Is word getting out that masculinity isn’t the only metaphor for God?

April 18, 2013

“God Is a Woman”
On Hot Dogma! The Belief Blog that Susan Campbell co-writes with Tom Breen, Susan shares this delightful little anecdote that will bring a smile to your face. It’s about a surprising theological discussion she had during a chance meeting with a stranger who asked for directions. Those of us who are Christian feminists are accustomed to thinking about God as “gender-free” or “gender-full.” We know that since God is Spirit and all descriptions of the Deity are metaphorical, the idea of God-as-female imagery is every bit as valid and biblical as God-as-male imagery. But such an idea is new to many people—and often rejected by many who haven’t thought about it and have never questioned the exclusive use of traditional male pronouns when speaking of God. No wonder Susan was pleasantly surprised by what this man said.

Related reading on our website: You can read more about Susan Campbell here. For more on the subject of female imagery for God, see Jann Aldredge-Clanton’s article, “Why Inclusive Language Is Still Important.” And on a week when we especially need comfort, you might want to go to our audio page and scroll down to the bottom to hear Kathryn Christian sing her composition, “Gather Me Under Thy Wings,” and Marg Herder sing her composition, “At Her Table.” Both songs contain female imagery for God. For more about the many metaphors for God, see “One God, Many Metaphors—the ministry of Carolyn Jane Bohler.” (Oh, and by the way, if you think the photo Susan Campbell used on her blog post has been digitally manipulated because a woman of that age couldn’t possibly be that limber, think again! Watch what German gymnast Johanna Quaas can do at age 86! Here’s another one even later.)

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni is an independent scholar, writer, and editor. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992).

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