Live from the Lilith Blog

January 18, 2010 by

Accidental Maverick

A few people who read my last post, “Jews as Gentiles?”, referred to the content as “edgy.” And here I was, hoping I was being nice enough. So maybe I’m a Jewish bad-ass in spite of my peacefrog nature–and I haven’t worn my motorcycle jacket in over 10 years (what were we thinking buying things 10X too big for us back in the 80′s/90′s?). Interesting.

I’ve never been uber-knowledgeable about politics-in-general; and the politics I do know mostly occur within the state of Idaho (or should I say Planet Idaho.) And WOW, are there politics. Politics, to me, gets more confusing by the minute. I’m not even sure I know what the difference is between liberal and conservative ideology any more—and I wonder if I have a little of both. Thank heavens for my Jewish political adviser, Jon Stewart.

One thing I have learned a lot about is religion. Everyone knows about spirituality; they just don’t know it yet. One of my initial entry-points into feminist thought was a Woman’s Studies course about women and spirituality in graduate school—which blew my mind, permanently. Since then, I’ve been fascinated with the global patterns and behaviors of religion since religion began. I believe the proper term for this line of inquest is “heresy,” so it’s a good thing I’m not Christian.

How do I, this spiritual schizophrenic, see Jews, the tiny little yellow dot jumping over the globe for the last 5770 years, mostly while being chased? I think we’re pretty bad-ass in general. One of my favorite reference guides is “The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets” by Barbara Walker. Thousands of religions around the planet referenced in Walker’s books have, throughout time, morphed into the Big Five (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism)–with Jews, and women, the underdogs out. Now, most religions see a purpose to women, with our exclusive ability to breed and all, so long as we are kept squarely in our place. And while so many older religions have succumbed by sword or stake, or been otherwise absorbed by predominant religious cultures, Judaism has survived. One of the mythological themes I try to keep in mind for my personal sanity is “it’s better to be smarter than to be stronger.” The story of David and Goliath has served me well, and it has served Jews well.

Women and modern religion is particularly tricky business, what with all the religious dogma being re-written and manipulated by men. It makes our quest for spiritual and religious “truth” that much harder because, in order to be educated consumers, we need to figure out what everything said originally, and decide how well the product has held up over the years. What amazing, powerful woman has the time for that? It doesn’t take that much time, however, to get an understanding of the basics—such as women are the original vessels of divinity, as servants of the earth and keeper of the species. I can see how that might make some guys jealous.

When I moved to Pocatello, Idaho, my life’s rule book got tossed out the window, and I have completely lost track of what is edgy, or what is commonplace. I can barely watch “High Fidelity” starring John Cusack without thinking how lame, boring, and out-of-touch I’ve become, but somehow in the spiritual dimension I am a hopeless maverick. Funny how we can evolve—as Jews, as women, as people—when we give chase down whatever rabbit hole captures our own, individual, attention.

–Nancy Goodman