Explorations in Theology

The series explores a theology that is human friendly! Jesus as the true human shows us who God is, and because of his consideration for us ('who are we, that God should make note of us?') defines who humanity was created to be. The nature of sin is to fall short of the glory of God. The glory of God as revealed in the truly human one - 'we beheld his glory full of grace and truth'. This volume is a foundation for the other volumes. And there are ZOOM groups available...
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“Neither,” he replied

We know the story well. ‘Are you for us or for our enemies?’ Makes a good sermon foundation (rightly so). But yesterday on reading this again it hit me hard. My God gives the answer – for you of course, never for your enemies though I love them… But the God representative that Joshua encountered did not pad out the answer. And it is the not-padded out answer that I object to!

We can be so clear who God is for, and where s/he stands. We can in theory hold that the God path is above us all, but we so often reduce everything down to ‘my perspective is right’.

God is so for justice, my perspective on justice. And what I have to learn is s/he is not about to come down on my side, just because it is my side.

OK… that’s the post for today. Not long, but.

4 thoughts on “Seriously?

    1. Yes… s/heriously!!! Pronouns for the God who is not in human image is significantly difficult.

    2. Ok so I need to engage with this a little.

      I do have a problem with the un-gendering of God but probably not for the reasons you might presume.

      I am fully comfortable with the concept of God being completely ‘other’, indescribable, all powerful and of course neither male nor female in (forgive me) His essence.

      But the notion of an amorphous, all powerful sovereign creator is surely just the first step to knowing. The natural response to contact with such a being is fear and while the Fear of the Lord is a healthy response, it would seem not to be the only response that our God wants to engender.

      If we are to read scripture as the story humanity coming to know God then we should take seriously the trajectory of that relationship which seems to deepen in intensity as the story continues.
      For me it runs something like this:
      Unknowable –> Master –> Friend –> Father –> Lover (Bridegroom)

      Each of these descriptions of God are like layers of an onion with more intimacy as you head inward

      That said, just because you may know God as Father or even Bridegroom doesn’t make Him less to be feared.

      Anyway, back to the point. Jesus felt it would be helpful for us to consider God as gendered. In asking us to pray to ‘Our Father’ perhaps he was less interested in making a biological statement and more interested in giving us a helpful metaphor to reveal the underlying reality of God’s chosen attitude toward us.

      By un-gendering God we risk losing that trajectory of intimacy in our understanding of Him and so risk undoing the good work of scripture and dare I say it of Jesus himself.


    3. Great response… Gendering / ungendering for me are both problematic, and so it is difficult to know which way to go. I consider God is neither male nor female, but both masculine and feminine. Masculine and feminine being applicable also to humanity, as is male / female (unlike God). The predominance of male language seems important as we, nor creation, are not the product of some birth from the divine – and therefore in some way ‘divine’. Neither are we the result of some sexual act at the ‘god-level’ as per some myths. God spoke and there was – wholly other, distinct from. Self-sufficient, creation being the overspill of extravagant love. As that aspect is established there is a ‘softening’ of that language in Scripture with much more feminine imagery applied to God.

      I am not comfortable to switch language to ‘Our mother’ who is in heaven… but to simply use male terms for God can be misleading. And I find it easier to do this when writing than when talking (hence s/he is pretty easy to write). This does not imply God is ‘she’ but also flags up that God is not ‘he’.

      ‘By un-gendering God’ I do not see the issue you see… and the problem can equally be reversed ‘by gendering God’ we are making an error..

      New creation order is an interesting one and one on which Scripture is not too vocal. No marriage – but will we be complete with male / female distinctiveness. I used to think so in that part of our identity is male / female, now I am not so sure. I certainly think that the death of Jesus is as male and as Jew and those identities are nailed to the cross.

      And if we asssume we have to call God ‘Father’ as an eternal principle as per the Lord’s Prayer, this does not dictate that we continue to use the ‘he’ pronoun. Th divine Father is not a ‘he’ nor a ‘she’ and certainly not an ‘it’. Hence the paucity of all language.

      Value the response just do not see the danger of the trajectory you suggest. And of course I see everything so clearly!

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