Effect of Deconstructing Christian Faith on Sexuality
“God is going to change. We women will change the world so much that He
won’t fit anymore.” 1 (Naomi Goldenberg in Changing of the Gods: Feminism
and the End of Traditional Religions)
_”I am the Goddess! We are the Goddess!”_2 (About 700 women dancing around a
totem pole in Mankato, Minnesota)
_”While women sleep the earth shall sleep. But listen! We are waking up and
rising, and soon our sister will know her strength. The earth-moving day is
here.”_ 3 (Alla Bozareth-Campbell, Episcopal priest, 1974)
_”Religion and culture are ever changing, ever transforming We are the
transformer, maker and creator of our own religious and cultural
traditions.”_ 4 (Women, Religion, and Culture: seminar, Beijing Conference)
_”My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken me, the spring of
living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot
hold water.”_ (Jeremiah 2:13)
Peggy’s struggles seemed endless. She wanted to be close to God, but she
rarely felt His presence. She wanted her teenage son to love Him, but the
occult posters in his room became daily reminders of unanswered prayer. She
joined a Christian ministry, but satisfying fellowship with God kept eluding
her. Eventually she left the ministry to return to college.
She called me a few years later. she had begun to find herself, she said.
her search had led her beyond the “pat answers” to her ways in which radical
feminism is promoting neo- spiritual questions. The biblical God no longer
seemed relevant or benevolent. A college teacher had been especially helpful
in her journey toward self-discovery. This teacher-counselor called herself
a witch one who believes in the power of magic formulas and rituals to
invoke power from spiritual forces.
Some years passed. When she called again, she had left her husband and moved
away. “I had to find me,” she explained. “My spiritual journey has opened my
eyes to a whole new paradigm…’
“A new paradigm?”
“Yes. A brand new way of seeing God and myself-and everything else. It’s
like being born again.”
“Who is Jesus Christ to you now?” I asked.
“He is a symbol of redemption,” she answered. “But I haven’t rejected the
Bible. I’m only trying to make my spiritual experience my own. I have to
hear my own voice and not let someone else choose for me. Meanwhile, I’m
willing to live with confusion and mystery, and I feel like I’m in God’s
hands whether God is He, She, or It.”
“Do you have friends or relatives on similar journeys?” Like millions of
other seekers, Peggy longs for practical spirituality, a sense of identity,
a community of like-minded seekers, and a God she can feel. She remembers
meaningful Bible verses, but they have lost their authority as guidelines.
She wonders why God isn’t more tolerant and broadminded. After all, He is
the God of love, isn’t He? Maybe a feminine deity would be more
compassionate, understanding, and relevant to women. Perhaps it’s time to
move beyond the old boundaries of biblical truth into the boundless realms
of dreams, visions, and self-discovery?
Multitudes have. What used to be sparsely traveled side roads to New Age
experiences have become cultural freeways to self-made spirituality. Masses
of church women drift onto these mystical superhighways where they adapt
their former beliefs to today’s more “inclusive” views. After all, they are
told, peace in a pluralistic world demands a more open-minded look at all
religions and cultures.
Those who agree are finding countless paths to self discovery and personal
empowerment through books, magazines, and new kinds of women’s group. They
meet in traditional churches, at the YWCA, at retreat centers, living rooms
… anywhere. Here, strange new words and ideas such as “enneagrams,”
re-imagining, Sophia Circles, global consciousness, and “critical
mass”-offer modem formulas for spiritual transformation. Therapists,
spiritual directors, and others promise “safe places” where seekers can
discover their own truth, learn new rituals, affirm each other’s
experiences, and free themselves from old rules and limitations.
This new movement is transforming our churches as well as our culture. It
touches every family that reads newspapers, watches television, and sends
children to community schools. It is fast driving our society beyond
Christianity, beyond humanism-even beyond relativism-toward new global
beliefs and values. No one is immune to its subtle pressures and silent
promptings. That it parallels other social changes and global movements only
speeds the transformation. Yet, most Christians-like the proverbial
frog-have barely noticed.
This spiritual movement demands new deities or a rethinking of the old ones.
The transformation starts with self, some say, and women can’t re-invent
themselves until they shed the old shackles. So the search for a “more
relevant” religion requires new visions of God: images that trade holiness
for tolerance, the heavenly for the earthly, and the God who is above us for
a god who is us.
The most seductive images are feminine. They may look like postcard angels,
fairy godmothers, Greek earth goddesses, radiant New Age priestesses, or
even a mythical Mary, but they all promise unconditional love, peace, power
and personal transcendence. To many, they seem too good to refuse.
*The Masks of the Feminine Gods*
You probably wouldn’t expect to find goddesses in a conservative farming
community in North Dakota. I didn’t. But one day when visiting my husband’s
rural hometown, a neighbor told us that a new bookstore had just opened in
the parsonage of the old Lutheran Church. “You should go see it,” she urged.
