God-Wrestling Nuns

Nun kicks a heavy bag in a gym. Photo by Martin San/Getty Images.

The voice of God would sound differently coming from the mouths of nuns than from the mouths of patriarchs.

U.S. Nuns are grappling over a response to Vatican concern with their doctrinal loyalty. Church leadership wants them denouncing abortion and gays more than saving the lives of women and children, and affirming God’s love for all of humanity.

One sister explains:

We have a differing perspective on obedience. Our understanding is that we need to continue to respond to the signs of the times, and the new questions and issues that arise in the complexities of modern life are not something we see as a threat.

The sisters are in line with Bible heroes.

When Jacob wrestled with God he received a new name, Israel, meaning “He struggles with God.” At the end of the tussle God “blessed him there.”

God blesses one who struggles with Him?

Or, Job questioned why God made him suffer. His companions admonished him, demanding he accept God’s judgment.

Yet God did not think highly of the friends who spewed standard lines about submitting to divine will, repenting and being humble. God said, “You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.”

And then Job conversed with God, proclaiming, “I knew of you with the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes have seen you.” He got to know God, and this would never have happened had he taken the standard “counsels of piety” and played the submissive, unquestioning part his friends advised.  It was only by being authentic in his doubts and questions that he could bring enough of himself to have a chance to get to know God.

These Bible stories speak well to the nuns’ intentions.

Go get ‘em girls!

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on August 3, 2012, in feminism, gender, LGBTQ+, reproductive rights, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I heard about a conflict within the Catholic church between the Vatican and LCWR (which, as you are probably aware of, consists of about 80 percent of the Roman Catholic Nuns in the US).

    The Vatican was urging the nuns to openly come out against homosexuality. The Vatican criticized the nuns for being quiet on that issue (and, as I understand it, issues surrounding women’s rights, too).

    When I discussed this with my mom she shared with me her thoughts. She told me that she was very excited that nuns seemed to be “dancing around” the immoral stances taken by the Roman Catholic Church. “It’s a small step,” she said, “but it’s a start.”

    This post made me smile. Having grown up in a Christian family, I have studied the bible in part. It is important to highlight passages such as these. Too often we skip past the parts of the bible that truly apply to the modern day.

    With the landmark Supreme Court Case, Marbury v. Madison, the concept of judicial review was established. The Supreme Court could interpret the Constitution and, if deemed necessary, rewrite or change law so that it fits with the new, official standards. This is a good example of how I view my spiritual journey–a series of questions to determine my own morality. I think the nuns are, in some ways, on a similar path as mine. They encourage questioning God. What a major stride for the Roman Catholic Church!

  2. Absolutely. If God chose to speak here–he’d be behind the nuns. The Vatican forgets the true mission of the church, but the nuns have not. GO SISTERS!

    …and Georgia, you HAVE to stop nudging my muse–you just did it to me…again!

  1. Pingback: 8.6.2012 Sister News Monday Blog Edition « SisterNews.net

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