She is...

Table of Contents

1. Opening Segment
2. "She is..."
3. Foundation
4. Format
5. "The Flower"
6. "Sunshine in the Storm"
7. "It's a Long Way to Fall"
8. Homecoming
9. "(Give You) Back to You"
10. The Still, Small Voice
11. "In the Silence"
12. Her Gifts
13. "Grace"
14. "Quiet Fire"
15. "Gift of Flight (Intuition)"
16. "Dancing Girl"
17. "One Child at a Time"
18. Celebration


A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
- Maya Angelou

email your comments

 Feminine Spirit Defined/Positive Attributes

I was once invited to help teach a Sunday School lesson on the Feminine Aspects of Theology. I decided to begin the lesson with a simple activity; with faith the results would illustrate an opinion I wanted to get across. I randomly divided the class into three groups, each of which included a mixture of men and women. I handed each group a card with instructions and asked them to complete the task as explained on the card without communicating in any way with either of the other groups. They were unaware of the other groups' assignment. The card I gave the first group asked them to list character traits that they would generally label as feminine. The second group was to list traits classified as masculine. Finally, the third group was to list traits attributed to Jesus Christ or to Christianity. After the groups had completed the assignment I asked the "feminine characteristics" group to read their list while I wrote it on the chalkboard, still not allowing them to reveal what the list described. I then did the same for the other two groups. I wasn't terribly surprised to find that my point had been made. The list of feminine traits was almost entirely interchangeable with the list of Christian traits. Perhaps the only thing more striking than this similarity was the magnitude in which the list of masculine traits stood out in contrast to the other two lists. I asked the class to ponder the question, "Why does a religion that values feminine traits so highly, so often insist on a rigid Patriarchal structure?" It also seemed clear to me that Christ himself valued the gifts of the feminine spirit highly. It seems clear to me that the traits that will heal a troubled world are the very traits we so naturally associate with females; traits such as compassion, empathy, sensitivity, intuition, gentleness, kindness, devotion, submission... The list goes on and on. In looking at these three lists side by side, another thing occurred to me. Perhaps nowhere in our society is the feminine spirit repressed more than within man himself. The masculine images of "real manhood" do much to bury these healing, liberating, and loving traits. Oftentimes, for a man to be seen as kind, gentle, and compassionate is to be seen as weak. To act in submission is often seen as forfeiture of the all-coveted power. Men are usually not encouraged to nurture - indeed they are expected to learn instead to control. Statements of empathy are followed by "but..." as we proceed to label the bottom line which is being violated by our perceived weakness. Again, as more and more women take the lead in our society, I pray that we stop expecting them to conform to the masculine idea and instead realize that they most naturally and abundantly bear the very gifts we so desperately need. Let us celebrate the transforming nature of the feminine spirit rather than bury it in the name of progress and/or equality. In fact, let's strive for equity rather than equality, for in doing so we have a better chance of utilizing rather than compromising the great gifts of which I speak.