I agreed, so I drove to a stately white church, walked to the parsonage next
door, and rang the bell. The pastor’s wife opened the door and led me into a
large room she had changed into a bookstore, leaving me to browse. Scanning
the shelves along the walls, I noticed familiar authors such as Lynn Andrews
who freely blends witchcraft with Native American rituals, New Age
self-empowerment, and other occult traditions to form her own spirituality.
Among the multicultural books in the children’s section, one caught my
attention. Called Many Faces of the Great Goddess, it was a “coloring book
for all ages.” Page after page sported voluptuous drawings of famed
goddesses. Nude, bare-breasted, pregnant, or draped in serpents, they would
surely open the minds of young artists to the lure of “sacred” sex and
Driving home, I pondered today’s fast-spreading shift from Christianity to
paganism. Apparently, myths and spiritualized sensuality sound good to those
who seek new revelations and “higher” truths. Many of the modem myths
picture deities that fit somewhere between a feminine version of God and the
timeless goddesses pictured in earth-centered stories and cultures. Yet,
each can be tailor made to fit the diverse tastes and demands of today’s
· Angels. Terry wears an angel pin on her jacket. She believes that
today’s popular angels offer all kinds of personal help, guidance and
encouragement. While God seems distant and impersonal to her, she counts
on her personal angel to help and love her. She showed me a set of angel
cards on a rack in her gift store. “May this Guardian Angel . . . give
you hope and strength to meet each new
· tomorrow,” suggested a sympathy card, complete with a tiny golden angel
· Sophia. “Sophia, Creator God, let your milk and honey flow…. Shower us
with your love. . . .” chanted more than 2000 women gathered at the 1993
Re-Imagining Conference in Minnesota. “We celebrate the sensual life you
give us. . . . We celebrate our bodiliness. . . . the sensations of
pleasure, our oneness with earth and water,”‘ continued one of the
leaders. Representing main-line denominations, the women had come from
the Presbyterian Church (USA) (about 400), the United Methodist Church
(about 400), the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (313), the
United Church of Christ (144), and Baptist, Episcopal, Church of the
Brethren about (150). About 230 were Roman Catholics. To most of these
worshippers, Sophia symbolized inner wisdom and “the feminine image of
the Divine.” Playful, permissive, and sensuous, she has “become the
latest rage among progressive church women.”6
· Mother Earth. Tracy is a regional Girl Scout leader in Santa Clara
County, California. To prepare young girls for an “Initiation into
Adulthood” ceremony, she uses guided imagery to alter their
consciousness and help them visualize a “beautiful woman”-a personalized
expression of Mother Earth-who will be their spirit guide for life. Each
girl is free to imagine the spiritual manifestation of her choice or to
welcome whichever spirit appears.
· A goddess. Sharon grew up in a Christian home. Disappointed with her
church’s chilly response to her environmental concerns, she turned to
witchcraft. Since her coven accepts any pantheistic expression, Sharon
simply transferred what she liked about God to her self-made image of
the goddess. She describes her feminine substitute for God as a loving,
non-judgmental being who fills all of creation with her sacred life.
Sometimes this goddess appears to Sharon, bathing her in bright light
and a loving presence.
These and countless other women share two radical views: traditional
Christianity with its biblical boundaries are out, and boundless new vistas
of spiritual thrills and skills are in. Anything goes except biblical
monotheism, belief in one God. The broad umbrella of feminist spirituality
covers all of the world’s pagan religions-and many of today’s popular
distortions of Christianity. Most seekers simply pick and mix the “best
parts” of several traditions. Someone might start with Buddhist meditation,
then add Chinese medicine, Hindu yoga, and a Native American wilderness
initiation called “Spirit Quest.” Some of these combinations match today’s
feminist visions better than others, but most involve-
· Pantheism: All is god. A spirit, force, energy or god(dess) permeates
everything, infusing all parts of creation with its spiritual life.
· Monism: All is one. Since the pantheistic god is everything and in
everyone, all things are connected.
· Polytheism: Many gods. Since the pantheistic force or god(dess) makes
everything sacred, anything can be worshipped: the sun, trees, mountains
and eagles-even ourselves.
· Paganism: Trusting occult wisdom and powers. Throughout history, tribal
shamans, medicine men, witchdoctors, or priests have contacted the
spirit world using timeless rituals and formulas which are surprisingly
similar in all the world’s pagan cultures.
