I'm in a master's program for Women's Spirituality at ITP (www.itp.edu) in Palo Alto. A lot of fascinating questions are coming up for me as I take the courses, and I'll try to put them up here on line for discussion as they occur to me.

A particularly poignant question which hit me this weekend was: how do you speak your beliefs? How do you express/live/share your spirituality?

I'm sure we're all familiar with the "recent convert" effect, where someone is all excited about their new religion, and you can't get them to shut up about it. Anyone who's actually talked to the Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, will recognize this. Alternatively, we're likely all just as familiar with the self-professed "christian" who is appallingly bigoted and narrow-minded, and professes violence in order to maintain the status quo.

So where's the happy medium? How does one share and teach a belief in peace and kindness, without being obnoxious or getting trampled… and at the same time, actually live those beliefs?

More and more I find myself grappling intellectually with issues my culture would label as feminist, but which I find only common sense. Frex, what is the point of denigrating a noted female scholar simply because she advances a theory which postulates men have not always been the source of all culture? Why is it supposedly wrong to choose to believe an origin story which doesn't lay the blame on women for all the world's evils? Perhaps most personally important: how do I best teach and live a life where women are considered equally as important and creative — if not moreso — as men are, when it comes to the creation and maintenance of community and culture?

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