Father Slash Mother

I have been out of the gender wars for a long time.  Years ago, I adopted gender-neutral language for my own writing and preaching.  I resisted it at first because in English (at least yesterday’s English), “He” is the default pronoun and is non-gender specific.  BUT, language changes, culture changes and those who communicate with the culture have to change.  I want to communicate with both men and women, so I speak in ways that does not offend half the population.

I have never cared for the gender neutral changes some have suggested when referring to God.  I don’t like the whole “Father/Mother” designation.  I don’t want to read designations that toggle between “Father” and “Mother.”  The reason is nothing anti-fem or pro-male, but fidelity to translation.  The Scriptures refer to God as “Father” in places and uses feminine images in other places.  I think we should keep those images as they are written.

For the first time, I wanted to change that position.

I heard someone actually argue for the male-ness of God.   “How could God not be male–the Bible calls Him Father.”

Made me want to smack my head.

Does that mean God grunts like Tim Allen?  Does it mean He has chest hair?  Does it mean He has a distinct Adam’s apple?  Does it mean He has a penis?

Sheesh.  Do you think maybe, just maybe all of the talk about God as a father or as a husband (or as a mother in labor, or as a nursing mother) is just anthropological language?  Do you think that God just might be wholly other and thus must find human words to describe Him/Her?

About shepherd

I am a pastor at a local church.
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4 Responses to Father Slash Mother

  1. vernon says:

    Gee father in a patriarchal society who would of guessed it? pillar of fire, cloud burning bush descending dove lots of images of God. The shack does a wonderful job describing God as an elderly black woman while the man was angry at his father and then appearing as a Man when he needed his dad. I know I am probably a heretic for liking the book but it had wonderful descriptive language and I have been called worse.

  2. vernon says:

    hey women have adams apples too! I know because I saw a lady at the renfest that had a really big adams apple!

  3. Eklund says:

    Hey Derrick,
    Jesus referred to God as Father. And, as a member of the Bride of Christ, I just really want to think of God as a male. Thinking of Him as anything else is icky to me. I guess I’m just not as progressive as you…..

    • shepherd says:

      When you use the imagery of, “Bride” that is entirely appropriate.

      I just think the whole “male-ness” is not the point. The point is the love between God and His people. (note that I use “His”.

      I am not very progressive. I just think to think of God as being male is less than who God is. He made us in His image, male and female, He made us.

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