"To exist humanly is to name the self, the world, and God."
--Mary Daly (1928-2010), a Feminist theologian
"Gekokujo" (下剋上) is a Japanese word meaning "low overcoming high". It refers to when the people lower down in a hierarchy rise up and overthrow those above them. Rebellions, mutinies, and populist uprisings are all gekokujo.(source)
Heather Clark, Feminist Women Priests With Church of England Move for God to Be Called ‘She’ in Services (Christian News), June 2015.
LONDON — A group of female priests with the Church of England have moved for the denomination to start referring to God as a “she” during the weekly liturgy, stating that to make mention of God solely in the male pronoun is sexist.
According to reports, the group Women and the Church (WATCH), which was behind the push to allow women to serve as bishops in the denomination, is now in talks with the Liturgical Commission for a change in the pronoun used during services when speaking of God. The group says that to refer to God in the masculine devalues women.
|from the Women and the Church (WATCH) homepage|
“When we used only male language we reinforce the idea that God is like a man and, in doing so, suggest that men are therefore more like God than women,” member Emma Percy, who leads services at Trinity College in Oxford, said in a statement. “If we take seriously the idea that men and women are made in the image of God, both male and female language should be used.”
Jody Stowell of St. Michael’s Harrow told RT.com that referring to the divine in only masculine terms also places limits on the revelation of God’s character.
“Orthodox theology says all human beings are made in the image of God, that God does not have a gender. He encompasses gender. He is both male and female and beyond male and female,” she said. “So when we only speak of God in the male form, that’s actually giving us a deficient understanding of who God is.”
Percy said that the move was presented at this point in time because of changes in the denomination surrounding women.
“[The proposal] 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,” she explained. “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 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,” Percy said.
Reports state that some congregations are already referring to God as “mother” or “she” during services.
Heather Clark, Episcopal Diocese Votes toAvoid Using ‘Gendered Pronouns’ for God in Book of Common Prayer (Christian News), Feb 2018.
WASHINGTON — The Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C. voted on Saturday to stop using “gendered pronouns” for God in future revisions of its Book of Common Prayer and to “remove all obstacles” for “transgender” participation in church life by making all gender-specific facilities and activities accessible to those who identify as the opposite sex.
“Resolved … that the 79th General Convention direct the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, if revision of the Book of Common Prayer is authorized, to utilize expansive language for God from the rich sources of feminine, masculine, and non-binary imagery for God found in Scripture and tradition and, when possible, to avoid the use of gendered pronouns for God,” the resolution read.
It was passed by a show of hands during the 123rd Convention of the Washington Diocese with only a few opposed, according to Strategic Communications Director Richard Wosson Weinberg.
“While other Christian denominations have embraced more comprehensive language for God, The Episcopal Church has chosen to use masculine pronouns when referring to the first and third person of the Trinity. This choice has had a profound impact on our understanding of God. Our current gender roles shape and limit our understanding of God,” the diocese said in an explanation of the resolution.
“By expanding our language for God, we will expand our image of God and the nature of God,” it continued. “Our new Book of Common Prayer needs to reflect the language of the people and our society. This resolution assumes that the authors of our new Book of Common Prayer will continue in the long tradition of beautiful poetic language. However, this beautiful language should not be limited by gendered pronouns when avoidable.”
According to reports, delegate Linda Calkins of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Laytonsville, Maryland wanted the diocese to go a step further as she held a copy of “The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation” and asked when the version would be utilized.
She read from Genesis 17, in which the “Inclusive Bible” referred to God as “El Shaddai.”
“[I]f we are going to be true to what El Shaddai means, it means God with breasts,” Calkins claimed.
The diocese also stated that its resolution surrounding those with gender dysphoria was to ensure that those who live as the opposite sex feel welcomed as fellow Christians.
“Transgender Christians are searching for a connection with God within a loving community where they can worship and work for equality and justice. Unfortunately, many transgender people are too often left without a place to worship because congregations are not ready to welcome them as their Christian companions,” it asserted. “Fixed boundaries of gender identity are being challenged and churches need to respond.”
The resolution, in addition to decrying violence against “transgender” persons, also urged “all parishes to remove all obstacles to full participation in congregational life by making all gender-specific facilities and activities fully accessible, regardless of gender identity and expression.”
The measure was stated to have passed without dissent.
As previously reported, in 2015, when a group of women known as WATCH moved for the Church of England to start referring to God as a “she” during the weekly liturgy, stating that to make mention of God solely in the male pronoun is sexist, some expressed strong opposition.
“Referring to God as ‘mother’ drives a horse and cart through Scripture. Such an innovation is guaranteed to split the C of E as never before,” wrote Damian Thompson in the Daily Mail.
“Lord Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury, has warned us that the church could be extinct in 25 years’ time unless services become more spiritually fulfilling. Calling God ‘she’ will not achieve that fulfillment,” he stated. “The proposed twist of language will do nothing to stop the decline of Christian faith in this country. On the contrary, it will make worshippers squirm. And nothing empties pews faster than that.”
1 John 4:14 reads, “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.”
Jesus also said in John 15:26, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me.”