an end. Therefore, women, too, as a part of God’s creation, should be images or reflections of God’s eternal power and divine nature. Elizabeth Dodson Gray goes as far as to claim that women’s theologies are “rooted in the particular …clothed in the subjective. They are luminous with the sights, sounds and feel of a real individual women’s life.”22 That is why it is right and proper to talk about God as Someone who bears children (Isa. 46:3-4, 42:14-16), nurses (Isa. 49:15; Ps. 131:2), educates small children (Hosea 11:3-4), cares for and protects the young (Ex. 19:4; Deut. 32:10-14, Matt. 23:37, lsa. 31:4, Hosea 13:8), manages a house (like 15:8-9) and should be approached as a subject approaches the queen (Ps. 132:1-2). Susanne Heine writes: “It is obvious what [Hosea, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Deuteronomy, and the Priestly writers opposed to goddess myths and cults] want to say. Why do you need a mother goddess? Yahweh, the father, judge and warrior hero, can also give birth, breast-feed, care for and have mercy. Even if a mother left her child, God would never leave his people.”23

However, the danger of using everyday images to understand God is that one might conclude the images are sufficient to understand God. That of course is Paul’s other point. “For the anger of God is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and injustice of humans, the ones  suppressing the truth with injustice, …in order that they may be without excuse; because having known God not as God they glorified or thanks, but they were given to worthless speculation in their thoughts and their dull hearts became darkened” (1:18,20-21).

Because humans are unjust and sinful they cripple the truth.24 No one, male or female, is without sin, and everyone, male and female, needs God’s written authoritative reliable revelation to evaluate the truth of what they are discerning from creation. The moon, the stars, the ocean, the earth, the trees, the animals, humans, and ourselves all reveal something of the transcendent but immanent God.  But God is not the moon, stars, earth, trees, animals, humans and ourselves.

In God “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28), but all that lives, breathes, loves, sings” is not God.25 Nature tells us about God, but God is not nature.


Finally, what some people do not realize is that much religious feminism is very conservative. What is it that has catapulted Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza to fame? In addition to having many fine insights into the ministry of women, a creative mind, and intelligence, she has developed a feminist adaptation of “conservative” higher criticism. Her hermeneutic basically is a modified Bultmannian approach. She simply claims that the earliest church was a “discipleship of equals” rather than seeing the earliest church as Palestinian only.26

So the question is not “how can evangelical feminism be saved from secular feminism,” but rather, “how can evangelical feminists not be sidetracked or misled by the untrue conclusions of theologically liberal feminists?” Further, how can secular feminists be redirected to their  Christian roots? How can the evangelical church affirm women (and men) in ministry outside and in the home and thereby set a positive example for the religious community and the worldly community, so that the gospel will no longer be rejected because the church is patriarchal, but only because Jesus’ claims have been rejected?

In summary, we need a biblically-based critical evaluation of what Kathleen Hirsch calls the “new feminism” (which, incidentally, is not that new, since Robin Morgan, as a guest lecturer at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1970, was already talking about goddess worship). My own initial reactions are:

  1. Yes, we must stand for other’s rights and, if necessary, speak up on our own behalf as well;

  2. Wherever women have existed we find examples of those who used their authority to further God’s truth as opposed to falseness;

  3. All good values come from the one living God and we become destructive and deceptive if we separate and isolate mutually coexistent qualities of God;

  4. We need to remember that everything created does tell us about our Creator, but everything created is not our Creator; and

  5. Much modern though is based on treating the Bible as unreliable or unauthoritative.

My challenge to you is this: Are you inadvertently or advertently pushing women (and some men) to seek their values and sources of authority outside of Christianity by highlighting only part of the good news, or proclaiming only part of God, or applying the good news only to part of Christianity, or including in the structure of your work or informal relations only part of the Christian body?

Do not let it be said of you as Pearl Buck said of her father, Andrew: “Strange remote soul of a man that could pierce into the very heavens and discern God with such certainty and never see proud and lonely creature at his side. To him she was only a woman.”27

Sadly, Pearl Buck rejected the Christianity of her parents and went on to express that rejection in countless novels.

We need to reeducate ourselves about the true roots of the beauty, strength, and power of women. Women, as well as men, are created in the likeness of the one living God, a God celebrated by the wealthy, powerful, and beautiful wise woman personified in Proverbs, and who calls on the heights, at the crossroads, as an elder at the gates of the city: “O simple ones, learn prudence; acquire intelligence, you who lack it” (Proverbs 8:1-5, NRSV).


