Why Seeking Sophia?
I’ve been a nerd all my life. I mean a full blown, Star Wars poster hanging, Dungeons and Dragons playing, HTML building, book learnin’ nerd. I took computer classes when the screens were still black and I had that early model of the Apple Computer where we stored all we needed on a “big” floppy disk holding less than 2 megabytes.
Sometime in the late 20th century I made the switch from screechy dial-ups and AOL to ethernet and a mac.com email address. Much like trendy TikTok handles today, back in the day (oh lord, that’s what old-timers say) choosing just the right kitschy screen name was über important. Long before I knew that life would lead me through seminary and into digital ministry, I chose seekingsophia as my screen name and it has been with me ever since. But who is Sophia, why am I looking for her and what does that have to do with this blog?
Sophia is a Greek word meaning Wisdom – and Divine Wisdom at that. In biblical terms, Sophia is the personification of God’s Wisdom. More importantly, She is an aspect of God. If you spend a little time Googling, you will find an abundance of sources, from orthodox Catholic to way out woo woo talking about who and what Sophia represents. Proverbs 8, especially 8:29-31, centers Sophia, a female divine presence, in the act of Creation.
When God fixed the foundations of earth, then was I [Sophia] beside God as artisan; I was God’s delight day by day, playing before God all the while, playing over the whole of God’s earth. (Proverbs 8:29–31)
Coming from the stridently patriarchal Southern Baptist tradition, this notion of a Holy Feminine presence has been a lifelong fascination, and a lifeline in my faith over 5 (and some change) decades.
My perpetual process of searching for wisdom requires in equal measure curiosity and contentment, doubt and faith, practice and patience and an underpinning of compassion for myself and others. All these tied together with a golden thread of creativity and delight help my inner compass point me in the direction of understanding how to live in the God’s good creation with love for God, my neighbour, and yes, even myself.
But what is feminine wisdom?
Is it meemaw’s cornbread recipe and mama’s sideways truisms? Sometimes.
Is it pink hats and pearls marching in solidarity? Possibly.
Is it Ester, Ruth, Tamar, Mary Magdalene, Dorcas, St. Therese, Brigid of Kildare, Dorothy Day, Mother Theresa, Gloria Steinem, Alice Walker, Joana Macy, Maya Angelou, Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, Audre Lorde, Anne Lamott, Malala Yousafzai, Rachel Held Evans, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Annie Dillard, Rebecca Solnit and Heather Cox Richardson? Oh yes, dear one! There is diverse and daunting wisdom to be found in thousands upon thousands of pages written by women around the world.
I don’t always know where to start looking for Sophia, but I surely recognise Her when she calls out in the public square…
So I keep searching, eyes wide open all the time to what good wisdom the women of the world have and are creating every day.
And this project, this little experiment in interactive blogging, is all about seeking Sophia by cultivating creativity, delight and deep wisdom. I hope you will journal along with me through 2021 and find your own grounding in divine wisdom along the way.