Nontraditional Hymns

The first recorded performance of the Andrews Sisters.

In the book “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”,  studies are cited to help explain the patterns of behavior people use for adapting to being a discriminated group. It also lists ways people cope with being a dominant group trying to work toward a more socially just world for oppressed group.  In this book the focus is on race, but it is also a very good book for understanding the conflicts, emotions and difficulties in gender relations.

If you want this book, just let me know, and I will buy it for you. I kid you not. Just get me your address or something.  First 3 requests win.

[An aside: Part of this book talks about how important it is for those of a dominant,empowered group who are working together with a less dominant, less empowered  group towards social change ( in the book, whites working with people of color…but just as applicable for men working with women towards gender equality.)  An important point is that “Allies need Allies”- in other words, men who are working toward gender equality face their own challenges and should have a place where they can talk and discuss and vent together as men.  It also means that they need the examples of role-models, peers and heroes.  Just as white people striving for racial justice benefit greatly from books and stories about other white people with the same struggles- male feminists need them too.

I will give any books I think useful, and like, 100 dollars to some male feminist who will write a book about his experiences, in order to help other male feminists.

Why, you ask?  Because I haven’t made bank off of my prestigious elementary school teacher’s/ student’s salary yet, so I can’t give you 100,000 dollars.  That is all.)

When one is part of the disempowered group, and beginning to understand the extent of your disempowerment, you are in what is called the “immersion/emergence” state.  This stage is characterized by a desire to immerse oneself entirely in empowered women culture,and elements of female culture that one never learned in one’s male-dominated society.  One’s feminist identity slowly emerges, so does the desire to talk about it publicly.

It is also a time for what Dr. Chester Pierce refers to as “mundane extreme environmental stress”- when we become aware of all the billions of little things every day that are manifestations of the sexist society we live in.

And it was during this time that you could find me in my room with tears streaming down my pale freckly face, which was periodically planted in my bright green body pillow.

I had, also, really begun to embrace the thought of Heavenly Mother, and had started to explore ideas of her as either the feminine, open, loving side of the Hebrew concept of God- or just another loving Heavenly Parent (Marent?) like my  concept of Heavenly Father..

(* mental image of cooking show* Recipe- One Celestial Being.  Equal Parts Justice and Mercy, love and firmness, humanity and divinity. Place in physical bodies, let rise ( to the occasions of mortality).  Then just pop it into a tomb for…3 days or so. Season with individuality, passions and opinions to taste. Mmmmm.)

I read into Nephi and Lehi’s visions of the Tree of Life as a symbol of the Divine Feminine ( as the ancient Hebrews ,themselves, did), and was touched by Nephi’s accompanying Spirit ( possibly Yaweh…the jury is still out on that one) describes the Tree of Life as, best symbolized by showing the virgin Mary holding the infant Christ.

Later, Nephi takes a stab at it’s meaning ( about which, he admittedly claims to have absolutely no clue, excepting that God loves his children, 1Nephi 11:17)in a very poetic way, describing the love of any exalted being.

“Yea, it is the alove of God, which bsheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men[and women]; wherefore, it is the cmost desirable above all things.”

After reading that, I took to calling Heavenly Mother “The Love of God”, and snickered  a little at the way it could mean, besides a personification of God’s Love, a title of describing the Love she possesses (  As in 1 John 4:8 “God is Love”)  or even, more literally in English, God’s (Elohim’s) Love Interest.

And it was during one of my many tear sessions that THIS came on the radio.

And, sure…go ahead…make fun of me and this apparent pop culture sheepness of mass produced music loving doom…but it really hit me.

And I even thought it more poignant because it was being sung by young men…and it gave me a glimpse of what the world might look like if the Divine Feminine was acknowledged in church. Young men singing about the Heavenly Mother. ( Heck, by then, we might even let a guitar in church.)

I mean, change “she” to “he”, and imagine the Mia Maids singing it in Sacrament Meeting to a piano arrangement, and it makes perfect sense.

And ever since then I’ve kind of considered it a hymn to the Heavenly Mother.  Like, for serious…it’s on my Sunday playlist.

I’m sure others have their own private Nontraditional hymns to God, or about God, or, more specifically the Divine Feminine.  Do we all have songs that touch us deeply, help define how we see God, that were never meant to be religious…and certainly not in the hymnal?  Do we hide them all and keep them secret?  Private hymns from the top twenty?

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One response to “Nontraditional Hymns

  1. That is a great song, I’d never heard it before. I actually did a similar post a while ago about the great Bob Dylan song Shelter from the Storm reminding me of Heavenly Mother. I’ve also always loved the campy 90’s classic Counting Blue Cars by Dishwalla specifically because it has the line “Tell me all your thoughts on God / cuz I’m on my way to see Her.”

    As for other spiritual songs that aren’t in the hymnbook but should be, “Holy Now” by Peter Mayer and “We are a Gentle, Angry People,” which is a hymn in the Unitarian Universalist faith.

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