Monday Mull: John 14 and Hosea 11

Harmonia Rosales, The Creation of God

Doing this Names of God thing is a little different this summer, though, I shouldn’t be surprised; nothing is going as planned this year, and it is most certainly a gift, no matter what anyone tells us. This is the moment of awakening, it seems, for far too many people far too comfortable with hegemony and the default.

I am one of them, actively trying to stay awake and keep momentum. I have let my sibs and folx down. I reaffirm my call to do justice, to preach bravely, to love mightily.

This Sunday is Father’s Day, and since we’re doing “ways to refer to God,” it makes sense, I think, to talk about patristic language for the Divine. I’m using John 14–already a problematic text because of bad interpretation of Jesus as Way/Truth/Life–and of course, there’s this idea of Jesus running interference to keep people away from God who he calls Father.

Hosea 11 presents God in maternal, traditionally feminine strength and concern. Are these the same God? Of course.

I have no problem with father-language for God, if it is done in conjunction, in intentional balance, with mother-language. A friend once told me that removing paternal language and replacing it with gender-neutral language still excluded women, just from a different approach, and I seek to balance that. I think of the community herchurch in San Francisco, that only uses feminine language for the divine, but will be more accommodating for male language when all the churches using male language first accommodate. (And I love that.) But maybe my beloved community isn’t there yet.

Something to work towards, surely.

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