Yesterday was International Women's Day which began about 100 years ago to bring a greater awareness to issue of equality, treatment in the workplace, abuse and other social issues. (check out the About page in the IWD link above for more information.)
Our spiritual community (New Thought Center for Spiritual Living) spent the day honoring the Divine Feminine in spirituality and specifically gave tribute to the great women of New Thought History. I was surprised to find out how many of us did not know this history. When I was in college I took a Women's Studies course - where again, I was surprised to discover that the professor believed that there was no organized religious movement that has women in significant leadership roles or that ordained women into the fully life of ministry! I was shocked! Having grown up in the New Thought tradition, I was very aware of ordained women ministers. As a result I wrote most of my papers in that course about the role of women in New Thought (none of which the professor had any awareness of!).
The truth is that we ought to be shouting from the mountaintops - loudly - the historic place that New Thought has both in Women's History and in religious history. When events like International Women's Day come along - we ought to be involved in a bold and significant way - educating others on our proud history and standing as a shinning example of a movement that has a over 100 year old history of breaking the mold!
Beginning with Mary Baker Eddy, who was healed by PP Quimby, went on to establish the Christian Science Movement...continuing with Emma Curtis Hopkins whom we regard as the "Teacher of Teachers" for as she broke away from Mary Baker Eddy - and established her own Theological Seminary in Chicago - she taught hundreds of students - many of whom became significant leaders and founders of the various branches of New Thought. This history extends to present day - as 3 of the 5 major branches of New Thought; United Centers for Spiritual Living, Unity and the Universal Foundation for Better Living are all headed by women.
Even more importantly is the role that the early women of New Thought played in the women's suffrage movement and cultural conversations of the day in the early 1900's. In 1999 a new book which highlights this history was first published: Each Mind a Kingdom: American Women, Sexual Purity, and the New Thought Movement, 1875-1920 by Beryl Satter. This work is a significant contribution to the library of women's history, American history and New Thought history. I hope that it will become as valuable and as referenced in our movement as Spirit's in Rebellion has.
Other references that I used last Sunday:
- The Return of the Mother - by Adrew Harvey
- The Divine Feminine - by Andrew Harvey
- In Search of the Christ-Sophia - by Jann Aldredge-ClantonB
- Born of a Woman - by Bishop John Shelby Spong
- Scientific Christian Mental Practice - by Emma Curtis Hopkins