Author Topic: Episcopals May Make God ‘Gender-Neutral’ in Book of Prayer  (Read 171 times)

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Episcopals May Make God ‘Gender-Neutral’ in Book of Prayer
« on: December 18, 2018, 09:03:42 PM »
‘As long as ‘men’ and ‘God’ are in the same category, our work toward equity will not just be incomplete…’

 The Episcopal Church is considering removing the male pronouns for God in its prayer books, and instead clarifying that God is genderless.

“As long as ‘men’ and ‘God’ are in the same category, our work toward equity will not just be incomplete. I honestly think it won’t matter in some ways,” said the Rev. Wil Gafney, a female professor of the Hebrew Bible at Brite Divinity School in Texas who is on the committee recommending a change to the gendered language in the prayer book.

Gafney said changing the prayer books is important because it will show that Episcopal theology teaches that God is “bigger than gender,” despite biblical references to God as a “Father,” “King,” and “Lord.”

Gafney said she often calls God a “She” in her classroom, and avoids referring to God as a “Father” entirely.

“‘Our Father,’ I won’t fiddle with that,” she told the Washington Post, referring to the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer.

Bishop Jeffrey Lee said only referring to God as a male shows an “incomplete picture of God,” and that women’s demands for gender-neutral language are important.
“In the culture, the whole #MeToo movement, I think, has really raised in sharp relief how much we do need to examine our assumptions about language and particularly the way we imagine God,” he said.

Gafney said refusing to change the prayer books to gender neutral language would be “harmful” to women.

“As long as a masculine God remains at the top of the pyramid, nothing else we do matters,” she said. “We construct a theological framework in which we talk about gender equality … then we say that which is most holy in the universe is only and exclusively male.”

My religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me....That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave."
— Stonewall Jackson