Seventeen essays explore how the biblical Miriam, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary of Bethany, and Mary Magdalene were portrayed in the early Christian era, also touching on Jewish and Muslim interpretations.
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.
Before we get too far into this sermon, I need to say one thing: my brother had it coming. So none of this is my fault. Well, not entirely my fault. It might be his fault. Or my parents’ fault, even, for the whole thing started because they had the audacity to sell their house. The one we had was fine. I had my own space there, away from my brothers—a nice reading spot, a shelf full of books, and plenty of room for my favorite pastime: minding my own business.
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.
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.
Intellectually we know God is beyond gender; however, using only masculine pronouns sends image-shaping messages to our hearts and minds that are incorrect. By neglecting the feminine imagery for God, we have distorted our understanding of God.
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.