Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…
It’s a valid question that says a lot about who we think God is. What does it mean about God that people are created in the divine image? Does God have a corporeal (physical) body or is God only some form of spirit. When God walked in the garden, did he (as that scene portrays God) take real steps or is the text metaphor?
If God does have a body, is it a body like ours? Does God have a belly button, or is that a scar of humanity? Does God have reproductive organs? If so, which ones? A penis? A vagina? Both? Neither?
Western Christians often talk about God as a sex-less, genderless spirit being. We claim the male references to God in the Bible are figurative anthropomorphism and ignore the female references. We neuter God and take away her body. It is the easiest solution, but not holistic. Scripture, tradition, reason, and psychology all point to a God outside the typical western (lack of) imagination.
Over time, we will look into each of these arguments and work together to develop a whole picture of God. But first, we should think about why this is important.
Our world – and our church – is currently fighting over issues of gender, gender-roles, and sexuality. The old “one-man-one-woman, man rules over the woman” paradigm is finished in our world. We fight (with both words and stones) in the city streets, but the writing is on the wall. The world has shifted. Sexuality outside of male/female monogamy is accepted by western society. Children born other than “boy” or “girl” are left alone not just to choose one gender or the other, but to accept the alternative gender of their birth. Male and female has become a spectrum instead of a polarity.
Our understanding of God will affect our understanding of and posture toward these cultural shifts. It will help us understand why we agree with some changes and stand against others and will give us the tools needed to effectively communicate our positions with others. This is the difference between chucking a rock at the nearest target and skillfully standing against injustice.
I am not an expert in this field. I am a learner. As a learner, I am asking questions and trying ideas on. As we work through these questions, do not be surprised if I change my mind or heart through the process. Please ask tough questions and respectfully engage with the material. Welcome to my journey.