Have you heard about this, from the Guardian?
“A group within the Church of England is calling for God to be referred to as female following the selection of the first female bishops.
“The group wants the church to recognise the equal status of women by overhauling official liturgy, which is made up almost exclusively of male language and imagery to describe God.
“Rev Jody Stowell, a member of Women and the Church (Watch), the pressure group that led the campaign for female bishops, said: ‘Orthodox theology says all human beings are made in the image of God, that God does not have a gender. He encompasses gender – he is both male and female and beyond male and female. So when we only speak of God in the male form, that’s actually giving us a deficient understanding of who God is.’”
Let’s stop right here . . . Rev. Stowell uses “He” to describe God while suggesting that “She” should be used to describe God.
Evidently, old habits may be more difficult to change than Rev. Stowell realizes.
It’s also curious that Rev. Stowell doesn’t mention, (or the article fails to report), that God already is referred to in feminine terms in the Hebrew scriptures. (Unless you read Hebrew, you probably don’t know this. It’s easy to blame your pastor for not teaching the etymology of some words, but if Rev. Stowell can’t mention it in this context, who will?)
In Hebrew, Wisdom and Spirit (ruach, or breath) are feminine words. So any verse in the Hebrew scripture that speaks to the Wisdom or Spirit of God is referring to the feminine aspects of God.
I agree with these clergy that God is more than male terms. I would assert that even more than a “deficient” understanding of God, male words to describe God makes it easier to accept bad, patriarchal theology that can easily marginalize women.
But using feminine words to describe God really doesn’t do much good, either.
All language falls short, so why would we willingly persist in using a failed vernacular when overhauling the official liturgy?
Rather than add feminine words, why not remove the male words?
The Holy Spirit
Breath of God
sounds much better than