the case of the four-year-old feminist
It’s one of my mother’s favorite memories.
Hot day, the summer I turned 4. Family farm, two miles north of Promise City, Iowa.
I’m standing on a chair, watching my mom fix the noon meal for the hired hands helping my dad and uncles in the field. She starts the day’s dessert.
Me: “Oh, good. Banana cream pie. I love banana cream pie.”
Mom (laughing): “I’ll have you know these are for the men.”
Me: “But when God said Man, he meant Woman, too.”
The exchange came to mind this weekend as I pondered a high-school friend’s Facebook admonition that I should renounce my “liberal, Big City” ways and “remember where I came from.”
Because this is where I came from.
I came from a midwest family that believed in free thought and inclusiveness. I came from an Aunt Elma Davison who taught me (and Karen Martin Arter and Allan Curtis) in the summer-damp basement of the Brushy River Baptist Church that Jesus loved me. And from an Aunt Lois Thompson who insisted that, if I truly believed it, I should start as a kid putting that attitude into action through UNICEF and other global initiatives. And I came from a Centerville Community College class in Comparative Religion where the Catholic priest instructor confirmed, among other points, that the virgin birth, resurrection and other Christian precepts can be seen in several other world religions.
Turns out what felt like the breakdown of belief at the time was actually just the breaking open of an authentic faith. One that continues to grow and evolve and challenge and baffle and require me to show up when I’d rather opt out.
All this happened before I moved to the Big City. Inclusiveness? I believe it came into the world with me, but it’s been in play at least since 1954. Which brings me to this:
Anyone up for banana cream pie? My treat.