Gender Roles/Stereotypes

It seems that from the very beginning of our lives we're taught what our role should be and how we're supposed to relate to the world around us. Our teachers and parents mean well but don't always serve us well with their expectations for us. I mean, what happens when what they value doesn't happen to emphasize our personal gifts or our unique life's purpose? I can't recall the first time I heard the child's rhyme that told me that little girls are made out of "sugar and spice and everything nice." I also can't recall the point in time in which that idea began to bother me a bit. I - being a little boy - was supposed to be made of "snakes and snails and puppy dog tails." It seemed to me that I was getting the short end of the stick. I liked sugar. And I was constantly being encouraged to be nice and recall all too well when I was punished when my parents thought I wasn't. I remember my earliest social experiences - especially at school - supporting my early theory that the female was definitely the better of the two genders. My female classmates always seemed to know more right answers in class. They made the best grades on everything. They got in trouble less often. They were better in art, music ... well - everything. Except recess. The boys always won the boys-against-girls sporting events, and there was a constant fear of getting certain girls on your team in co-ed kickball. And that couldn't possibly be enough to make us better than them. If so, why did we get so little attention on the playground? Nobody ever seemed impressed with our victories except us. In fact, the only time anyone else gave us any attention was when we were being scolded for gloating, intimidating, bellyaching, or asserting our physical aggression - I guess all pretty much masculine traits. The world seemed confusing to me even then. Why was it that the girls were so much more capable than the boys at everything that mattered, yet in the grown-up world, men held all the important positions? At what point did the rules change and why - how? It seemed to me then that the only thing girls could be when they grew up was teachers, nurses, or mommies. Well, there were ladies at the library, and I was always greeted by female receptionists, but they were merely opening act for the doctor or dentist - of course, a man. Only making matters more confusing to my impressionable young mind was the fact that Craig was the best artist in my first grade class, and Stacy could outrun, out jump, and out spit all the boys. If only I'd have been encouraged to recognize that we are all unique individuals with unique personalities, talents, and purposes. It's also true that - as dangerous as they can be - there is a measure of truth within those gender stereotypes. Each of us - regardless of gender - has been strapped with labels and have been directed to live by scripts which have been determined - at least in part - by other people's expectations, biases, beliefs, and prejudices. Thankfully, many of the walls have been weakened and many new bridges formed. Doors are opening for women and people of both genders are finding their way home. I pray this will continue. As more and more women take the lead in our society, I pray that we will stop expecting them to conform to the masculine idea of success and instead realize that they are in fact the persons who most naturally and abundantly bear the very gifts we so desperately need. It is these gifts I wish to celebrate.

Social Programming

The statements I make throughout this tribute are in no way meant to imply that masculine qualities, in their own right, are inferior to the. By empowering the feminine spirit, I do not automatically weaken the masculine. But it is unbiased and truthful to state that we live in a society that is made up of a mixture of cultures that are predominantly male-dominated. I've already made reference to the historically male-dominated Christian church. But perhaps we can find the essence of my message within examples from this faith tradition and this very society. Each is rich with stories of women who have risen above a variety of circumstances to light a darkened path. The women of Holy Scriptures, Saints, the goddesses and muses of mythology and more recent heroines such as Anne Frank, Helen Keller, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta serve as examples. There are common threads in each of the stories - each of the lives. That common thread is the Feminine Spirit. Our danger is not in maintaining a patriarchal system. It is in allowing any system to in any way diminish or dominate the fruits of the spirit - any spirit. When we allow the people of one gender, race, religion, idealogy, and so forth to repress - to any degree - the people, practices, or ideas of another - we also risk allowing the inherent gifts to be repressed. There is room for each of us and each of our unique gifts. In fact, not only is there room for each of our unique gifts, I believe it might well be essential that we recognize and fully utilize these gifts if we are to soften the harshness that is so often associated with our society. The society is not harsh because it is dominated by masculine virtues - if anything, it is harsh because it fails to utilize a critical amount of all virtues. We will never be able to fully utilize any virtue if our motive is to do harm to its apparent counterpart. We have far more to gain by being for positive virtues than by being against anything. Instead we must move to build bridges between these ideas instead of separating them with labels and burdensome concepts. Indeed, I run a risk of violating this very idea by creating a list of attributes and labeling them as feminine characteristics. Every person - male or female - is capable of possessing every single personality trait listed in the so-called masculine versus feminine lists. Actually, it is my opinion that each of us does possess each of these traits - some are merely buried deeper than others - buried by a variety of things, not the least of which is our worldly, social programming. It is my wish that each of us could free ourselves of the imposition of stereotypes in such a way as to use these positive characteristics readily. If we can separate the merely behavioral from the purely spiritual, we might clear room to find our God-given gifts. In doing so we might also discover within ourselves the power to finally reunite the spiritual with the behavioral, in full utilization of these gifts. This is wholeness. This is God's prayer for us. So in that idea I state my goal in creating this tribute in song and conversation. This recording is simply an attempt to celebrate the feminine spirit in general, with the hope that each of us can recognize and utilize our own gifts.