13 June 2014


One of the more interesting things about living in Rotorua is the geothermal activity we have here. Most of the time it's pretty wonderful: boiling mud, geysers, and perpetual hot water. But there is a slightly darker side too. We live on one of the most geologically active areas of the country and there are over 45 known major fault lines running under and around the city.

So tonight we had an earthquake swarm. Lots of little shakes, all literally right under our feet - so close that there was no sound before they hit. But fortunately all rather small - but it is rather unnerving. I feel for our Christchurch friends - one night of small quakes is enough to freak me out, let alone years of them....!

On other fronts, I am having a few small niggles in other ways too. I had a bit of an epiphany in church the other day - a fairly good place to have one, you might say! - but this one was a bit different. I was paying close attention to the liturgy and it suddenly occurred to me that although Christians claim that God is beyond gender, we never use feminine imagery for God. We don't hear God referred to as She. Where is the God-language that includes female experiences? Yes I know that Jesus was a man, born in a specific time and place, but why should we refer to the other Persons of the Godhead as he? I am currently reading She who Is: the mystery of God in feminist theological discourse (Sr Elizabeth Johnson), which is both an extremely well-reasoned book and beautifully written.

I have also been researching options around inclusive- and expansive-language liturgy and Divine Office. I found that once I had awoken to this problem, the versions of the Office I have been using for years were really grating. I kept having to translate or substitute and it got in the way of praying. I discovered the Sisters of St Helena also had the same issue and they re-translated their breviary and psalms, and then tested their versions through years of monastic daily prayer. And bless them, they have made the breviary available to the public! There is a monastic version (now only available in pdf format) and a personal version which comes in a book. I've ordered the monastic version and am excited about the fact that the sisters have included their chant tunes! Before I went ahead and got it, I checked with the rest of the Community to see if anyone else had used it. Lots of them had, and almost all of them liked it. One of the brothers also found a sneaky link to the interior of the personal edition so I could have a look, and it's beautiful.

I am really looking forward to praying with symbols for God that embrace feminine experience and language!

No comments: