Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What She Can Do

God is all about action, right? All about getting up and doing, so we can have something to show for our faith. Like we carry around our holy reports cards that we can flip open at a moment's notice (usually around others, so we can prove how amazingly holy we are) and show our gold stars of holy doing because somewhere, somehow, we must prove how much we love God.

Don't get me wrong, we need to have a response to our faith, an action response. Food needs to be served to the hungry. The sick need to be nurtured. The outcast need friends. Our faith and spirituality should move us.

But when we're so busy moving that we don't take the time to cultivate a regular prayer life, a regular time when we're patiently listening to God, could it be that the action comes from our own ego rather than that still, gentle voice of the Holy One? Not that God and good can't be in that, as well. We humans often underestimate the environment God needs to work wonders. But well-nurtured soil does make the plants grow better.

The great mystics understood the Holy Feminine and the Holy Masculine of God, the yin and yang of the Divine that, in our best selves, exists in us in balance. Modern psychology reiterates this, even recognizing that when that balance is out of whack (and it is in most of us) there is a price to pay. The Holy Masculine is about doing, the intellectual approach to life and to ministry that weighs pros and cons, the part that likes numbers and lists, the decision making part of God that picks a direction and goes. The Holy Feminine is about stillness, waiting, feeling, and being; about sitting with ambiguity and allowing ourselves to be revealed in holy space. In this space, God can turn our thorns into roses, our anxiety into peace. She can unleash the caring and loving soul we sometimes forget we are because we are so busy making decisions. She is the creative side that continues to create in each moment.

One is not better than the other, although our culture and our church would differ. For all the sermons last Sunday about how Mary sitting at Jesus' feet was the better way in that moment, the action of Martha is often lauded and valued at the expense of the stillness of the Feminine. Processes are valued more than waiting. Prestige, more than the quiet moments that occur between people that are never posted on a resume. Action, more than gestation.

The Holy Feminine will trust the slow work of God. She will sit, perhaps somewhat uncomfortably, in a space and pray and wait until the moment of clarity comes, and that moment of clarity may often be murky and unsure. She may look at all the rational reasons to say, "No," to quit, or to avoid and still follow the heart into dangerous territory. Love, after all, may be just another opportunity to be hurt, but it is also the best opportunity to embrace the sweet vulnerability of God in our everyday lives.

Getting in touch with both aspects of the Holy within our souls is no easy task. Carl Jung opined that it may be the most courageous thing humanity dares to do, to feel what we lack and search for it within ourselves. The call is not to pick Mary or Martha, but to grasp both of them to our very selves and souls to continue the quest to Holy Wholeness.

1 comment:

Amanda G. said...

Thank you so much for your insights! As a fairly new minister (going into my second year of ministry) I crave insight and wisdom from people like you. This particular post was very meaningful to me and I just wanted to share my appreciation.