A Big-Enough God: A Feminist’s Search for a Joyful Theology

By Debie Thomas

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Sara Maitland, A Big-Enough God: A Feminist’s Search for a Joyful Theology (Henry Holt and Company, 1995) pp.191

Sara Maitland is a committed feminist and a surprisingly orthodox believer. In A Big-Enough God, she explores current developments in science, mathematics, psychology, and the arts, to arrive at a God who is wider, wilder, and far more creative than we’ve yet imagined. Defining theology as the art of telling and listening to stories about the divine, Maitland argues that we need a bigger story about God the Creator — a story more expansive and flexible than our small, cherished fundamentalisms allow. Far from pitting faith against science, Maitland insists that our response to scientific discovery should be, “Oh wow! You mean God is even cleverer than we thought?”

Maitland writes with humor, generosity, and a keen intelligence. One of the great strengths of her book is that it engages with state-of-the-art developments in science and mathematics in ways that are at once accessible and rigorous. What’s also impressive is the utter practicality of her work; this is not dry, abstract theology, intended for a dusty shelf in a seminary library. This is theology for living. Living with curiosity and daring, knowing that God the Creator takes great pleasure in our explorations and discoveries. At one point, Maitland uses the metaphor of a tightrope walker to illustrate the courage Christianity requires in the postmodern world. Our vocation is not safety. Our vocation is adventure. And in the adventure, joy.

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