· Neopaganism: New idealized blends of old pagan religions. To make
paganism attractive in today’s self-focused atmosphere, its promoters
idealize tribal cultures and pagan religions. Instead of telling the
whole truth and nothing but, they tell us that spiritual forces link
each person to every other part of nature. Anyone, not just spiritual
leaders, can now function as priestess, contact the spirit world,
manipulate spiritual forces, and help create worldwide peace and
*Gateways to the Goddess*
Like most Neopagans, Diane believes that earth-centered spirituality brings
peace and personal empowerment. A pretty young woman with long black hair
and the slender look of a vegetarian, she is a local hairdresser. She is
also married, looking forward to starting a family, and a member of the Bay
Area Pagan Assemblies. While cutting my hair one day, she told me how she
discovered the goddess.
“I always liked to read,” she said, “especially books about magic and
“Which was your favorite?” I asked.
“Margot Adler’s book, _Drawing Down the Moon_.”
“That’s almost an encyclopedia on witchcraft. How old were you?”
“A senior in high school.”
“How did you find it?”
“Browsing around in the library. But I had already read some other books,
like Medicine Woman by Lynn Andrews.
My thoughts drifted to another young woman who read Medicine Woman some
years ago. Lori’s high school teacher had encouraged her to explore various
spiritual traditions-even create her own religion. Fascinated with Lynn
Andrews’ blend of Native American shamanism and goddess spirituality, Lori
ordered a Native American tipi from a catalog, set it up in her backyard,
and used it for candle-lit rituals inspired by Wiccan magic (witchcraft).
Like most contemporary pagans, she had learned to mix various traditions
into a personal expression that fit her own quest for power and “wisdom from
Some months before Diane first cut my hair, I had met a charming Stanford
University student who also called herself pagan. Beth, an education and
philosophy major, had read my book about environmental spirituality and
wanted to discuss it with me. While we ate lunch together at the college
cafeteria, she shared her beliefs.
“Who introduced you to witchcraft and lesbianism?” I asked after a while.
“Two of my high school teachers,” she answered.
I wasn’t surprised. By then I knew that an inordinate number of pagan women
have chosen the classroom as their platform for spreading their faith and
transforming our culture.’ Like the rest of us, they want to build a better
world — one that reflects their beliefs and values.
While Beth talked, I glanced at her jewelry. The golden pentagram and
voluptuous little goddess dangling from a chain around her neck spoke
volumes about her values. So did her earrings: two large pink triangles
pointing down, an ancient symbol of the goddess as well as a modern symbol
“What about your jewelry?” I asked. “Do people know what the pentagram and
triangles symbolize? Do they criticize you for wearing the little goddess?”
She smiled. “No. Everybody here is supposed to be tolerant of each other’s
lifestyles. Nobody would dare say anything.”
I pondered her statement. What does it mean to be tolerant — or
intolerant-these days? If intolerance is the self-righteous attitude that
despises people with “different” values, it would be wrong. Jesus always
demonstrated love and compassion toward the excluded and hurting women of
His times. Yet He never condoned destructive lifestyles or actions that
harmed others. What would happen in a culture that tolerates everything?
One result is obvious. The last three decades have produced an unprecedented
openness to what used to be forbidden realms. Fortune telling, occult board
games, and Native American rituals, along with countless other doorways to
paganism, have spread from the hidden chambers of professional occultists
and tribal shamans to our nation’s classrooms, environmental programs, Girl
Scout camps, and churches.
Leading “Christian” theologians no longer hide their spiritual preference.
“The deconstruction of patriarchal religion-in bland terms, the assisted
suicide of God the Father-left many of us bereft of divinity,” explains
feminist theologian Mary Hunt. “But the human hunger for meaning and value
… finds new expression in goddess worship.”‘
This human hunger for meaning was designed to draw people to God. He created
us to need Him, not man-made counterfeits. As the 17th-century philosopher
Blaise Pascal wrote, “There’s a God-shaped vacuum in every heart.” But, like
Beth, Diane and Peggy, an astounding number of women try to fill that void
with alluring counterfeits. In the
process, they are shifting the foundations of our nation from biblical truth
to pagan myths.
*The Paradigm Shift*
“I was raised in a no-you-don’t world,” sang Streisand, dramatizing her
disdain for traditional values. But “you and I are changing our tune. We’re
learning new rhythms from that woman. I said, the woman in the moon…. 0
Women everywhere are learning follow the rhythms of that “Woman in the
Moon,” a song that helped Shawntell Smith win the 1995 Miss America contest.
Despising God’s standard for holiness, they create their own. To leading
feminist theologian Mary Daly that “involves breaking taboos,” being “wicked
women,” “riding the rhythms of… rage,” and “seeking sister vibrations.”
For “sisterhood means revolution”-a rising revolt against biblical beliefs
and values that is proving the timeless allure of pagan spirituality.
