I’ve been thinking for a few weeks that I would write a post on aides to feminist prayer, but keep thinking that I’ll wait until I have time to put thoughts together more coherently. But in light of the mural that Megan shared below, and commenter Crystal‘s pointing us toward the book “Prayers for an Inclusive Church” by Steven Shakespeare, and my own desire more to hear from others than to write a lot myself, I’m just going to throw this up here now:
What are inclusive prayer resources that people use?
The members of WIT who live close enough to see one another try to pray together once a week. We have been using The People’s Companion to the Breviary, which uses gender-neutral language for God and includes really lovely commemorations of holy women I had not known about. Its trinitarian formula, in my view, could be better — “Source of All Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit,” it uses — but I generally really like the People’s Companion, and find it easy to use. And I am someone who gets easily confused around breviaries.
I also own the St. Helena Breviary, developed by the Order of St. Helena, an Episcopal women’s monastic community, which has been refined through use in a praying monastic community, but which I don’t tend to use as much … because I’m easily confused around breviaries. So I would recommend it to someone who prays the divine office often and knows what she or he is doing — but if you need step by step instruction, like me, it might be less helpful. I’ll add more information later about the St. Helena Breviary’s negotiation of gendered language for God — I’m not at home at the moment and need to look at the breviary to refresh my memory.
I believe (but could be wrong) that the St Helena Breviary uses gender-neutral language; the People’s Companion definitely does. I would love to hear of prayer resources that use gender-expansive, rather than just gender-inclusive, language (that is, which use feminine pronouns to refer to God rather than avoiding gendered pronouns.) (Beth has written about the issue of God and gendered language, so I’m not going to go into that now…)
Women’s Uncommon Prayers has prayers and poems reflecting a wide, wide range of women’s experiences — prayers written by women before ordination, after childbirth, after coming out of the closet, healing from abuse, for an end to racial injustice. You can see a few samples.
Rosemary Radford Ruether’s Women-Church has both a theoretical section (the theology of feminist liturgy) and a collection of feminist liturgies. I find some of them very moving, but haven’t prayed with any of them — they are collected from and for “Women-Church,” with the idea that a stable women’s liturgical community would use these. So rather than prayers, they’re entire liturgies.
That’s about all I can think of at the moment. I invite others to share any resources you’re familiar with. I myself am particularly interested in prayer resources that use female pronouns for God, but I invite anything you’re familiar with.
And while I’m on the topic of soliciting recommendations — I’ve done a lot of looking for feminist religious children’s books. Anyone know of any good ones? When my goddaughter was baptized, I remember my very dear friends Rachel and Sean (her parents) remarking that one day, Junia would learn to read, and realize that none of her books really said “God made you, and She loves you!” Anyone know of any that do?