  1. Kathleen Hirsch, “Feminism’s New Face,” The Boston Globe, February 25,1990, pp. 18-20, 22,  24, 26-28, 32, 34-36.
  2. Hirsch, p. 36.
  3. Starhawk, “Witchcraft and Women’s Culture,” Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion, eds. Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow (New York: Harper and Row, 1979), pp. 260-263.
  4. Carol P. Christ, “Why Women Need the Goddess: Phenomenological, Psychological, and Political Reflections,” Womanspirit Rising, p. 273.
  5. Christ, p.p. 286, 274-276.
  6. Janette Hassey, No Time for Silence: Evangelical Women in Public Ministry Around the Turn of the Century (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986), p. 16.
  7. Hassey, p. 31.
  8. Nathan R. Wood, A School of Christ (Boston: Halliday, 1953), pp. 27, 35. In 1985 at A.J. Gordon’s death the teachers and administrators were Dr. James Gray, Dr. Julia Morton Plummer, Dr. John McElwain, Mrs. Gordon, Professor Cole, Dr. F. Chapell, and Mrs. Chapell (p. 25). In 1901, they were Dr. Emory Hunt, Dr. John McElwain, Dr. J.D. Herr, Mrs. Gordon, Mrs. Alice Coleman (secretary), Rev. Arthur Gordon (treasurer), Dr. James Gray, Mrs. Gray, Dr. Julia Morton Plummer, and Miss Blanche Tilton (pp. 34-35).
  9. Katherine C. Bushnell, God’s Word to Women: One Hundred Bible Studies on Woman’s Place in the Divine Economy. Reprinted by Ray B. Munson, Box 52, North Collins, NY 14111, paragraph 830, lesson 100.
  10. Helen Barrett Montgomery, trans. The New Testament in Modern English (Valley Forge, Judson, 1924).
  11. Catherine Booth,  Female Ministry: or, Woman’s Right to Preach the Gospel (London, 1859). Reprinted by the Salvation Army, New York.
  12. Douglas W. Carlson, “Discovering their Heritage: Women and the American Past,” Gender Matters: Women’s Studies for the Christian Community, ed. June Steffensen Hagen (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990), p. 101.
  13. Dorothy C. Bass, “I’heir Prodigious Influence: Women, Religion, and Reform in Antebellum America.” Women of Spirit: Female Leadership in the Jewish and Christian Traditions, eds. Rosemary Ruether and Eleanor Mclaughlin (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1979), p. 280.
  14. Frederick Douglass, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (New York: Collier, 1892), p. 472.
  15. Ruth A.Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church: Women and Ministry from New Testament Times to the Present (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987), p. 231.
  16. See A. Besancon Spencer, “Early-Church Heroines: Rulers, Prophets and Martyrs,” Christian History, VII (Winter, 1988),12-16.
  17. Compare Ronald A.N. Kydd, Charismatic Gifts in the Early Church: An Exploration into the Gifts of the Spirit During the First Three Centuries of the Christian Church (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1984), pp. 31-36. See also Christian History VII: 1, the issue on “Women in the Early Church.”
  18. Donald G. Bloesch, The Battle for the Trinity: The Debate Over Inclusive God Language (Ann Arbor: Servant, 1985), pp. 34-37.
  19. Raymond C. Ortland, Jr., Gender. Worth.and Equality: Manhood and Womanhood According to Genesis 1-3 (Wheaton: Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 1990), pp. 16, 23, 40. This booklet is adapted from the book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Westchester: Crossway, 1991).
  20. For a full discussion of my views on creation see Beyond the Curse: Women Called to Ministry (Peabody: Henderickson,1985).
  21. For a discussion of God’s concern for the widow in the Bible, see The Prayer Life of Jesus: Shout of Agony. Revelation of Love.  A Commentary (Lanham: University Press of America, 1990).
  22. Elizabeth Dodson Gray, ed. Sacred Dimensions of Women’s Experience (Wellesley: Roundtable, 1988), p. 1.
  23. For example, Isaiah 42:13-14; 46:3-4. Heine also points out that some ancient exemplary goddesses are not as powerful or non-violent as some would portray. EI is “senior god” over Asherat and Anat. ”The dominant position of the goddesses in the pantheon, cannot be attested from the Ras Shamra texts.” Anat is a very violent goddess who “Wades in the blood of her opponents.” Matriarchs. Goddesses, and Images of God: A Critique of a Feminist Theology, trans. J. Bowden (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1989), 28-29, 45-46.
    For support of the Trinity as a coequal, interconnected community of divine persons without gender dualism, see Linda A. Mercadante, Gender, Doctrine. and God: The Shakers and Contemporary Theology (Nashvi1le: Abingdon, 1990), p. 170, and Royce Gordon Gruenler, The Trinity in the Gospel of John: A Thematic Commentary on the Fourth Gospel (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1986).
  24. Aida Besancon Spencer, “Romans1: Finding God in Creation,” Through No Fault of Their Own? The Fate of Those  who Have Never Heard, eds. William V. Crockett and James G. Sigountos (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991).
  25. See Starhawk, The Spiral Dance; A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess (NewYork: Harper and Row, 1979), pp. 2, 77-78. The main difference I noticed between Starhawk’s approach to nature and my own as a Christian is that in witchcraft, one ends by blurring individuality, losing control, and becoming one with nature, whereas in Christianity, attention to nature accentuates conscious appreciation of God as Other and humans as unique. For example, in the shadow play exercise, the goal is to see so that separate objects disappear and only pattern remains (p. 20). Also, “The universe is a fluid, ever-changing energy patter, not a collection of fixed and separate things” (p. 129). Entrance in the craft is symbolized by being bound (p. 162). See also pp. 34, 38, 45, 86, 99, 109, 128.
  26. See my review of  In Memory of Her and Bread Not Stone in Update: Newsletter of the Evangelical Woman’s Caucus, 11:2 (Summer, 1987), 11-13.
  27. Pearl Buck, The Exile (New York: Reynal and Hitchcock. 1936), pp. 358-359.