The Spirit of Process Theology Among Women in Saudi Arabia:
Networking, Sharing Skills, and Mentoring
Process theologians distinguish between relational power and coercive power. Relational power is the power that emerges when people listen to one another; share ideas, skills, and stories; grow as individuals; and grow in their capacities to help one another. It is not win-lose power but win-win power. Coercive power is the power of force, fear, or intimidation. It is one-way power or unilateral power. It speaks but does not listen; it takes but does not give. Coercive power works on the assumption that if someone is to win, others must lose.
CellA is all about relational power. As the woman in the interview puts it, it is for "any woman who works, who would like to develop herself, and who would like to give as well as take." For process theologians there is a spiritual side to all of this. Even the divine mystery at the heart of the universe -- even Allah -- prefers relational to coercive power and dwells within each heart as an invitation to relationality. There is indeed a certain kind of spiritual power -- relational power -- which finds its home in the new, young, dynamic, and fresh energy of women professionals as they work together, finding their voices, helping one another, and not exactly waiting for governments to follow suit. Perhaps part of the hope for Saudi Arabia, and also for the world, lies in women such as these, who dare speak a word of creative transformation to a frightened and divided world.
At least this is what we process theologians believe, and we celebrate relational spirituality wherever we find it. It sure doesn't need to be called process theology, either. It might better be called the activity of being empowered by a oneness -- tawḥīd - from whose heart the universe emerges moment by moment. Yes, another fine name for it might be Islam.
-- Jay McDaniel (editor of JJB)
Empowering Women in Saudi Arabia: