The God presented by the biblical authors and worshipped in the Church today cannot be regarded as having gender, any more than God can be regarded as having race or color. In recognizing this truth, we will be more free to use inclusive metaphors for God.
Julian of Norwich, in her Revelations of Divine Love, recounts and meditates on her revelations of Christ dying and the significance of his body and blood in his work of salvation and continued work of sustaining us.
Promise Keepers has so far embraced a rhetoric of both servanthood and soft patriarchy, a position ambiguous enough to make Christian feminists of both sexes push them for greater clarity. “Promise Keepers will have to walk a narrow line,” writes seminary professor Howard Snyder, “calling for male leadership without putting down the leadership of women.”
In Finally Feminist, John Stackhouse provides biblical, theological, and practical arguments for his own understanding of the issue: equality is the biblical ideal, but patriarchy is allowed and regulated by a God who has larger kingdom purposes in mind.
The Bible uses many diverse metaphors for God, including rock, light, mountain, shepherd, vine, woman, landowner, dove, warrior, lamb, father, mother, and countless others. We need to be aware of the diversity of these images as we build our concept of the person God is.
Can evangelical feminism be saved from secular feminism? In response, I propose that many of the needs and the bases for feminism come from God and God's followers. Further, both feminists and male chauvinists elevate values and perspectives that, in truth, should not be contradictory or exclusive from one another.
Recently my neighbor told me about a widower living in double jeopardy. With no homemaking training in his past and no wife to clean up after him, his house was piled high with junk, dirty dishes, and soiled clothes. In addition, he had to share that house with a virtual stranger: his child.
There are profound metaphors of God as feminine in the Hebrew Old Testament. On occasion this poetic imagery is allegorized literally as female; most often the feminine appears in the Hebrew Bible in metaphor and allegory, as in Deuteronomy 32:18b where God, here named Eloah, gives birth to Israel in groaning and travail as of a woman giving birth.