Where are the Explicity Female Images of God?

In response to the rampant sexism and imagined female oppression of men displayed in the Super Bowl commercials, I am looking for music to use in worship that celebrates more feminine imagery for God. I am sorry, though not really surprised, to report that there is a derth of music to challenge the maleness of God. In fact, the very small number of hymns in our hymnal that use feminine pronouns for God makes those hymns merely token hymns, and therefore not meant to challenge the dominant patriarchal structures.

Though this is the practice I have generally used, just saying “God” for God instead of “him” really doesn’t do anything to challenge those structures either, because the term god is inherently male. But heaven forbid we refer to God as “Goddess.” Oh my gosh, I think the walls of the church would come crumbling down if I did that on a Sunday morning! Not that I really plan to, because unfortunately, the word “Goddess” carries too much baggage for people. But the really sad thing is, so does the pronoun “She”.

I am reminded of what my feminist theology professor said: There can never be reverse sexism in this country until Congress has been made up of entirely women for 200 years. And even then, it may never be possible because patriarchy has been the dominant form of western civilization.

We have such a long way to go.

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3 thoughts on “Where are the Explicity Female Images of God?

  1. Several years ago in a Sunday school class, I decided to try, almost as an experiment, to refer to God as “she” and “her” for several weeks in a casual way, without drawing attention to the fact, whenever I spoke up during discussion. i was shocked to discover that no one else in the class made an issue of it, or even once commented on it. This was a church in a conservative (though I’d never say “fundamentalist”) tradition.

    It reminded me what a powerfully normalizing force language is. I wonder how much might change if people simply developed the discipline of using, in a non-combative context, different words.

    My professional field is communication, so I know this is easier said than done. I just wanted to offer a word of support here to the issues you’re blogging about. Thanks for an interesting post! Looking forward to TaG next month.

  2. Hi,

    I’m a minister of religion, with the Uniting Church (a large mainstream denomination combining, Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational) in Melbourne, Australia. Our local congregation is expressly eco-feminist. We have a number of resources with regards to music and liturgy. We are a congregation who almost never refer to God as ‘He’, and have focussed upon female images.

    We often use a songbook/hymnal titled Alleluia Aotearoa, a New Zealand publication with many non patriarchal songs suitable for church services – contact New Zealand Hymnbook Trust Inc. PO Box 931, Christchurch, New Zealand.

    I hope this is of some use to you,

    Kind regards,

    Robyn

    1. Robyn, thank you so much! I am always on the look out for worship materials! Our most recent find (a few years ago) was the songbook More Voices out of the United Church in Canada and we love using it, but I am excited to get Alleluia Aoteoroa.

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