What are God’s gender pronouns?


Methodist Central Hall


We’ve just read the Nicene creed. God no longer came to earth as “man” but as “truly human”. I like the change.

I am uncomfortable with the portrayal of God as the patriarch and would prefer to pray once in a while to “out mother”.

This is not me being arsey-woke, it’s me being a 61 year old man who is trying to readjust to a world that should include ideas of God relevant to our ideas of women.

And however awkward “our mother” is in the Lord’s prayer, it makes me think positively about gender in a way that all this “he” stuff doesn’t.

The language of the church  challenges me and puts me off.  I am aware – it carries the tradition of millenia, but in an age where every other conception has been challenged, why not the conception of our divine parentage.

I decided to look into this and to my great surprise, the Methodist Church has been here before,. This article is from the BBC Website in 1999 suggests that Methodism has been looking at inclusivity a lot longer than I have.

The Methodist Church is publishing a new service book, which challenges the traditional Christian understanding of God as masculine.

The BBC’s Alex Kirby reviews the new Methodist worship book

The changes to the current worship book, which has been in use since 1975, reflect Methodism’s search for inclusive language and its efforts to learn from the experience of other churches.

In one of the new services, God is addressed as “our Father and our Mother”.

The book took eight years to produce, and 15 senior Methodists were involved in its compilation, meeting 30 times before reaching final agreement.

They point out that medieval Christian writers, like Julian of Norwich, used to refer to God as Mother, and that there are Old Testament precedents as well.

But they reaffirm the orthodox Christian doctrine that God is, in essence, neither feminine nor masculine.

The Reverend Norman Wallwork explains why a new service book was wanted

One member of the working party, the Revd. Norman Wallwork, a Methodist minister from Somerset, says the impetus for the new book came from the search for inclusive language.

But he says there was opposition from many Methodists to the idea of addressing God as Mother. It was a vote in the Methodist church’s annual conference that settled the matter.

Would I want a divine family? Yes I would, because I feel uncomfortable that Mary the mother of God is not divine, or even married to God.

Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius was bowdlerised to snip out references to Mary’s semi-divinity and many protestants would prefer not to consider the holy spirit as planting God’s seed. But Jesus did come from her tummy.

If I can stretch to the idea of an immaculate conception, I can stretch to the idea of a divine mother.

If God had a lnked in profile – shouldn’t the given pronouns be he/she?

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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