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Saturday, August 18, 2007
My God My Mother?
We can know that God is given the title "Father" - and I have my theory as to why but I'll reserve that. We can know that Jesus was male and "son".

My husband often relates to God father to father. He just can't imagine a father this, or imagines that a father would that.. I love listening to him.

I've heard some talk of the "divine feminine" here and there, and know that it has been touched on in the media. For me, it still seems somewhat removed from anything that I can relate to.

We could drop the "father" and argue that God is genderless and sexless. I'm just not comfortable with that personally. Not just because of the whole weirdness that I feel considering it because of my upbringing, but because I don't want to take away something that men (my hubby even) could relate to about God.

Also, I relate to God as a Dad, and how I see that playing out. There truly are things about Dads that I think are different than Moms -- whether real or perceived.

God related to humanity as a Mom. Here's an example:

Luk 13:34 Jerusalem! Jerusalem! The one killing the prophets, and stoning those having been sent to her, how often I desired to gather your children in the way a hen gathers her brood under the wings, and you did not desire it.

I'm wondering what insights we might have about God in relating as a different gender. If you imagined God as "Mom", how would you understand God's wrath? Love? Jealousy? Grace? Mercy? Etc?
posted by Anonymous at 10:13 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 8/19/2007 08:30:00 AM, Anonymous kathy

    my daughter is 13 and a deep thinker, really passionate about God & equality & standing up for what's right. she loves to tell people i'm a pastor & is proud of me for standing up against opposition & listening to God instead of the system (she sometimes writes papers about it for school!) it is kind of fun to have such a great advocate. anyway, the point about her is that last week she said a profound thing that most grownups don't go around saying--she has been at a young life camp and said that she spoke up and shared that she doesn't just think of God as her daddy. she thinks of God as her mommy AND her daddy. it made me cry and i told her that there weren't too many other people i knew on the journey who accepted that beautiful thought so early and in such a real way. i wish i had but i am beginning to taste some of it now, the bigness of God that we so easily limit by listening too much to what other people tell us instead of seeking & experiencing it for ourselves

  • At 8/19/2007 10:18:00 AM, Blogger NYCindividual

    I like to think of God as someone beyond the boundries of gender. God created us in His image, so I would think that He has both female and male qualities. But I would not limit Him to having just those qualities either.

  • At 8/19/2007 10:40:00 AM, Blogger Lyn H

    I tend to agree. I think God has both male and female qualitites - which we read about in the bible. But as nycindividual wrote I would not want to limit God to these. I think he is beyond what we could visualize or expect, many things are a mystery.

  • At 8/19/2007 10:44:00 AM, Blogger Michele L

    Well, I agree with the previous comments. I don't really relate to God with a Gender. As I have said in previous posts. I don't usually use gender pronouns either. I think one positive for embracing "feminine" concepts is that for many, the masculine doesn't represent a "wonderful father experience". If both/and beyond these qualities are embraced it removes many boundaries and expands the possibilities with in our experience with GOD.

    I would not push someone to change where they connect, but I do think that it can expand understanding, and we shouldn't say that those who are embracing the "feminine" are wrong or out of line.

  • At 8/19/2007 03:58:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    This past spring we led a spiritual retreat with our church where we focused on our conceptions of God. One of the activities was to do "case studies" of different situations where we explored how different views of God would affect our response to the situation. If our primary conception of God is Father, or Judge, or holy, or Love, or mother it makes a big difference in how we react to the world. Part of the idea is that God is all those things (and more) and they need to be held in tension when we consider God.

  • At 8/20/2007 04:13:00 AM, Blogger lisa

    If it's true that God created male and femal after the image of who God is, then at the very least, God encompasses all that we think of as male as well as all that we think of of as female.

    I am almost 45 and I have come to this nice peaceful place that Kathy's 13 year old daughter is at where I relate to God as far more than just father, but as mother too.

