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Springs of Water in a Dry Land: Spiritual Survival for Catholic Women Today.

Through six essays written for different audiences, Weaver guides women's search for a meaningful spirituality in an often misogynistic Church. She articulates the questions but offers no pat solutions. Urging women to trust their experiences, to believe in their deepest desires, she reminds us that Christianity is not complete without woman's contributions. Not everyone will feel comfortable with this book. W.'s five groupings of Catholic women highlight something of the complexity and overlapping of current positions on spirituality, including that of Goddess feminism. The essays seem arranged in order of increasing challenge.

W. offers an excellent thumbnail sketch of Grail's history with its spiritually rich and politically responsive developments in recent years, including the introduction of neopaganism, holistic health, and ecofeminism in the 1980s. A radically redefined religious identity now measured by one's ability to reveal God's love for the world in concrete ways permits membership to be truly ecumenical. Chapter 5 provides superb analysis of Goddess religion since the 70s. Comments on key books, the ongoing debate between Rosemary Ruether and Carol Christ, basic distinctions between Christianity (historical basis) and neopaganism (utopian vision) and issues of symbolism make this a particularly valuable contribution for women who perhaps overlooked the challenge neopaganism would offer to historical religions in the 1990s.

The tenth anniversary of the Women's Ordination Conference raised issues of power, sacramental and other. W. challenges us to unmask the distortions, to call the Church to the accountability of prophetic messianism, to engage in daring actions--in short, to refuse to shore up the patriarchal Church. Despite repeated challenges to what might be called "orthodoxy," W. still believes one can be both Roman Catholic and feminist. A feminist spirituality invites us to make faith explicit in life. I particularly liked her idea of tithing our time, and giving it to someone who needs it.

This is not a "how-to" book but a guide to survival offering spiritual catch-up for the academic or curious reader and practical suggestions for a feminist spirituality for those who yearn for something more.
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Author:Quitslund, Sonya A.
Publication:Theological Studies
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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