As many of you know, that allure drew over 2000 women from mainline churches
in 49 states and 27 countries to Minneapolis in 1993.” They came together to
re-imagine Jesus, themselves, their sexuality, and their world. Funded in
part by their Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist and Lutheran denominations,”
the four-day conference sent shock waves across our nation that arc still
shaking the Church
At this Re-Imagining conference, Cuban theologian Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz
called for “a new Pentecost — a new way of seeing reality. “We need to
develop … a lens … to understand that the way things are is not
natural,” she explained, “[so that] we can change them radically.””
Ms. Isasi-Diaz was talking about a paradigm shift. Her “lens” is like a
mental filter that narrows her vision of the world to fit her new
convictions. Like the popular Native American fetish called a dream catcher,
it permits only ideas that support the “right” beliefs to settle in the
mind. It rules out all contrary ideas. This new view of “reality” looks
something like this:
· Everything is connected to the same god or goddess.
· Therefore everything is naturally sacred and good.
· Therefore insights from my “inner Self’ are true and the biblical view
of sin is merely a patriarchal club for controlling women.
· Therefore the Church, the cross, and male authority obstruct spiritual
· Therefore biblical Christianity doesn’t fit.
To establish this new paradigm, the old biblical “lens” must be altered or
replaced with a new feminist lens. The Re Imagining Conference, like our
changing schools, used guided imagery and pagan rituals to accomplish the
shift. Those new experiences-whether imagined or acted out desensitized
participants to biblical taboos and made paganism seem as normal as
Christianity. It also helped them “discover” and define their own truth.
Kathleen Fischer summarizes the process in her book, Women at the Well:
Attentiveness to a person’s experience is, of course, central….
What a feminist perspective adds to this emphasis is belief in the
authority of women’s experience, confidence that we are engaged in a
new encounter with the divine through that experience, and the
conviction that it is a norm for the truthfulness of the tradition.”
In other words, a woman’s experience, not God’s own revelation, determines
the truthfulness of the new beliefs. If something feels good, sounds loving,
and seems empowering, it must be right. Few seekers heed the warning in
Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things…. Who can know
“We can!” say feminist leaders. Though most of the women at the Re-Imagining
conference belonged to mainline churches, they had little resistance to the
kinds of occult suggestions that beckoned them. Told to ignore the “inner
voice” of their Bible-trained conscience, they embraced new “truths”
designed to confirm feminist visions. BASIS FOR FAITH IN THE:
|CHRISTIAN PARADIGM |FEMINIST PARADIGM |
| |1. Imagination (or experience) |
| | |
|1) The Bible |2. Experience (or imagination |
|2) Spirit-given insights into truth | |
| |3. Preferred Bible verses that |
|3. Experiences that affirm Scriptures|affirm experience |
*Sex and Feminist Spirituality*
The new truths came with built-in values made to sound and feel good. Who
wouldn’t want love, peace, justice and unity? But in today’s climate of
politically correct tolerance, the loftiest values often fade in the light
of earthier wants such as clothes, sex, fame, and power.
It’s easy to hide human lusts behind noble dreams and earth-centered
spirituality. That’s what psychotherapist Deena Metzger did in her article,
“Re-Vamping the World: On the Return of the Holy Prostitute:”
Once upon a time, in Sumeria, in Mesopotamia, in Egypt, in Greece,
there were no whorehouses, no brothels…. There were instead the
Temples of the Sacred Prostitutes. In these temples, men were
cleansed, not sullied, morality was restored, not desecrated,
sexuality was not perverted, but divine.
The original whore was a priestess, the conduit to the Divine, the
one through whose body one entered the sacred arena and was
It is no wonder that … the prophets of Jehovah all condemned the
Holy Prostitute and the worship of Asherah, Astarte, Anath and the
other goddesses. Until the time of these priests the women were the
one doorway to God.
Do you see the two paradigms? One sees reality through the filter of
biblical truth; the other looks through the lens of feeling-based paganism.
From Ms. Metzger’s new-paradigm perspective, the sex rites of ancient Middle
Eastern paganism sound great. To the Old Testament prophets, they looked
bad. Ms. Metzger needed a story that would tell her side, so she used her
imagination. It filtered out facts that clashed with her vision and
embellished those that fit. She understood the process well:
Whatever rites we imagine took place … [depends on] whether we elevate
them as do neopagans; or condemn them as do Judeo-Christians.
Today, some link the ancient prostitutes to “orgies and debauchery.” Others
link them to cleansing and divinity. Most choose something in between.
Some of Ms. Metzger’s feminist sisters would probably disagree that the
ancient practice of “sacred” and compulsory prostitution is good for the
soul, but that doesn’t matter. Women don’t have to agree. Today, each woman
may claim the right to stand unchallenged on her own truth and values, and
Metzger’s “truth” sounds good to those who prefer to cloak sex with
Janie Spahr, co-founder of CLOUT (Christian Lesbians Out Together), links
sex to sacredness. “Sexuality and spirituality have come together, and
Church, we’re going to teach you!”” she announced at the Re-Imagining
conference. Her theology, she explained, is first of all informed by “making
love with Coni,” her lesbian lover. Was she implying, as modem pagans do,
that sex is a channel for spiritual energy?
