1/08/2009

The Feminine Side Of God

Posted by Kevin |

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Ever since The Shack hit the shelves, it has been all the rave in the Christian fiction arena - some hailing it as one of the best contemporary Christian pieces. So naturally I'm excited to read it and finally picked a copy up last month. In the meantime I'm still wrestling through another book that is a weighty, exciting and slow read called The Forgotten Ways, review to come - but I haven't had a chance to get into The Shack yet.

But in fielding my excitement for the book, a few interesting discussions transpired around the feminine image of God used in the book. Two women who I love and respect very much, put the book down after getting about 70 pages in because God was a girl. I was taken back by there refusal to continue reading the book everyone else is talking about. It's not like you have to agree with it to read it - right? Moreover, I was taken back by their refusal to even consider that God is a girl - or at least to consider that He is neither.

I admit I have a total man-crush on Rob Bell, but his recent Nooma video 'She' (preview clip below) sets the table for the discussion and a fuller understanding of who God is.



Does this mess with your theology or understanding of God? It doesn't with mine.

The Hebrew word Rob refers to is 'rechem' and literally all throughout the Old Testament, every time God is referred to as compassionate or having compassion, it is the same word for womb - feminine imagery for God. And in Job 38.29 God uses the analogy that creation was birthed from His womb, I mean Her womb. I understand that for ease, we label God as a man, or a He - but at best that only refers to half of who He is, because the other half is understood in the attributes of a women, who She created in Her own image.

But to be more accurate God is niether male or female, because that is what makes god, God. If only we had gender-nuetral pronouns for God, then the male dominated traditions of our history would not have limited our understanding of God and God's compassionate side.

Thoughts?

8 comments:

sharkiepatronus said...

I really liked The Shack. I honestly wasn't taken aback by the fact that God is portrayed by a female because there is a reason. And that is one thing I appreciated. There is always a reason God does something. Always.

Chris said...

Does that make God "reasonable?"

But I'm with you Kevin...the Shack didn't shake me with the she-factor (I haven't seen that Nooma yet from Rob...but I've heard the concept thru his teaching for several years now).

Interesting that females seem to be the most resistant to this idea of a girly God. (at least, conservative evangelical female types...like my wife...she didn't care for it either).

Kevin Davis said...

Stacey - I can't wait to finally read it.

Chris - I think you're right - I feel awkward saying things like, 'Her will for my life,' but that is just because I'm not used to saying it that way. Again wishing we had gender neutral pronouns.

Heather Nicole said...

I have always thought of God as he...but only because thats how society has labled God. I am def. open to the idea that God is NEITHER!

Alexis said...

I read this recently and had an experience that left me with a desperate need to meet with God. I can tell you that the idea of God as a woman is odd, but beyond perfect in this setting.

I don't want to give anything away but the whole point of the encounter was to shake up the standard view of God. To show that He is so beyond the image of Gandalf. So He manifests exactly the opposite. And, frankly, that's the God I *want* to be in relationship with.

And women are so untrusting and unkind to each other I can totally see why it's "my people" who balk at the idea.

But yeah, it was amazing.

Kelli said...

I have to say that the Shack helped in re shaping my understanding and ability to God in confidence. That may sound strange but as a female who has experienced great hurt from dominant men, I was able to see a better picture of Gods compassion and genuine love for me.

Isn't God just amazing?

Kevin Davis said...

Heather - word.

Alexis - 'your peeps' are pretty weird, not gonna lie.

Kelli - totally!

allie said...

Hi Kevin
Ja, about the Shack's portrayal of God as a black woman: it does come as an initial shock (it is just SO unexpected) but when God's reason for manifesting Himself that way is made clear, it is such an "ohhhhh!" moment.

The very fact that some people react as strongly as they do, shows how much we need that shake-up.

I think you will love the book.

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