Their music (Nina Simone, Mary J. Blige, and Lisa Gerrard) captures something I’ve been spending alot of time with: the blues. Not the genre itself but the sensibility. The sensibility that says we can possess a sense of the tragic nature of our existence while simaltaneously holding on to hopeful vision and living with a tearful smile. These artist, at this moment, capture for me this sensibility. Reading bell Hooks doesn’t help either. Her insightful reading of the text of the world has been a challenge and has also been a place of repentance and conversion for me.
Excerpt from her book Feminism is For Everybody: Passionate Politics:
Since our society continues to be primarily a “Christian” culture masses of people continue to believe that god has ordained that women be subordinate to men in the domestic household. Even though masses of women have entered the work forces, even though many families are headed by women who are the sole breadwinners, the vision of domestic life which continues to dominate the nation’s imagination is one in which the logic of male domination is intact, whether men are present in the home or not. The wrong minded vision of feminist movement which implied it was anti-male carried with it the wrong minded assumption that all female space would necessarily be an environment where patriarchy and sexist thinking would be absent. Many women, even those involved in feminist politics, chose to believe this as well.
The more I listen to the prophetic feminine ‘other’ the more I recognize my need to repent from my lack of historical empathy towards real lives of women. Take Hilary Clinton for example. I was talking to my mom about the democratic primary race. She gave me a perspective I did not consider before. I was criticizing Senator Clinton for some of the comments she’s made over the past month or so regarding Senator Obama and his former pastor Jeremiah Wright. My mom said, “Hilary is bitter. She was told that she may have been the only hope for the Dems getting the White House in 08′. So, what did she do? She began to position herself politically by first running and winning the Senate seat in the state of New York. And she did exactly what the Dems wanted. She got into position. Then what happened next? Obama happened.” I am not a Clinton supporter and I still remain disappointed in the way she’s handled the so-called media-created controversy surrounding Rev. Wright. But I never considered this interpretation of her ‘bitterness’ and ‘defensive’ posture.
Anyways…I am sure that wasn’t a helpful rant but had to get that out there. However, these musings bring me to a moment of confession: I do not truly and faithfully listen to the voices of women. I have many sexist habits that God and my neighbors need to help me with. When I quote and recite authors they are mostly men. When I think of great leaders in history my default position is toward the masculine. I cut their voices off in my soul. I do not let their thoughts and pain enter into the internal orchestra of my mind. My sexist habits die hard. Who will deliver me from this sexist body of death?
So…I’m listening to these beautiful women now. Their music captures both the beauty and tragedy of the world. Themes of sacrifice, love, tragedy, redemption, hope, peace, sacredness, beauty, goodness, truth, purpose, and justice pervade. God is profoundly here. May I be here as well.