“We are all meant to be mothers of God…for God is always needing to be born.” ~ Meister Eckhardt
Last month we had our Blue Christmas gathering at The Refuge. A contemplative space, Refuge friends created different stations to engage with different aspects of a season that can be hard for so many in different ways. My favorite station was centered on images of Mary and Jesus in a wide variety of cultures. The reflection included the Christian mystic Meister Eckhardt’s words. Eckhardt (like other mystics), uses language that pulls us out of our usual frame to draw nearer to the intimacy of God. He says, “We are all meant to be mothers of God…for God is always needing to be born.”
“We are all meant to be mothers of God…for God is always needing to be born.”
This current political administration has been kicking my tail for almost exactly a year now. The constant onslaught to so many values and people I deeply care about has been brutal.
I have been struck more than ever on how right now we are in desperate need of mothering in the world.
God is always needing to be born.
Oh how we need more God-birthing, not systematic dismantling of so many protections for the poor and vulnerable.
More reflections of Jesus in not just our lives but our systems and groups.
More examples of humility and mercy and compassion and sacrifice.
More tangible, incarnational experiences that heal.
More toppling of oppressive systems that strip dignity and rob freedom.
Yeah, we need more mothers.
I’ve been writing and speaking about this for years, but this past year felt it in my bones in an even stronger way—We need more women leading in this world, giving birth to something new.
1 / Men have lead us into this mess and we need someone else to lead us out. I try not to be blame-y, but on this one it’s just reality. Patriarchy is embedded into pretty much all our systems and this is where it’s got us. Homogeneous, male-dominated, unhealthy power-infused systems are the norm and it’s just…wrong. We are reaping what we sowed and it’s time to sow some different seeds. In the words of Einstein, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
2 / All the potential’s there; it just needs to be unleashed. Women who have not had opportunities to use their gifts and contribute to leadership in whatever systems they are in have incredible potential waiting to be unleashed. When I look around at all of the best things in the Kingdom of God I see right now, the most creative, innovative, passionate, holistic, contagious, are being lead by women. It doesn’t mean that men aren’t making great contributions, but women are bringing a texture and depth to the work that is just scratching the surface of what could be.
3 / We need the resilience women bring. Birth is bloody and messy and hard and beautiful and brave. Women know how to do this intuitively, whether or not a child is in the mix; we know how to give birth to ideas, connections, dreams, and relationships despite the obstacles, the pain, the resistance. This kind of resilience is desperately needed right now, and women naturally have it. We don’t just keep trying the same thing over and over again, expecting different results (that’s called insanity. And I think this current climate is more insane than ever). Women know how to adapt, experiment, innovate naturally.
4 / We’ve all been traumatized and could use some mothering about now. Mothering isn’t just about biological children. It’s about the natural things that mothers do expressed in the world—nurturing, caring, protecting, advocating, comforting, creating. I feel like the cocktail of the political climate, broken religious systems, and brutality and violence in the world has taken its toll. We don’t need louder, violent voices. We need leaders who will unite us, remind us, strengthen us, bind us, challenge us, comfort us, lead us with love. Yeah, we need mothering not just in little pockets (although that’s awesome, too) but in wider ways that transforms not only individuals but systems, too.
5 / It’s time. Seriously. We’ve already been doing it for a long time. Throughout history, women have always been hacking at it, creating change, stirring the pot, birthing new things, and moving us to fresh places. Women today have made it further than ever before, and many other countries have passed us up with female presidents and a far better mix on gender equality. Our churches are still male-dominated in the leadership department even though women are doing so much underneath the surface to make things go. Most of our systems, once we get to the top, are still homogeneous and male-dominated. Yeah, just keep coming back to point #1—men have lead us into this mess and we need something different to lead us out. It’s time.
The Christmas story embodies this so well but we keep forgetting it year after year.
We keep making the same mistakes.
Following the same leaders.
Forgetting our roots of subversiveness.
Submitting to unhealthy power.
Missing out on what could be.
But there’s a stirring like never before. There’s a strength rising that won’t be ignored. There’s a tide coming that can’t be turned back. There are birth pangs that will only get stronger.
God is needing to be born, here, now, in 2018, like never before.
Sure, both men and women can be mothers; God’s image is in both of us, and I love that reality.
I’m not advocating for all-women anything. We need each other.
But I’m not afraid to say it and say it strong and loud and over-and-over-and-over-again—we need more women leading the world right now.
It’s time for something new to be born.