This is just an observation, but… if you’re staring at your navel (another way of saying “pondering the world from your comfortable and privileged spot”), you either have *waaaaaaaay* too much spare time or are in need of a larger shirt. I say “yes” to both. My boss is currently upstairs shelving (probably to escape my ranting on gender inclusivity after she asked me to “woman” the desk) and the shirt I’m wearing is left over from my junior year of high school, fading from a deep smoky charcoal grey to a light silvery color. (You also know you have way too much spare time when you track the color shifts of your clothes. But anyway…)
For the record, I do know how to spell. I spell stuff S-C-H-T-U-F-F because it’s a “Jenism”. I’m not well known as the lepicat anymore so I *have* to have something else that makes me special. :p
Tonight in my AARE class, we had two speakers, one on black Pentecostalism and the other on the megachurch movement. When both of them prayed, they used “he” and “Father” and I actually noticed it. This is amazing me because it used to not appear on my radar. If “she” was used, that would have set off alarms but I was so used to hearing “he” and “Father”. It was refreshing to hear both terms used because people are so PC at the seminary. It’s hard for me to pray publicly now because I’m so afraid of being called on my language because I use “Father” and “Lord” so frequently. Perhaps this is why I find it so hard to pray on my own these days???
I am also really questioning the way we use Scripture in our seminary lives. Everything is usually academic so we’re either taking Scripture apart or using it to back up theological claims. Rarely do we read Scripture for devotional purposes. I wonder why this is. Perhaps we cannot separate the academic part of ourselves from the spiritual/emotional part of ourselves. Perhaps it is an issue of time (which is why I love the Daily Texts — it’s two verses and a prayer) because there is so much to do. Perhaps it comes from the fact that our spiritual formation is kind of assumed to happen during seminary without instruction. Whatever the reason is, we really just do not read the text for devotional purposes, and it is really starting to get to some of us. We’d do a Bible Study but there is the question of time and how to do it since we’re all coming from different places on the issue of how to interpret…
In the contemporary worship workshop last night, someone lamented that there are no good composers of Christian music any more. My response: there are some very good composers who write excellent lyrics that are orthodox and have tunes that are easily singable. The problem with them (in the eyes of that person): the lyrics use predominantly masculine imagery and this really bothers some people. My response: you’re using these songs outside of the tradition for which they are written. If you want music that fits your specifications, compose it yourself. Someone suggested changing the lyrics, something I find to be dishonest. If you choose to use the song, use the original lyrics. The one exception that I find to be OK is what we do to lengthen “Great is the Lord” where we make the words on the second time through into:
Great are you Lord
You are holy and just
By your power, we trust in your love
Great are you Lord
You are faithful and true
By your mercy, you prove you are love… (you get the picture)
The reason I’m down with that change is that: a.) we keep the lyrics in-tact on the first verse; b.) we do nothing to destroy the message of the song; c.) it’s not for the purposes of erasing gender; and d.) we do it to add length to a song, not our own agenda. I would personally rather sing a song that is full of masculine images than a song that is insipid and theological shallow in order to avoid the gender problem.
My next point: people need to realize that “Father” is a valid term for God. What is it saying to young boys when we deprive them of the image of a Heavenly Father? What does it say about the role of “father” in the family? I mean, I understand the perspective of people who have had problems with their fathers — Lord knows that I’ve had quite a few problems with mine. Still, it comforts me to know that even if my earthly father (whom I love dearly) isn’t perfect, my Heavenly Father is and can handle my frustration and grief over problems I’ve had in the past with my earthly father. In Systematics, we discussed the language issue last quarter and my professor commented that his problem with “Heavenly Mother” is that we are created, not born of God. (And yes, I know that the Son is begotten of the Father. I am not solving Trinitarian quandries tonight. Sorry…) I’m inclined to agree with Dr. Root on this. I don’t doubt that God does have motherly or feminine qualities. I’m just not kosher with calling God my “heavenly Mother”. I will avoid gender altogether before going in that direction.
[Here ends Jen's rant. P: Thanks be to God!]
OK… I probably *should* go to bed now… unless I really want to work on my Borg [shudder]/Wright paper. *flips a coin* Bedtime it is!