The Experience of God: A Postmodern Response

By Kevin Hart; Barbara E. Wall | Go to book overview

4
A Womanist Experience
A Response to Kristine Culp

RENEE MCKENZIE

Kristine Culp has taken us on an interesting ride. We have experienced with her memories of her visit to Lourdes, and we have shared with her a partial yield of her reflection. We have discovered that she, unlike some postmodern feminists, wants to reclaim, at least for feminist theology, the intrinsic and extrinsic value of experience in saying something meaningful to ourselves and others about God and our self. This work is intriguing even with the recognition of its being read with the eyes of one who, in great similarity to Culp’s experience at Lourdes, could neither fully participate in what she recounted nor separate from it for fear of trivializing or denigrating the reality to be conveyed. If there is no middle ground between participation and separation, how do we engage any experience not our own? How is one to read this essay, to attempt to live in this moment, as limited as that possibility might be, to grasp as fully as possible the reality of which it speaks? How is that accomplished if the two options, separation and/or participation, effectively leaves one without any option at all?

Culp’s dilemma was a pull between the either/or options of participation or separation on her trip to Lourdes. She could not fully embrace either position. She could not participate in the pilgrimage she saw acted out around her because her religious and spiritual sensibilities found that particular religious expression idolatrous. Neither could she separate completely from the experience she saw, because

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