Saturday, October 23, 2010

#101 Gender Neutrality

Many within white Christendom have discovered that there are way too many male figures in their Bibles. In an effort to correct this rare Biblical "error" from this infallible Book, inclusion, diversity, and political correctness are valued over hermeneutical accuracy. Just about any general reference to gender is neutered. While this movement is well intentioned, it definitely ruins the recitation of previously memorized Bible verses.

Take John 15:5 for instance. If you've ever memorized this verse previously, try to navigate through this verbal mine-field: "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man person remain in me and I in him him/her, he he/she will bear much fruit."


This rote-memory-vs.-newer-version-conundrum mirrors the familiar public Lord's Prayer indecision. When attending a non-native church and the Lord's Prayer is liturgically spoken, the white Christian is always forced to wonder, is it "Forgive us our..."

  1. "Debts as we forgive our debtors?"
  2. "Trespasses as those who trespass against us?"
  3. "Sins as we forgive those who sin against us?"

No matter what the white Christian TRIES to say with their co-congregants, rote memorization from years of doing it "the right way" will take over, and the wrong phrase will be invariably uttered- much to the embarrassment of all within earshot.

More than just making Biblical laymenpeople into gender neutral eunuchs, these white Christians have the castrated cajones to turn God into a woman. Using that one reference in Isaiah, this father/mother God is little more than a back-door approach toward women serving in church office- "Hey... if God is father/MOTHER, then maybe it's not such a bad thing for Barb to serve as an Elder."


On the other end of the white Christian spectrum, you have the literalists who not only use the Father symbolism, they literally picture God the Father as a dude: Beard. Flowing robe. Sandals. He's viewed as a really old man floating on a cloud and taking care of things on earth below. These people might even blasphemously refer to their Creator as "The Big Man Upstairs."

8 comments:

j.elaine said...

but....this isn't funny.

j.elaine said...

this blog seemed good for awhile but the cynicism is just so...empty. what does make me really grateful is that I'm reminded that (well you guys at least) live in countries where you can say stuff like this with relatively little fear of being persecuted (in any kind of really scary way at least). Imagine if you said things like this about Islam in the Middle East. Praise God for all the freedom from guilt or fear or shame that he has given you.

Anonymous said...

j.elaine,

while in some areas of the world, there would be persecution for faith, there's the opposite problem in "free" societies. In the western/modern/"white Christian" culture, there's general apathy and people who do things out of habit or because "everyone else is doing it."

The point of satire is to (hopefully humorously) hold a mirror up to people and cause them to consider their words and actions and the rationale behind them.

Perhaps with a look at themselves, people will recognize their behavior, and at the very least laugh... and at the most, change their behavior. Either way, I don't see the problem here.

j.elaine said...

There is no problem! I agree. And I actually think that to a certain extent its Biblical because we are instructed to use our words to build each other up. The Bible also says that "the wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy". I think that "Stuff White Christians Like" could definitely be seen in a way as "wounds from a friend".

I was just reflecting that too much of it could also be poisonous.

Kimberly said...

I find this post particularly offensive, moreso than your other posts. I understand the point of satire and all, but I don't think the issue of 'gender neutrality' is something that should be trivialized as you have done. Statements like "In an effort to correct this rare Biblical "error" from this infallible Book, inclusion, diversity, and political correctness are valued over hermeneutical accuracy." Seem not only to be a mischaracterization of the movement, but also just ignorant androcentric statements.

While all in good humor, I'm sure, I urge you to read feminist theorists and theologians to understand their critiques of patriarchal structure, specifically religion.


Also, this doesn't even represent white Christians. I go to a Baptist school in Ohio and they'd barf a turd if I used gender-neutral language in class.

Anonymous said...

I didn't find this one funny, and I laughed pretty hard at some of the other posts. Perhaps White Christians really like only 100 things.

jonney said...

neh, only reason nobody finds this funny is no one wants to admit the feminism is Biblically baseless...

Anonymous said...

@jonney - How about Jesus repeatedly challenging the prevailing social order? Speaking to women alone? Having women as followers? Women being ministers in the early church?

I also did not find this post funny, though I've enjoyed the others I've read so far. The point of feminist theology is not to "turn God into a woman" - the point is that God is not a man. Or a woman. God is spirit, and we're all created in the image of God - male AND female. For thousands of years God has been portrayed as a white man. This image is inaccurate and has been used to oppress anyone who is not white and/or not male.