“Sexuality is a sacrament,” writes Starhawk, a Wiccan author. “Religion is a
matter of relinking, with the divine within and with her outer manifestation
in all of the human and natural world.””
“In a sacred universe,” continued Ms. Metzger, “the prostitute is a holy
woman, a priestess. In a secular universe, the prostitute is a whore…. The
question is: how do we relate to this today, as women, as feminists? Is
there a way we can resanctify society, become the priestesses again, put
ourselves in the service of the gods and Eros? As we re-vision, can we
re-vamp as well?”
The answer is a resounding “yes.” People have already revisioned sex. The
“vamping” process is well under way. Just look at television and newspaper
ads. Our Sunday morning papers as well as contemporary women’s magazines
parade the same titillating pictures once hidden in private pin-up
calendars. That the feminist movement flows in the same direction as other
pagan blends makes it all the more acceptable. Anything goes-except biblical
intolerance-the refusal to accept what God forbids.
Life has changed at St. Olaf College since I was a student there. Years ago,
Minnesota’s venerable “college on the hill” seemed the ultimate in both
Christian and Lutheran education. But multicultural education has replaced
biblical integrity, and a new global emphasis has opened the door to
professors who promote Hindu and other “mind-body” beliefs instead of
biblical truth.” The chapel, once a sacred sanctuary for worshipping God,
has become a moral battleground.
One spring morning in 1989, English teacher Rebecca Mark gave the chapel
talk. She first introduced the point of her message:
To speak the words, ‘I am gay. I am proud to be gay,’ at this place where
silence has reigned too long, is not enough. I am not alone…. I am called
upon to be the voice of many who have been silent….
As a gay woman I speak through the earth. The word gay comes from the
goddess Gaia, the Greek earth mother goddess. I speak not as a sinner, but
as the Mojave shaman. … I speak from the voice of thousands of gay spirit
leaders, healers and teachers in Indian culture…. I speak as. . . those
who have known death and rebirth. And I too mourn. .
Ms. Mark mourned the cruel slurs and spiteful rejection suffered by gay
students, and she was right to do so. God calls us to love, not hate those
who miss the mark. His love reaches out to all who hurt, including those who
yield their bodies to promiscuous lifestyles, whether homosexual or
heterosexual. But her call reached far beyond a condemnation of cruelty. It
sent a vision of multicultural solidarity that demands a radical change in
the very heart of Christianity. It summoned God’s people to not only approve
promiscuous and destructive lifestyles,” but also embrace the pagan
spirituality that sacrilizes sex.
She ended her talk with a sensual poem by an American Indian women who
blended lesbian love with a spiritualized earth mother. Then she invited the
students and faculty-all who “can wear the pink triangle proudly” -to come
forward as a “sign of community and liberation.” Singing “We are gay and
straight together,” they streamed to the front of the church to claim the
badge of their new identity.
The enthusiastic response was no surprise, for our today’s culture prefers
tolerance to truth. So did ancient Israel. “Why do you tolerate wrong?” God
asked the people He loved, knowing that their presumptuous tolerance would
lead to violence and destruction. They didn’t listen. Neither does our
culture today. (Look up tolerance in your Bible concordance and see what God
says about it.) Instead, we excuse what He calls sin and mock the peace He
longs to give. The results are devastating.
Read what He says about sex outside marriage.
Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the
body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own
body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy
Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your
own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your
body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (I Corinthians 6:18-20)
*The Nature of Temptation*
God shows us that sexual sins are especially damaging to us both physically
and spiritually. Yet, neopagans tout the healing and cleansing effects of
“sacred” promiscuity. Interesting twist isn’t it?
Those who tolerate sin become blind to its danger. Women cannot maintain
utopian illusions unless they hide opposing truths. They can’t trust their
sacred self without rationalizing away its unholy bent. So they shift God’s
label for sin away from the things they want and attach it to the things
they despise: Promiscuity? That comes from loss of self-esteem caused by the
guilt feelings stirred up by Christians who criticize my lifestyle. Anger?
Try the same reasoning.
Do you see how easy it is to be “good” if you use the “right” reasoning?
