Mother God

In her blog, Rachel Held Evans reports on a call by John Piper, evangelical pastor, to preserve “masculine Christianity.”

God has given Christianity a masculine feel. And being God, a God of love, He has done that for our maximum flourishing both male and female… He does not intend for women to languish or be frustrated or in any way suffer or fall short of full and lasting joy in this masculine Christianity. From which I infer that the fullest flourishing of women and men takes place in churches and families that have this masculine feel.

Evans calls upon men to answer this, rightly pointing out than women’s responses to misogyny tend to be dismissed as the “rants of ‘angry feminists’.”  She also invites women to participate, of course — speaking out against one’s own marginalization is always a good thing.

So, Reverend Piper, all I have to say, in the words of the Psalmist, is

Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
   my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
   too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
   like a weaned child with its mother;
   my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
   from this time on and for evermore.

Psalm 131 (New Revised Standard Version)

Image of God as mother.  Or is that not too direct for you?*

*Piper would not be the only pastor to have problem with this psalm.  I was once having a discussion about feminist theology with a clergyman of my acquaintance, and he claimed that there were no feminine images of God in the Bible.  I recited this psalm (my favorite, along with 121) to him, and his first question was “what translation are you using?” When I replied “the New Revised Standard,” he insisted on seeing it. That was not too difficult, as copies of the NRSV were in back of every seat in the church.

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2 Responses to Mother God

  1. Betsy says:

    I like it.See also Genesis 1:27, which tells us that God created us in his image, male and female.

  2. Pat Greene says:

    It's funny, but growing up Catholic, I have heard so many sermons about how women were not intended by God to be priests, and every one of them skipped right past Genesis 1:27 to talk about Adam's rib and the Fall.

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