Thinking Anglicans

opinion

Graham Kings writes for Fulcrum about Jewel’s Gem: Reflections on the 450th Anniversary of Bishop John Jewel’s Apologia.

Miranda Threlfall-Holmes asks What is Christian Feminism?

Nelson Jones in the New Statesman about What the church owes to secular feminism.

Giles Fraser writes in The guardian that Confusion may cause us anxiety, but it is a rational reaction to life’s mysteries.

Savi Hensman has written a paper on the Journey towards acceptance: theologians and same-sex love for Ekklesia.

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Susannah
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Susannah

Enjoyed Miranda’s article. Feminist discourse and method offers great tools and ways of approaching the narratives of religion. One of my favourite books by a Christian feminist was ‘She Who Is’ by Elizabeth Johnson. Don’t know if any here have read it? Along with the things Miranda mentioned, I think feminism is particularly good where it seeks out the voices that are marginalised by privilege. We live in a world (and its Anglican expression) where the platform is so often occupied and crowded out by male voice and the assumption that these voices are the central voices to be listened… Read more »

David Shepherd
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God is sexless. The attribution of male or female characteristics are simply anthropomorphisms.

The reader should elicit the vital quality of these literary metaphors while recognising that ANY such attributions (male, female, mother, father, lion, tree, rock) are launching points of understanding. They will never fully convey the completeness of the God who reveals Himself fully in Christ and transcends all without contradicting the message of His prophets.

Susannah
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David, I agree that God transcends gender, and I agree that most of God is way beyond our understanding. As a Carmelite in my personal spirituality, the via negativa is really important to me. Unknowing is mostly more helpful than thinking we know. Having said that, I’m not sure I’d say God was sexless, because I believe God probably feels and knows and understands male physical and psychological gender and sex; and feels and knows and understands female physical and psychological sex… from inside who God actually is. We are conceived and created, male and female, from aspects of God’s… Read more »

Susannah
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(…continuing) While you assert that God is sexless, there is a whole liturgy and scripture and church adoption of God being referred to as “He”. And this is then codified by the argument that Paul sees a natural order that reads God >> man >> woman. With a natural order that subordinates woman to the gender thats more closely aligned to God. It’s basically patriarchal. But to me, Godde is as often a laughing girl who playfully shines on me in the Maytime, or like a female neighbour, who comes in through my open back door, and sits at the… Read more »

David Shepherd
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Susannah: While it is true that God made mankind in his own image, there are female anthropomorphisms too: ‘”Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!’ (Is. 49:15) Although a human comparison is used, the characteristic actually conveyed is faithfulness, which actually asexual. These metaphors should be mined for the underlying traits that they convey. Nevertheless, there is a danger in making God in man’s image: a self-styled re-invention of what we like best in humanity, while dismissing any aspect… Read more »

Susannah
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It’s an interesting conversation, David, and thank you for your considered and thoughtful reply. It could of course be that the mother text is relevant because God is *more* like a mother than earthly mothers, not less like a mother, and that ‘face to face’ would be us finally seeing the whole of what true motherhood is in the person of Godde, in whose image all earthly mothers are made. After all, through the long millions of years of the universe’s formation, God has been pregnant with the knowledge of the children She bears, children who would one day spring… Read more »