Just re-imagine the old values. Base your beliefs on your momentary
feelings, not on God’s time-tested Word. Look at the difference a paradigm
shift makes. SIN IS …
|BIBLICAL PARADIGM |FEMINIST PARADIGM |
|separation from God rebelling |separation from nature ignoring the |
|against God self-centeredness pride |god(dess) in self not loving self |
|lack of self-discipline disobeying |first or enough lack of pride |
|God tolerating sin |limiting self-fulfillment submitting|
| |to a patriarchal god not tolerating |
| |sin |
Tolerating sin destroys shame. Some years ago, I watched the pastor’s wife
in a Presbyterian (USA) church teach a Sunday school class called “Women at
the Well.” She first “centered” the class with a chant by medieval mystic
Hildegaard of Bingen whose pantheistic images sounded more Buddhist than
Christian. Then she read a quote by Thomas Merton, the Catholic mystic who
embraced Tibetan Buddhism. Finally she gave us a two-page handout from a
book called _Soul Friend: An Invitation to Spiritual Direction_.21 It told
me that today’s mysticism, which blends acceptance of sin with a permissive
feminine God, isn’t all that new:
In the fourteenth century in Europe there was a great flowering of
mysticism, and out of this period came some of the greatest
spiritual guides of all time whose writings are highly relevant
Julian of Norwich. . . . claims that ‘God showed me that sin need be
no shame to man but can even be worthwhile.’ She seems to mean by
this that sins are disguised virtues, for ‘in heaven what sin
typifies is tumed into a thing of honour. “‘
… In Julian’s theology, we find the fullest expression of the
concept of the femininity of God. ‘God is as really our Mother as he
is Father,’ she says. ‘Our precious Mother Jesus brings us to
supernatural birth, nourishes and cherishes us by dying for us. “‘
It’s true that our sins show us our need for Christ’s redemption, but they
are not “disguised virtues.” They don’t typify something of honor, nor can
they be softened by putting a feminine face on God. We can live without
shame only because God has forgiven us, not because sin has lost its sting.
If I condone my own sins, I will neither come to the cross nor appreciate
God’s wonderful mercy. Nor would I fight the seductive pull of Satan’s
temptations -especially those that look almost too good to resist.
Satan can only pervert God’s good. Our Father invented delightful food,
human affection, sexual pleasure, satisfying work, spiritual insights …
Everything good came from Him. Satan can only distort and imitate God’s
precious gifts, or tempt us to grasp too much or too little, or take it at
the wrong time, or in the wrong place. You know the results: pain,
confusion, anger, addiction, broken relationships, decaying culture and much
more (see the rest in Galatians 5:19-25).
The things God labels as sinful lust, the world now sees as normal behavior
or psychological addiction or obsession for which a person is not
responsible. ” Decades of sex education promoting promiscuity and perversion
in our schools have accomplished just what feminist leaders demanded: a
cultural acceptance of their own radical values. Listen to the philosophy
behind the sex education promoted by SIECUS (Sex Information and Education
Council of the United States):
The purpose of sex education is not … to control and suppress sex
expression, as in the past . . . . The individual must be given sufficient
understanding to incorporate sex most fruitfully and most responsibly into
his present and future fife.”
SIECUS has been working with Planned Parenthood to bring social change. The
behavior inspired by their irresponsible agenda has brought devastating
results. Consider these statistics:
Every 24 hours in this nation more than 12,000 teenagers contract a
sexually transmitted disease. Thirty percent of all STD’s contracted
are incurable.” Each year 1.3 million new cases of gonorrhea are
reported” One million teenage girls, nearly one in 10, become
pregnant each year.” About one and a half million unborn babies are
aborted each year.
“Current sex education programs are designed to destroy the normal
embarrassment and modesty of children,” writes Stanley Monteith, M.D.,
author of _AIDS.- the Unnecessary Epidemic_, in his informative newsletter,
“yet it is that modesty that has traditionally been a barrier to early
sexual experimentation and promiscuity.””
The root problem isn’t homosexuality or promiscuity or even paganism. It is
the loss of truth as our moral standard. When school teachers blur the line
between right and wrong, why should students say “no” to temptation? Why not
try all the “new” sensations that beckon? Young people do-and face cravings
they can’t control. Unlike biblical love, lust will not wait; and obsessive
lust has a way of displacing God’s kind and patient love.
Bondage can follow any repeated sin- “Therefore do not let sin reign in your
mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts,”” warns Paul. But many
feminist who claim control over their bodies have already yielded that
control to a stronger force.
It doesn’t take long to see results. We have become a society obsessed with
sex, food, looks, shopping, drugs, gambling, and coddling our feelings. But
we feel no shame, because we dare not name sin. As a schoolgirl said when
her 15-year-old classmate stabbed another student in the back. “What’s the
big deal? People die all the time. So what?””
*From Tolerance to Truth*
Any sin is a big deal. Even the smallest ones will separate us from God if
we don’t follow His way back to peace. Neopagans may deny sin’s power,
Buddhism may offer noble alternatives, and the New Age movement may inspire
a massive leap in consciousness, but they all miss the point. Humanity can
never evolve beyond its need for the cross.
