Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Episcopal Pagans?

Professor McAdams blogs on what I take it is a proposed alternate Eucharist under consideration in the Episcopal Church that would consistently refer to "God" as "Mother."

I am an Episcopalian and, as with many things in my denomination, I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, there is nothing inherently wrong with female images of God. Despite the common reference to God as "Father", it is fairly standard Christian theology that God is neither male nor female.

But, as with the struggle in our church over the stance to be taken toward gays and lesbians, I fear what underlies all this. There is a strong tendency toward a certain type of gnosticism and deracinating relativism in mainline Protestant churches (and, oddly enough, in suburban megachurches as well). Rather than de-emphasize the association of God with a human gender, this revels in that association (in many of the places in which the proposed liturgy substitutes a reference to Mother or Lady, the standard liturgy simply refers to God)and it does so to a certain end; one that privileges gender politics over tradition and revelation (hence the jarring reference to "Mother Jesus").

That's where the relativism and gnosticism comes in. The tendency - and its not really all that new - is to say that traditional methods of interpretation and biblical revelation can be readily cast off in search of an underlying "meaning" that is found in the heart and is relatively unconstrained by anything outside the heart. This leads, ultimately, to the worship of something other than God, somehting like "Social Justice" that, in the end, turns out to be ourselves and our own presuppositions.


Anonymous said...

If God is neither male nor female, how can "he" have created man in his own image?

(I know I'm a gadfly when it comes to religion, but I just can't help myself. I guess you could say the devil makes me do it. ;)

Rick Esenberg said...

I suspect that image refers to more universal aspects of humankind. This avoids the problem of imagining God as, to use an example, looking like Michael Moore. Or Angelina Jolie. I mean, those are two very different problems, but they are problems.

Anonymous said...

Hi -

It was a study document. I'm just about certain that the document which was posted will not be approved for official use - or used for officially for trial use.