Years ago, I was a fan of Sue Monk Kidd. She was an influential writer in the world I was immersed in. And then she made a departure and wrote The Dance of The Dissident Daughter: A Woman's Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine.
I didn't read it when it was first published in 1996. I told myself she had 'gone off the deep end'. Maybe she was even a heretic. At the very least she was apostate. It's crazy now to think that I once feared someone's personal spiritual journey as a threat in some way to my own. Still, I didn't read the book. Perhaps, I was afraid in some way to expose myself to what she was writing about. Maybe I knew it would wreak havoc in my life. And I wasn't ready to deal with it.
I did read her next book, The Secret Life of Bees, and I loved it. And it felt quite safe. Earlier this year, I found a copy of The Invention of Wings, In my neighbourhood Little Free Library. I took it on a trip to Cuba and read it over 4 days. I loved it. It inspired my current exploration of the Quakers.
While I was crushing on Sue Monk Kidd, I decided to go back and read The Dance of the Dissident Daughter. The 20th Anniversary of the book was released in 2016 and I got a copy. As I started reading it I resonated with her spiritual journey. It was as if I was on a parallel path. She left the evangelical world and discovered the divine feminine. I could relate with the word 'dissident' as I have often felt like a dissident compared to the way I once adhered to a set of beliefs.
Here's one quote from the book,
"The second thing I wrote down that day was that exclusive male imagery of the Divine not only instilled an imbalance within human consciousness, it legitimized patriarchal power in the culture at large. Here alone is enough reason to recover the Divine Feminine, for there is a real and undeniable connection between the repression of the feminine in our deity and the repression of women.”
I think every woman who considers herself 'Christian' in some sense of that word would benefit from reading this book. I've embraced being a 'Dissident Daughter." I am thankful I discovered this book this year and for the courage of Sue Monk Kidd in sharing her story.