Halfway through the work week and getting a bit worn out? Many churches try to help by holding a midweek prayer meeting, which gives people a chance to connect, encourage and recharge.
While the midweek meeting particularly thrives within more conservative churches, that is not always the case. The picture above shows a rosary used in Wednesday meetings at San Francisco's Ebenezer Lutheran Church, a feminist community of faith. The gold figure on the end is a woman, but it is not Mary or a saint--this is a Goddess Rosary.
At herchurch.org, the Church provides an extensive explanation of the theology behind the Goddess Rosary, from female metaphors of the divine to reconstructionist Christian feminism. It also describes in depth the midweek rosary prayer meetings, where people recite this variation on the "Hail Mary":
Hail Goddess full of grace.
Blessed are you
and blessed are all the fruits
of your womb.
For you are the MOTHER of us all.
Hear us now
and in all our needs.
O blessed be, O blessed be. Amen
And blessed art thou, Jennifer Rose Emick of About.com's excellent Alt Religion site, for sending this link!
CONTROVERSY EXTRA: Although the Goddess Rosary has been around for a while, it has recently become a cause celebre among more traditional Christian sites in the blogosphere. Is the use of goddess imagery in Christian feminism "rank heresy"? If the problem is borrowing from "pagan" imagery, is mainstream Catholicism's devotion to Mary any more orthodox? And is laughing at people and calling them "kooky" the hallmark of Christian love?
I report. You decide.