[percy-l] God's Gender and Ham Sandwiches

Denise Askin DAskin at Anselm.Edu
Thu Aug 14 15:52:11 EDT 2003

Denise T. Askin

[Denise Askin]  -----Original Message-----
From: Mike Frentz [mailto:mfrentz at bbn.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2003 5:47 PM
To: Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion
Subject: Re: [percy-l] God's Gender and Ham Sandwiches

Hi Karey,

A few minor observations on what you wrote:

As humans we anthropomorphize God.  It's the only way we can get our minds
around God.  Both versions (male and female views) are inadequate
reflections of God, who transcends anything we can conceptualize or imagine.
In Jewish tradition, to say that God is only male and not female is
blasphemy because it is limiting God.

Amen.  I know of people who are aetheists, sadly, because they can't deal
with the symbolism of a male God, but I also agree entirely with Steve's
characterization that with respect to God, we are all female.  It doesn't
bother me at all to be spiritually female, that is the role of Church (and
no, Jim, I'm not a homophobe that I know of.. )

Jesus was male because in the culture he lived in, he could do nothing as
female.  Whatever other reasons theologians might have hypothesized or
discovered for Jesus being a male, the fact remains that he HAD to be a male
to do anything in his time and culture.  Remember, theology, religion, etc.,
has been taught and propagated by men only (and even recently, still
primarily) in a patriarchal culture for centuries.  

Check out who are the majority of daily communicants (especially in Europe,
so I'm told).  It is the mother who has traditionally taught and propagated
religion in the family.  Maybe you're implicitly "dissing" the lack of a
paying position, as is common in "feminist" thinking, but the role of mother
is by far the most important job in stabilizing/maintaining any culture.  I
believe (literally) that men would still be hitting each other with rocks
(rather than blowing each other up with missiles..) if it weren't for the
*critical* socializing effect of females on a culture.  A exclusively male
culture would not survive a single generation by my take (lack of
reproductive capability being totally irrelevant..).

And I firmly believe not only should we not judge, but we accomplish nothing
(only harm) by judging.  People are where they are, and the only thing that
changes them is life.  Often we may think we are judging by a higher
authority - the church's or God's laws - but the church is fallible human
institution (whatever Percy's opinion on the matter was), and who has
infallible insight into the mind of God? 

The "judging" arguments being presented in this whole series of emails, I
believe are more semantically overloaded than any word could possibly bear.
Truth is, by virtue of our being intelligent creatures, we make judgments
continually about *everything*.  No one could function without making
implicit decisions in terms of what is good, what is bad, what is food, what
is poison, etc.  There is nothing wrong with this type of judgment -- it
would be wrong *not* to do this natural thing; the actions taken as a result
of it are something else.  That is where love comes into play, and here you
are totally right.

Your second statement shocks me (because I recall that you are Catholic).
The Church may be run by fallible human beings, but if it were truly a human
institution, we all would be truly Lost in the Cosmos (to the point where
*no one* would be able to write about it).  Being raised in American
Protestant culture does make one think by default that all is relative, and
that the Church was apostate through all of those centuries before 1500, but
once you discover that there is an unbroken line of writings dating back to
Christ which are unerringly consistent in their basic teachings (e.g. the
Early Fathers writings, pardon my genderality) -- catholic in time as well
as space, it's kind of hard to seriously argue that it is "only human".  It
has an amazing record for consistency.  The Church may be fallible in its
execution, but *not* in its fundamental beliefs.  It is guided by the Holy
Spirit.  Christianity is not a "religion of the Book" (sola Scriptura sadly
misbegotten), it is a religion of the Spirit.  The answer to your question
is "the Church" -- Christ never left us to fend for ourselves.


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