The root problem is as old as history: rebellion against God. Human nature
doesn’t change, that’s why history keeps repeating itself. In Old Testament
days, it didn’t take more than a generation for Israel to shift its
loyalties from the Shepherd who protected the people to “other gods” who
destroyed them. As faithful Samuel told Saul, the first king of ancient
. . . rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as
iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the
LORD He also has rejected you from being king. (I Samuel 15:23)
Saul had followed his feelings rather than truth, therefore God could no
longer use him as a leader. Soon an unholy, “distressing spirit began to
torment him, driving him to murderous fury. Only the sweet music played by
the shepherd-boy David could soothe his troubled mind. Having rejected God’s
gentle guidance, Saul faced the terrors of a demonic substitute.
Romans 1: 18-32 shows what happens when we ignore God’s protective
boundaries and “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” First, when people
hide the truth, they are left without a standard or reference point. Now
they have no way of knowing whether they are taking the right or the wrong
way. They become “unrighteous”-they don’t do right-and they despise the
standard that proves them wrong. All the more, they mock God’s truth and
vilify His way. Look what happens next:
· “they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became
futile in their thoughts “
(v. 2 1)
· “their foolish hearts were darkened.” (v. 2 1)
· “Professing to be wise, they became fools (v. 22)
· They “changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made
like corruptible man-and birds and four-footed animals and creeping
The last point was the purpose of the Re-Imagining conference. The leaders
tried to change the eternal God into mental images of created beings that
decay and die. The result is a fixation on corruptible things-including self
-that decay and die, followed by an endless stream of disappointment and
The downward progression doesn’t stop here. Three more devastating
consequences follow, each starting with the words: “God gave them up (or
over) to indicating that God pulled back His needed resources and left
them-both individually and collectively-to face their capricious human
1. Therefore GOD ALSO GAVE THEM UP to uncleanness, in the lusts of their
hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves…. (Romans 1:24-25)
2. GOD GAVE THEM UP to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the
natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men . . . burned
in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and
receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. (Romans
3. GOD GAVE THEM OVER to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and
depravity…. They disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless,
heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those
who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very
things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32)
All kinds of personal struggles, obsessions, addictions, and misery can be
explained simply by understanding what happens when people turn from God to
the seductions of
popular paganism. Unlike God who loves us, Satan loves no one, nor does he
hesitate to inspire and energize the worst in human nature.
When people reject God, He “gives them over” to who they really are. Left to
their own resources and Satan’s schemes, they face the driving force of
their own desires. The more they feed their wants, the more cravings
increase. Following that insatiable nature, they violate the natural order
established by God. Deep inside, they know they are “unclean,” but in their
struggle to accept themselves, they blame others and run further away from
the only source of lasting help.
There is no freedom for those who follow the flesh and ignore God’s truth.
Those who have struggled with addictions to alcohol, to drugs, to food or
even shopping can testify to our human resistance to doing right. No one
described that struggle better than Paul. “What I am doing, I do not
understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate,
that I do ” (Romans 7:15)
Everything changed when Paul surrender His life to Jesus Christ and joined
his inadequate will to God’s perfect will. His desire became Paul’s desire,
and God’s strength became Paul’s strength. Now he could exult with all God’s
followers who have discovered the freedom of the cross, the wonders of God’s
love, and the victory of the exchanged life:
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but
Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I
live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for
me. (Galatians 2:20)
1. Naomi R. Goldenberg, Changing of the Gods: Feminism & the End of
Traditional Religions (Boston: Beacon Press, 1979), 3.
2. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, “Every witch way to the Goddess,” The Sunday
Telegraph, October 17, 1993.
3. Alla Bozarth-Campbell, Womanpriest: A Personal Odyssey (North
Carolina State Press, 1978), back cover.
4. Nancy Smith and Donna Maxfield, “Spiritual Quest in Beijing,” Good News
(November/December 1995); 34.
5. Re-Imagining Conference Tape 12- 1, Side B.
6. Mark Tooley, “Great Goddess Almighty,” Heterodoxy (October 1995); 6.
7. In The Aquarian Conspiracy, New Age leader Marilyn Ferguson wrote: “Of
the Aquarian Conspirators surveyed, more were involved in education than in
any other single category of work. They were teachers, administrators,
policymakers, educational psychologists. . . .” (page 280) My own
observations confirm Ms. Ferguson’s assertion. Since I wrote Under the Spell
of Mother Earth, I have received reports from parents across the country
documenting the use of Native American or Wiccan rituals by enthusiastic
female teachers as part of environmental, global, or multicultural
8. Mary Hunt is co-director of WATER (Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics
and Ritual) in Silver Springs, MD. “Mary Hunt: Goddess Equals diversity,
Pluralism,” Religious News Service, July 16, 1993.
