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Feminist Mysticism and Images of God

A Practical Theology

Dr. Jennie S. Knight

144 pages
Chalice Press

Feminist theologians often claim that "women's experience" is their starting point. However, most feminist theology is remarkably void of analysis of particular women's experiences of imaging God. In this book, Knight provides practical recommendations to help people transform images in the context of religious practices.

What difference does it make whether we picture God as an elderly white grandfather, a nurturing African American mother, or a stranger on the bus?

Jennie Knight says our image of God affects how we see ourselves, how we worship, how we treat one another, how (or whether) we work for justice, and a host of other life practices. But after years of knowing intellectually that God transcends a specific human type, Knight still struggles to make an emotional connection with God in different forms. She suspects that that struggle is why many seminarians who wrote papers about thea/theology abandon nontraditional God images once they hit parish ministry, perpetuating the practice of seeing God as a European male on a throne and all the accompanying problems that such imagery creates.

Knight believes that personal and critical reflection in the context of a supportive learning community, combined with experiences of diverse images for the divine in worship, can lead to profound changes in self-image, relationship with the divine, and agency in the world. This book aims to demonstrate why and how this transformation is both possible and necessary.

The popularity of The Shack, The Secret Life of Bees, Joan of Arcadia, and other works with nontraditional God-figures reveals a culture ready to embrace God in many forms. Knight examines how the church can do the same.

Author Bio

Rev. Dr. Jennie S. Knight is a practical theologian, a spiritual director, a professor of religion, and an ordained Baptist minister. She offers individual and group spiritual direction and works as an educational consultant at Transforming Center: Education and Spiritual Formation in Decatur, Georgia. She will begin teaching Religious Studies at the University of Georgia beginning in August, 2012.

Her areas of expertise include:
Imaging the Divine
Christian Feminist Mysticism
Religion and Popular Culture
Transformative Education for Youth and Adults
Spiritual Formation and Faith Development
Community-based ( Service-Learning ) Education for Congregations and Schools
Cross-Cultural Community Partnerships for Justice, Reconciliation, and Friendship
Feminist and Womanist Theologies and Spiritual Practices

Previously, Rev. Dr. Knight taught Religion and Practical Theology at Emory University for eight years. She served as Assistant Professor in the Practices of Religious Education and Community Ministries, Director of the Religious Education Program, and Interim Director of the Women in Theology and Ministry Program during that time. She earned a Ph. D. in Religion and a Graduate Certificate in Women s Studies from Emory in 2005 and a Masters of Divinity from the Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, California in 1998. She was ordained to the ministry at Oakhurst Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia in 2006.

In addition to her recently released book, Dr. Knight has published several journal articles and book chapters about transformative religious education with youth, intergenerational, cross-cultural community-based religious education, and religion and popular culture. She loves to teach and lead workshops and retreats for laypeople of all ages and clergy alike. More information is available at: transformingcenter.net.