Man? Woman? Being? I was wondering around the blogosphere when I came across Ronna Detrick’s entry entitled “Do You Remember When God Was A Woman?”
I thought long and hard as I was reading both the entry and its accompanying comments. You see, I am a catechist. I have completed the Basic Catechetical Certification courses required by my diocese to be certified to teach religious education, to be a certified catechist.
I mention this because I vividly recall an exercise in one of the classes where we had to write down descriptive words that came to our mind when thinking of God. Now, God was the Father so that was what people thought of. Yet, there were those in attendance, myself included, who wrote words that were more of a mother nature than of a father nature. Words such as nurturing, caring, mothering that should apply to either sex but that in this case, people felt was odd in applying it to a male higher being.
I was offended by that thought. I was offended that God could not have a nurturing female side. Mother Nature is worshiped by many. She does good for us all. Why is it that God has to be seen as male?
Being Roman Catholic, this is not always a good topic for me to bring up. Granted, I am a convert and was never Roman Catholic prior to Vatican II. Even if I had been, I would have been so young I doubt I would remember pre-Vatican II. I definitely do not remember it, though, as I became a Roman Catholic 27 years ago this Easter season.
I have ideas and beliefs that I had prior to becoming a Roman Catholic. I did not give those up. I attempted, and in many cases succeeded, in merging my two divergent views. The image of God as male, though, is not one that I have had much success with changing. Many cradle Catholics think I am crazy when I describe a God that has more female characteristics than male characteristics.
The Church has attempted to become less sexist. Traditional hymns have had minor word changes. I find this annoying. I also find this just cosmetic. Some of the hymns that have had changes made are centuries old. When they were written, man was king literally. The wording reflects those days, those times.
As I look back at some of the questions Ronna posed at the end of her entry, I truthfully believe that God being male, female or non-sexed doesn’t matter to me in the long run. I know that there is an all-knowing, omnipresent being who loves and nurtures us as we live our very human lives.