9. A Star is Born (Producer: Barbra Streisand), Warner Brothers, 1976.
10. Mary Daly, Beyond God the Father (Boston: Beacon Press, 1973), XXV.
11. Ibid. 59.
12. Katherine Kersten, “God in Your Mirror?” The Lutheran Commentator
(May/June 1994); 1.
13. All funders were listed in the Re-Imagining program booklet, p 66. The
largest single contributor was the Presbyterian Church (USA) which gave
$66,000 from their Bicentennial Fund. An additional $20,000 covered staff
expenses to attend and scholarships for Presbyterians. Other contributors
included the ELCA (Lutheran), Baptists, and United Methodist.
14. Ibid., Tape 5-1, Side A.
15. Kathleen Fischer, Women at the Well (New York: Paulist Press, 1988), 6.
The words deleted in the first sentence were: “to any spiritual direction
context.” You can check the meaning in the glossary.
16. Re-Imagining Conference, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 4-7, 1993.
17. Starhawk, The Spiral Dance (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1979), 23.
18. Among the books authored by St. Olaf College faculty and endorsed and
reviewed on page 5 in St.Olaf (November/December 1994), were The Limits of
Scripture: V1 Vivekananda’s Reinterpretation of the Vedas by Anantan and
Rambachan, a religion faculty member, and Consciousness and the Mind of God
by Charles Taliaferro, which offers “a holistic understanding of the dualist
person-body relationship.” Rambachan leads a weekly Hindu fellowship for
Hindu students and others interested in Eastern spirituality.
19. Romans 1:32.
20. Habakkuk 1:3. See also Habakkuk 1: 13; Revelation 2:2, 2:20 (NIV)
2 1. Cited by class “hand-out” from Richard J. Foster, Renovare: Devotional
Readings (Vol. 1, no. 43, 199 1), no page number shown.
22. Kenneth Leech, Soul Friend.- An Invitation to Spiritual Direction (San
Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1992), 146. Leech cites Julian’s
Revelations of Divine Love, 35, 37-39. These pages don’t match the
translations I have examined. The closest translation I could find was
Julian of Norwich: Showings (New York: Pau!ist Press, 1978) translated by
Edmund Colledge, page 154: “God also showed me that sin is no shame, but
honour to man…. It is to them no shame that they have sinned-shame is not
more in the bliss of heaven-for there the tokens of sin are turned into
honours.” These words are taken out of context; they do not reflect Julian’s
overall view of sin, However they do show
how certain passages are being used to validate the feminist concept of sin.
23. Ibid., 147. Leech cites pages 59-61 in Divine Revelations, but again,
these page numbers do not match the translations I found. Instead, I would
like to cite a few similar quotes from Julian of Norwich: Showings (detailed
above): “As truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother, and he
revealed that in everything, and especially in these sweet words where he
says, ‘I am he … the power and goodness of fatherhood; I am he, the wisdom
and the lovingkindness of motherhood. . . I am he, the Trinity; I am he, the
unity; I am he, the great supreme goodness of every kind of thing…. As
truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother. Our Father wills,
our Mother works, our good Lord the Holy Spirit confirms.” (pages 295-6)
Julian also wrote, “T’he second person of the Trinity is our Mother in
nature. . . in whom we are founded and rooted, and he is our Mother of mercy
in taking our sensuality…. So our Mother works in mercy on all his beloved
children who are docile and obedient to him.” (page 294)”So our Lady is our
mother, in whom we are all enclosed and bom of her in Christ, for she who is
mother of our saviour is mother of all who are saved in our
saviour, and our saviour is our true Mother, in whom we are endlessly born
and out of whom we shall never come.” (p. 292)
24. Romans 6:11-23.
25. Lester Kirkendall, in his article included in Sexuality And Man, a
collection of articles written and compiled by SIECUS board members.
26. Haven Bradford Gow,”Consequences of Sexual Revolution,” Christian News,
July 3, 1995.
27. Ibid. (Haven)
28. Associated Press,”Experts Say New Generation Is in Trouble Already,” San
Francisco Chronicle, June 9, 1990.
29. Stanley K. Monteith, “Anticipated Worldwide Death Toll: I Billion
People,” HIV-Watch (Vol. 11, No. 1); 7.
30. Romans 6:12.
31. William K. Kilpatrick, _”Turning Out Moral Illiterates_,” Los Angeles
Times, July 20, 1993.
*Berit Kjos, a Presbyterian, is the author of several books including:
_Brave New Schools, Your Child and the New Age, Under the Spell of Mother
Earth._ Mrs. Kjos’ newest book from which this article is adapted is A Twist
of Faith, published in 1997 by New Leaf Press. It is available at Christian
Bookstores or by calling 1-800-643-9535
This article is reprinted with the permission of Sue Cyre, Editor of