To Play with a Child Named Sorrow: Engaging Sin, Grief, and the Self-in-Relation through Myth and Fairy Tale
Katelyn Rae Davis, MDiv
Western theology’s understanding of sin has focused on pride, which has furthered the oppression of women. In the last 50 years, feminist theology has made great strides in explaining how pride (“masculine sin” developed by male theologians) oppresses and has named “feminine sin” (which I term echoism) as diffuseness, a lack
of a sense of self, a defining of one’s self by relationship. However, theology has failed to discuss the ways in which these sins interact with one another and how we interpersonally move from sin to grace. In “The Myth of Echo & Narcissus,” we see the ways in which pride harmfully emphasizes the self and how echoism harmfully emphasizes relationship. In “The Tale of the Handless Maiden,” we come to see the transforming process of grief, which frees us to love. This is not simply a balance between pride and echoism; this process is a transformation of human character that comes through an active process of receiving God in the midst of grief. The burden is not on humanity to find a way to manage or balance our sins. Rather, as the tale shows us, characterological change frees us from the constraints of sin (with emphasis on either self or relation) and into the freedom to love as selves-in-relation.
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The Integrative Project serves as a capstone for students in The Seattle School's Master of Divinity and MA in Theology & Culture programs as they look back on their training while discerning what it will look like for them to serve God and neighbor in their post-graduate contexts.
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