"God is a MADWOMAN locked in the attic. She is wild, incomprehensible, expressive, and powerful. She remembers a lush beautiful world and would make that here with us if we would receive it from her. .... [The church] tried to make the MADWOMAN manageable and approachable. Only she can do that and by her choice. That doesn’t mean we can’t know her, it just means we can’t contain her. Yet she remains in the attic. I think she wants us to find her, know her, and be with her. "
- from "To The Attic"
In the early 1990s I was an undergraduate studying feminism for the first time and became enthralled by the motif of "the madwoman in the attic." It became for me a metaphor and an avenue for knowing God, with especial attention to the feminine divine, mystery, and grace. I borrowed the metaphor from Jane Eyre and feminist exposition that feminine creativity and voice can only be expressed through insanity when struggling against patriarchal repression. Perhaps at its most awesome and unfamiliar God does sound like madness.
I employed the feminist metaphor to speak for aspects of God that were traditionally left out of the evangelical Christian story. I was especially interested in perceptions of feminine aspects of the divine as well as qualities that did not fit anthropomorphic forms. I imagined God plucked from the wildness and beauty of the cosmos and confined to men's language. God is, I expect, a willing captive, desiring relationship with humans, and ever slipping between the cracks of the official story to reveal something more to us.
- Jenni Lincoln