    There is a lot of teaching out there on the Father Heart of God, which is so good. But there is a great void when it comes to teaching us about the Mother Heart of God. I sat with a Tanzanian man recently (who used to be a Catholic priest) and we talked about Mother God. He sees all of creation as evidence of the Mother side of God, birthing life and nurturing it. I long for a fuller understanding of God and I lean now toward calling God my perfect parents :-)

  • At 8/20/2007 06:14:00 AM, Blogger a journey

    We (male and female) are created in his image ... so I would say he's both, plus much more. Also, God has a womb(Job 38)so I can't see him as just 'father'.

  • At 8/20/2007 02:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    There is a difference between being biologically male and female (sex) and existing as a culture made of of the two sexes, defines them (gender).

    However, I think that it is beneficial to connect with God on every level, yet as some of you have shared, not to limit God by any of them.

  • At 8/21/2007 01:16:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

    I don't think it matters if we are personally "comfortable" with God being genderless. It's not up to us. God is who God is. And if it is true that God is genderless (or "beyond gender" - as seems clear from scripture) then I think we just have to get used to that whether we're comfortable with it or not. God isn't necessarily supposed to make us "comfortable".

  • At 8/21/2007 11:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous


    My discomfort is in not calling God "father", not in God being genderless. I apologize for the miscommunication.


  • At 8/23/2007 11:48:00 AM, Anonymous carmen

    amie, i love your question, how does it change (or broaden?) our understanding of God's wrath, love, etc. it brought to mind one of the best examples of God's wrath that i've heard, which comes from wayne jacobsen in "he loves me", who uses a woman as an example. he describes the moment when his wife saw a swarm of bees attacking her toddler son. the look on her face (one of rage at the bees) as she ran towards her son, says jacobsen, even scared her son until he realized that her rage was at the bees and not at him. (jacobsen likens his wife's rage at the bees to God's wrath towards sin because it hurts us). anyway, imagining those concepts through a mother's eyes (like mine) really deepens and broadens those attributes of God. thanks for the prod on that. blessings.

  • At 8/23/2007 12:37:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Thank you for that Carmen.

  • At 8/24/2007 05:42:00 PM, Anonymous Christy

    Hi, I found your blog through the emerging women site.
    I was excited to see this question because it's a topic I'm very interested in. I think including "motherly" attributes when we think of God can only benefit our inadequate human attempts to conceive of who God is. I also wonder what sort of difference it makes to relate to a God who is (conceived of as) the same gender as oneself...

  • At 8/31/2007 10:52:00 PM, Blogger Poorhouse Dad

    a journey said "God has a womb(Job 38)." I hope journey is just being facetious because that's an irreverently wishful interpretation of Job 38:8

    Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?

    and/or Job 38:29

    Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?

    It's tempting to build up oneself by establishing the superiority of one's group. The Bible, however, tells us that one who serves in the church is greater than one who rules; that we should defer one to another in honor; and that no member of the body of Christ is complete without all the others.

    While it is useful to use the positive, stereotypical attributes of fathers and mothers to illustrate the attributes of God, we must take care not to use them in a game of king-of-the-hill.

    That said, if you wish to find "feminine" attributes of God, I suggest studying the attributes of the Holy Spirit, especially as the Spirit's role contrasts with the Father's.

  • At 9/01/2007 07:58:00 AM, Blogger Linda

    Poorhouse Dad,

    I think you're missing Journey's point. She wasn't stating that God is only female, just naming another instance of metaphor that attributes feminine roles to God, in addition to male roles.

    Job is poetic (as is much of scripture from which we take male and female metaphors for God). Poetry and metaphor were not intended to be taken literally, but they express beautiful things about God that are true on another level.

  • At 9/01/2007 01:48:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Poorhouse Dad - why is it that to use male imagery for God is okay, but to use the female imagery present in scripture means that women are elevating themselves and putting men down? There are male and female images used for God all throughout scripture and yet God is contained by neither. And yes there are great feminine imagery used in association with the holy spirit, but also with God. Those images need discussed so that we will finally accept scripture instead of reject because of a fear of women.

  • At 9/01/2007 08:01:00 PM, Anonymous bongo

    is god really generless? i don't understand why we would make that move and retreat to some evangelical gnosticism. god is more likely (for lack of a better category) androgynous (defined as having the characteristics or nature of both male and female). If we're REALLY honest we each are a unique androgynous representative of humanity. why would we expect less from god?


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