So I finally wrote about how it feels to be one of the "barren" women in the Advent season
, and though it's not received a single comment on the site itself, I keep getting FB notes and emails. I had *no idea* so many other women were struggling with this. Sometimes simply with the judgments that one receives for choosing not to procreate, sometimes with comments like "When are you gonna get married and give me grandkids?" Sometimes with the inability to conceive and the grief around that, and the fact that no one wants to touch it. It made me remember my dad saying he took a professional pastoral development workshop on helping couples with infertility, and helping churches deal sensitively with that while also celebrating pregnancies and births for other couples. Because while it's easy for communities to celebrate with the birth of a new child, those celebrations can further alienate people working through the grief of childlessness. And it's hard - really hard - for communities to name that grief and not try to "Jesus it away."
But reading other Christian women talk about how affirming the Women's Seder
was for them, I want to think about how we can create a Woman-affirming Christian festival. It's challenging partly because of how much less community- and family-centered Christianity is. And a lot of the Christian "feminist liturgies" I've looked at are clunky and much too obviously trying to compensate. Whereas the Women's Seder names women's oppression and neglect with a joyful ferocity. It relies on the standard (and awesome!) Dayenu, old folk songs, and Debbie Friedman's newer songs, some of which are clunky, too, but some of which work really well because of the way she draws images and turns of phrase from the Bible and Jewish poetry and song. Also, while the Passover is an obvious choice for a festival for lesbians' and straight women's exodus from patriarchy and homophobia, this is one instance where Easter as a parallel doesn't seem to fit . . . or does it? Hmm . . .