Tag Archive | women’s stories

Birthing God and Christianity

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CHRISTIANITY AS AN EMBODIED RELIGION

Rachel Brunns is a spirited and thoughtful young woman who was a member of the Lutheran Volunteer Corps when I interviewed her.  She is currently studying theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee.

Rachel, who is from Minnesota but spent some time in the Andes of Peru where she experienced the Divine Feminine in Pachamama [Earth Mother], told me, “Christianity, at its core, is an earthly, embodied religion. It’s something I hope we can reclaim.”

What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Send me your thoughts!

 

 

Photo credit: Viva Van Assen

Why we do social justice…

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Reverend Debbie Lee is one of forty women interviewed in Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine.

Debbie says that she experiences God in the multitude. When asked about her faith and her work for immigrant rights, she responds, “Spirituality is why we do social justice. It’s what makes social justice work.”

Debbie Lee is a United Church of Christ minister and the Director of the Interfaith Coalition on Immigrant Rights

http://www.icir-clue.blogspot.com/

Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine

Birthing God cover

Powerful narratives of suffering, love, and hope that inspire

both personal and collective transformation.

 In Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine, 40 women of faith describe inspirational, Spirit-filled moments: a Korean student feels the hands of God supporting her despite excruciating torture; a grieving pastor walks a labyrinth and rediscovers the Rock of her existence; a human rights advocate re-encounters Allah in an intensely visceral moment in the sun; a Salvadoran peasant woman under fire discovers within herself the God who gives her courage. Each woman’s story invites reflection and the deepening of readers’ own spiritual practices.

Order or preview at:

http://www.skylightpaths.com/page/product/978-1-59473-480-9

Also available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

Advance Praise for Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine

Birthing God cover

“At last, a vibrant investigation into the lived spirituality of God-intoxicated women! Lana Dalberg’s Birthing God is more than a series of snapshots into the lives and thoughts of deeply spiritual women; it is a glimpse into the living Divine as She makes Herself known to us through these amazing seekers. The result is a spirituality of radical openness that offers a much-needed alternative to the closed-hearted and narrow-minded spirituality that dominates so much of contemporary religion.”

Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of The Divine Feminine in Biblical Wisdom Literature

Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine cover

Birthing God: Women's Experiences of the Divine cover

Happy New Year to you! My blessing this coming year is a book, Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine, available March 1 from Skylight Paths Publishing. After laboring long hours and completing nearly sixty interviews, I am excited to bring it into the world, and of course, I want to share it with you!

In Birthing God, 40 women of different faiths describe inspirational, spirit-filled moments: a Korean student feels the hands of God supporting her despite excruciating torture; a grieving pastor walks a labyrinth and rediscovers the Rock of her existence; a human rights advocate re-encounters Allah in an intensely visceral moment in the sun; a Salvadoran peasant woman under fire discovers within herself the God who gives her courage. Each woman’s story invites reflection and the deepening of one’s own spiritual practices, whatever they might be.

Join me in celebrating the release of Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine!
http://www.skylightpaths.com/page/product/978-1-59473-480-9

The Next Big Thing: My New Project

What is the title of your book?

Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine. It will be published by SkyLight Paths Publishing in March 2013.

Where did the idea come from for this book?

I’ve had a variety of experiences of Spirit, including mystical visions and nature-based revelations, and I was curious to learn about other women’s experiences of the Divine.

What genre does your book fall under?

Definitely nonfiction, although I crafted the interviews into narratives so that they read like stories.

How long did it take to write the first draft?

A year and two months. My goal was to interview 50 women by International Women’s Day. By the time I was done, I had interviewed nearly 60 women in total.

What actors would you use for a movie rendition of your book?

Hhhmmm. There’s 40 women’s stories, so I’d have to think of a lot of women actors: Viola Davis, Cicely Tyson, Michelle Yeoh, Ellen DeGeneres, Salma Hayek, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Vanessa Redgrave…

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

In Birthing God, 40 women relate spirit-filled moments: a grieving pastor walks a labyrinth and rediscovers the Rock of her existence; a human rights advocate re-encounters Allah in an intensely visceral moment in the sun; an educator, moved by an ancestral vision, launches a global tree-planting project to heal the wounds of slavery; a revolutionary awakens from a coma and realizes that all of life is infused with Spirit. Each woman’s story invites readers to deepen and enliven their own spiritual practices. Oops, that was two sentences!

Will it be self published or represented by an agency?

My publisher is SkyLight Paths Publishing (www.skylightpaths.com).

