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Feminist Clergy Fight For The Right To Call God ‘She’

feminist-clegy  Feminist Clergy Fight For The Right To Call God ‘She’ feminist clegy

Bishop Libby Lane

Support is growing within the Church of England to rewrite its official liturgy to refer to God as female following the selection of the first women bishops. [2] Feminist clergy within the Church of England wants Christians to refer to God as a ‘she,’ despite Jesus referring to God as His Father.  Women and the Church (WATCH), an activist clergy group best known for pressuring the Anglican Church to accept female bishops, wants to modify the official church liturgy to include female language and imagery to describe God.  “In the last two or three years we’ve seen a real resurgence and interest in feminism, and younger people are much more interested in how gender categories shouldn’t be about stereotypes,” the Rev. Emma Percy, a member of WATCH, told the Guardian. “We need to have a language about God that shows God can be expressed in lots of diverse terms.”  [3] The chairperson of WATCH, Hilary Cotton, said that several clergies were already using female pronouns to refer to God.   “The reality is that in many churches up and down the country something more than the almost default male language about God is already being used,” she told the Telegraph. “Quietly clergy are just talking about God as ‘she’ every now and then.”  [2] But doesn’t that make Jesus sound like a transsexual? For instance, what’s stopping the feminists from turning the Holy Trinity into the Mother, the Son and the Holy Spirit? [1] What stopping them to transform the Holy Trinity into a threesome? A gangbang? Sky is now the limit.   In the Bible, Jesus referred to God as His Father, so would the feminists also change His quotes to say that God is His Mother instead?  And the Nicene Creed, the profession of faith at the core of the Church of England, refers to God as the Father Almighty in its very first sentence. The question is, when you start revising the core teachings of a denomination to satisfy current trends, does the denomination really stay the same?  [1] An article in the Daily Mail provide an exhaustive list of the change that would happen if God indeed was a women. Check it out HERE. [4]

Hilary Cotton  Feminist Clergy Fight For The Right To Call God ‘She’ cotton

Hilary Cotton

Hilary Cotton said that while congregations were already experimenting with new terminology, it was time for the issue to be considered by the Liturgical Commission, the body which drafts official service books, as well as those drawing behind a planned new catechism. “Until we shift considerably towards a more gender-full expression in our worship about God then we are failing God and we are missing something,” she said. [2]  “We are [also] going to miss some of the opportunities that otherwise particularly women might feel themselves called to.” Her comments came following a discussion at the Westminster Faith Debates on whether the consecration of women as bishops would “change” the Church of England. [2] To be sure, the charge to refer to God as “she” is slightly different than removing all gendered language from spiritual documents. But WATCH members point out that there is ample Christian precedent for a woman deity. Female images for the divine appear regularly in the Bible, as God is likened to a mother bear in Hosea 13:8, a mother eagle in Deuteronomy 32:11-12, and a woman giving birth in Deuteronomy 32:18, among other references. Jesus Christ even describes himself as a mother hen in Matthew 23:37, saying “Jerusalem, Jerusalem … How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” [5]

Emma_Percy  Feminist Clergy Fight For The Right To Call God ‘She’ Emma Percy

Rev Emma Percy

The Rev Emma Percy, chaplain of Trinity College Oxford and a member of Watch, said the effect of using both male and female language would be to get rid of “the notion that God is some kind of old man in the sky”. [3] She said many people in the church had been having this debate for a long time. “It’s just the church moves slowly. [The debate] caught the imagination now because we’ve got women bishops so in a sense the church has accepted that women are equally valued in God’s sight and can represent God at all levels. [3]  We want to encourage people to be freer, and we want to get the Liturgical Commission to understand that people are actually quite open to this and there is room for richer language to be used.” In her role at the university, Percy said she had noticed people had become more open to modern terminology. “In the last two or three years we’ve seen a real resurgence and interest in feminism, and younger people are much more interested in how gender categories shouldn’t be about stereotypes. We need to have a language about God that shows God can be expressed in lots of diverse terms,” she said. [3]

The Church of England’s worship already includes some references to God as female, many of them centuries old. Canticle 82, the song of Anselm, the 11th and 12th Century Archbishop of Canterbury, likens Jesus to a mother, while number 86, attributed to Julian of Norwich, speaks of God as “our mother in all things”. [2]  Still, the advocates — including some newly-ordained female bishops — insist the semantic change is worth the effort. “That gives an indication that the Church of England hasn’t set its face against this in any way and there is recognition from the Church of England that men and women are made in the image of God and therefore it is entirely appropriate to express our worship toward God as a female presence,” said Mrs Cotton. [2]

A spokesman for Lambeth Palace emphasised that the steering group is independent of the Archbishop of Canterbury and that any change in liturgy would have to be approved by the General Synod. [2] Furthermore, if you read close enough you’ll discover that the Bible already teaches equality. Galatians 3:28 reads: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (ESV)  It’s excerpts like these which influenced the concepts that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law – men and women – and that everyone – men and women – have a right to life, liberty and property.  So if feminists really want to teach gender equality, all they have to do is actually read and teach from the Bible instead of modifying its pronouns. [1]

Of course not everyone supports the women’s initiative, however. Ann Widdecombe, a former Member of Parliament who converted to Catholicism after the Anglican Church decided to ordain female bishops, called the effort “the work of lunatics.”  “God clearly isn’t a She as a She can’t be a father,” she said, according to The Daily Mail. “This is plain silly, unbiblical and ridiculous. [8]

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[1] Kit Daniels, Feminist Clergy Wants Christians To Refer To God As ‘She’, Infowars.com, JUNE 1, 2015
[2]  John Bingham, Calls to refer to God as a woman as female bishops take up posts, Telegraph, 8:06PM BST 31 May 2015
[3] Nadia Khomami, Let God be a ‘she’, says Church of England women’s group, The Guardian, Monday 1 June 2015 11.34 BST
[5] Jack Jenkins, British Women Fight For Right To Call God ‘She’, Think Progress, June 2, 2015 at 4:25 pm
[7] Lydia O’Connor, Church Of England Group Wants To Call God A ‘She‘, The Huffington Post, 06/01/2015 3:35 pm EDT

 

About Bill Wallace

Bill Wallace is a self-fashioned writter, a computer programmer and cybermarketer from Quebec City, Canada who decided to enter the political arena after his disillusionment with the socialist system under which he was living in the French Canadian province of Quebec.

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