He v. She

I have been intensly curious to see where Ariah ends up in his efforts to use feminine pronouns to refer to his God all this month.  And I hope he sticks with it.

The post I linked to is his effort to address some of the concerns about the post in which he announces his intentions.

I didn’t comment over there, since I don’t have a dog in that fight any more.  But I have been thinking about it–how soul lonely it is to want so much to feel connected to the Christian God and to feel like that’s never going to be possible because He’s a “he” and you’re not.

And I get Ariah’s commenters who are concerned that doing such a “crazy” experiment might turn off or confuse outsiders, but what about it being a spiritual lifeline to women who would, like I eventually did, otherwise leave the Church?  Are those hypothetical outsiders worth so much more than the real people who feel cut off from your God by your language?

I eventually came to the same conclusion Ariah’s commenter does who believes that God, being all-powerful could have referred to himself as something other than Him, if He’d cared to.  That’s, in part, why I left.  I experienced it as God pulling away from me, first–that constant reaffirmation, “I’m not like you.”

Okay, then, fine.  If you don’t like me, I’m a jackass for hanging around.

But it does seem to me that there is another path and I am cheering for anyone who struggles to take it.

6 thoughts on “He v. She

  1. Seems to me a more accurate usage of the terms would be to use female pronouns when referring to more feminine attributes of god and male pronouns when referring to more masculine attributes of god. That would be an interesting effort that I think would be a bit more insightful in exploring the nature of god than would simply switching from using one set of pronouns universally to using another set of pronouns universally.

  2. Oh Dolphin! I cannot wait to see where this leads. What, exactly, would you propose are “feminine” attributes of God and which are “masculine”?

  3. I eventually came to the same conclusion Ariah’s commenter does who believes that God, being all-powerful could have referred to himself as something other than Him, if He’d cared to.

    Do we know that the prophets were spoken to in words? My only personal experience of getting a direct divine message was of a thought plunked into my head — I had to put it into words to consider it, but it didn’t arrive that way. Maybe it was the prophets themselves putting the masculine pronouns in?

  4. Oh, I so hesitate to enter into such conversations in a totally public forum such as the web because too often people don’t seem to know the difference between “male and female” and “masculine and feminine.” The whole topic can be treacherous waters when folks aren’t on the same page about the meanings of the words being used.

    So I think I’ll approach this from a different angle (how very yin of me). If the masculine and feminine attributes of god were so black and white that we could propose them “exactly,” then I’d not consider assigning specific pronouns to them to be as insightful of an exercise. I think the greater value would come from the exploration of how the masculine and feminine intermingle within a specific aspect of god. The point of the exercise, for me, would not be to put a given attribute into a box as “masculine” or “feminine” but rather to use such designation as an impetus for expanding one’s definitions of each and exploring the interaction between the two. Does that make sense?

  5. Aunt B,

    Wow, thanks so much for your thoughts on this. I’m really grateful to hear others insights and experience.

    Tomorrow I’m posting some of my thoughts, and it’s related specifically to the “feminine” “masculine” stuff getting brought up in the comments here.

    Thanks again.


  6. Pingback: Trying to follow » Blog Archive » Gender and the Attributes of God

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