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A message from Josh McElwee

Gifts Mary Daly gave me

 |  NCR Today

How well I remember: I’m in my 20s, seated on a picnic table at the park with a copy of the Bible in front of me — and a copy of Mary Daly’s Beyond God the Father. I was reading through some Psalms, replacing mention of God as “He” with “She.” I saw myself as engaged in an experiment, a quest to find answers to questions that haunted me after reading Daly’s book.

What are the ramifications of referring to God as He, as Father? Who stands to gain from this gendered image of God? Who stands to lose? How might my image of myself change if I imagined God as a woman, the Mother of us all?

These and other questions are gifts Daly gave me and so many other women.

Thanks to Daly I would come to see how inadequate our language is when we speak of the Almighty, that s/he is a wonder and a light that can never truly be described. This realization filled me — continues to fill me — with a reverence for the Divine, the heart of true worship. I know I speak for many when I say, Thank you, Mary. Thank you for embarking upon an arduous journey of faith and, through your writings, making room for us to go with you.

"I love the NCR's determination and tenacity in telling the truth of the church's reality today. It gives me hope. It gives voice to my concerns."

-NCR Reader
Sylvia Melrose


(For more, see: Mary Daly, radical feminist theologian, dead at 81)

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