Veiled Glory: How Conservative Anabaptist Women Reflect the Feminine Image and Glory of God
Through the lens of the metaphor “Veiled Glory,” this dissertation explores how a traditional conservative Anabaptist view of the feminine reflects specific aspects of God’s image and glory. Drawing from Scriptures that detail feminine aspects of God’s image, such as mother, mystery, wisdom, and a Jewish rabbinic and mystical understanding of the Shekinah glory of God, one discovers significant feminine images of God threaded throughout the biblical account. Embracing these aspects of God’s image can bring personal identity and shalom, a Hebrew word describing a deep inner peace and sense of wellbeing, to women belonging to traditional Anabaptist communities.
Section I explores the conundrum women in traditional Anabaptist communities experience when caught between an often-silencing patriarchal leadership and the influence of contemporary views of the feminine sometimes experienced as minimizing to traditional feminine roles. Section II explores alternative solutions offered to address issues surrounding the traditional feminine, while noting the absence of identifying how the traditional feminine reflects elements of God’s image. Section III traces the feminine images of God as mother, Lady Wisdom, the feminine personification of wisdom as counterpart to the Creator, and the feminine aspects of the Shekinah, all of these images enhancing the traditional conservative Anabaptist view of the feminine. Character sketches of six women from the Scriptures help to shape the working metaphor of “veiled glory,” bringing vision and substance to the personal identity and agency of women living in conservative Anabaptist communities. It is through the disciplines of Scripture, meditation, prayer, and self-examination that conservative Anabaptist women become enlivened by the Holy Spirit to receive and embody these important and often missed elements of God’s image and glory. Sections IV and V outline the Artifact specifications of a non-fiction book that reveals the powerful metaphor of “Veiled Glory” as a meaningful way for women in traditional settings to embrace the feminine image and glory of God which they bear through personal spiritual formation. The Artifact itself is a non-fiction, somewhat academic, book manuscript described in Sections IV and V.