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My own mystical encounters and a craving to hear other women share their experiences since most spiritual accounts are authored by men.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

While spiritual memoirs abound, not many showcase 40 women’s spiritual stories in one book. The closest cousin to my book is the anthology, Women, Spirituality, and Transformative Leadership (SkyLight Paths 2011), where 30 women contribute their thoughts on women’s spirituality and the imperative for women’s transforming leadership in the world.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The stories sizzle with insight and intensity. For example, a Korean theologian and dharma teacher describes feeling the inexplicable consolation of God’s hands while she was being tortured in a South Korean prison. In another story, a Salvadoran under fire discovers within herself the God who gives her courage. (If it sounds like I’m totally jazzed by these stories, I am!)

Thanks to Lindsey Crittenden for inviting me to participate in this blog chain!

http://loveinshallah.com/contributors-2/

Ayesha Mattu’s first book, Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women  was featured globally by media including the New York Times, NPR, BBC, Washington Post, The Guardian, Times of India, Dawn Pakistan and The Jakarta Post. She is working on a family memoir about three generations of Pakistani Sufi women, and blogs at Love InshAllah. http://loveinshallah.com/contributors-2/

Come celebrate my new book, Birthing God!

Great news! Skylight Paths Publishing will be publishing my book, Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine in early 2013.

In Birthing God, forty women relate spirit-filled moments: a grieving pastor walks a labyrinth and rediscovers the Rock of her existence; a human rights advocate re-encounters Allah in an intensely visceral moment in the sun; an educator, moved by an ancestral vision, launches a global tree-planting project to heal the wounds of slavery; a revolutionary awakens from a coma and realizes that all of life is infused with Spirit; a peasant woman under fire discovers within herself the God who gives her courage; and a disabled doctor, embraced by Shekinah, turns her heart to rabbinical studies. Each woman’s story invites readers to deepen and enliven their own spiritual practices.

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, join with me in celebration this coming weekend at the 6th   annual herconference November 2-4 at herchurch, where I will be leading a workshop. See http://herconferencesf.org/workshops/ for more details. Hope to see you there!

Visions of Mother

In my early forties, an amazing thing happened. I began meditating daily, at first in my bedroom closet so as not to awaken my husband, and later in a small room he built for me in the garage. In those precious moments of meditation, I let go of fears and other distractions and rested gently in the breath. Visions appeared, fragrant from another realm: oceans and forest streams with eddying pools where four-legged animals gathered to drink.

Indian madonna and child, Annabel Landaverde

During that period, as my body shifted towards change, towards menopause, my inner spirit opened itself to the larger Spirit, and I came face to face with the Mother. Scenes unfurled on my inner eye in undulating landscapes, and She stepped into them. A tall African woman, the Mother was someone my heart recognized instantly. There were others, including Joan of Arc, armored and mounted on her horse, and several indigenous images of Mother.

In the visions the Mother cared for me, providing me nourishment, clothing, walking sticks, and gemstone necklaces that spoke to me of my inestimable worth in Her eyes. These waking visions were reinforced by dreams and gave rise to my desire to know other women’s stories and to hear their experiences of the Divine. After interviewing nearly fifty women of different faiths, I realized that however we name Spirit, we receive it with deep-hearted openness. Like Mary, our lives are the surprise that begins with the response, “Let it be.”

Taking the Sacred Valley with Me

The morning I leave the Sacred Valley of the Incas, I take one long look at the mountains rising up around me and see our oneness. I realize that the incredible beauty of this mountain valley is my birthright because I am not separate from it. Here in the Andes or back at San Bruno Mountain near my home in California, I am part of the majestic and ever-expanding beauty of the universe.

Gracias a la vida!

Blessed be!

Machu Picchu and Inti Machai

Temple City of Machu Picchu, Peru

Uncovered barely a hundred years ago, Machu Picchu was a temple city for the holy men and women of the Incan nobility, according to my guide. The Incas built their temples close to the sun, but caves were also important to them. Inti Machai is the cave I chose for meditation.

Inti Machai is like a tomb, an entrance into the heart of Pachamama, Earth Mother. After passing under slabs of granite, the same stone the Incas hewed for their temples and terraces, I found an altar and placed upon it my offering to Pachamama. Emerging from the cave-tomb, I felt like a newborn, both tender and strong. Sunlight and the green heights of El Cerro Feliz, the hill the people call Happy, greeted me. Words cannot express my gratitude, the immensity of my joy.

El Cerro Feliz

House tops (without roofs) and the mountain ranges

Cave of Inti Machai