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it is a man thing

God is a Father. That is not too popular a statement in these days of inclusivity and tolerance. Some people like to refer to the ultimate deity as she or perhaps the politcally correct "he/she." Personally, I refer to someone in the way they refer to themselves. It is somewhat arrogant to do anything else, I think. Yes, God's character includes both femininity and masculinity, but he consistently refers to himself as a Father, the masculine family figure, so there must be a reason for this because God makes no choices lightly or randomly.

A few days ago as I was washing the bathroom floor, the following thoughts hit me out of nowhere.

God portrays himself as a male authority figure because this relates to us in a particular way, especially in areas of identity and worth. Girls get their sense of value from their father and further on in life, they look to men to validate and protect them (I am referring to a healthy validation here). Men look to their fathers to instill life skills and encouragement and strength. Their best male friends are the ones who accept them as they are, provide companionship without condition, and give good advice and support in times of crisis. I am not negating the roles of mothers or females at all, in fact I hope that all women find their true places of authority and realms of influence instead of trying to usurp or replace those of men.

In every case, I believe that God as a strong male figure is meant to encourage the best in us, provide strength where we have weakness, and be our provider. Let God be who He says He is.

This is a photo of Dean's new bug zapper which graces our back yard; it provides outdoor comfort for us and discomfort for mosquitoes.


Terry said…

This is one of your best posts. I particularly liked your comment that you refer to people the way they refer to themselves: a foundation of civility and respect.

Also, that's a beautiful bug zapper.

jaclyn said…
great post Matte.
I agree completely :)
shane magee said…
not sure about this one matte. remember numbers 23:19. now i know the point there is about god's immutibility in comparison to people's fickleness but the point of god's gender is surely a secondary one too. also it is important to note that "father" is ONE of the ways god has chosen to reveal himself. he is also revealed as "son" (again masculine) and holy spirit (neither male nor female but personal - in fact in contradistinction to luke's view of the spirit as dynamic power (very masculine) in luke/acts, john's description of the spirit is VERY female (comforting, guiding, nurturing, teaching). the shekinah glory in the ot is traditionally seen as being feminine, as is the wisdom of god (see proverbs). god gives birth in job and is a mother in isaiah. even in creation male AND female are made in the image of god.

the only reason this is a big deal is not not not to make god into a womyn but rather to challenge the subordination and abuse of womyn by male hands, often witht he full support of the church behind it.


i don't know. but there's something important here that needs challenged.

tell me what you think.
Matte Downey said…
I don't disagree with you Mr. magee, so I guess that means I agree. Your points are all valid and throw more light on the subject, so thanks for that. however, I will say that I do not believe we should formulate emphases in doctrines in reaction to abuses we see. Truth is greater than that and deserves a bigger platform. Jesus said he was the truth and he came as a man and I have no problem with that and don't need to find a text to balance out his masculinity. I embrace it. I also realise he came at a certain point in history and his interactions with men and women were ground-breaking for his time.

I am not a feminist, I will admit, I am a male AND female supporter. I get annoyed when people start to divide the human race down the lines of sex when God so clearly embodies both in himself. I totally agree with your observations that women are held to different standards in this society than men, especially regarding age and value through beauty, but honestly, I don't feel like a victim, and the biggest way to fight the lie is to live the truth. I know I am an attractive, interesting and sometimes even wise and powerful woman and that any female character on screen pales in comparison to the real thing.

Perhaps this is just a battle you are meant to fight (and not me) and I cheer you on in it. In the meantime, I will continue to speak of the image of God as Father for it has much meaning for me.
shane magee said…
i too speak of and to the father. i love the metaphor and find it personally resonant and powerful.


you say that you "do not believe we should formulate emphases in doctrines in reaction to abuses we see. Truth is greater than that and deserves a bigger platform." in contradistinction to that i believe pretty much the only way doctrine has ever been formulated over the history of the church is to negate a wrong emphasis elsewhere - we would never have had the reformation for example unless luther had so clearly seen sola fida, sola gracia, sola scriptura in romans (an emphasis paul definitely did not place there).

hermeneutics - or the interpretation of scripture - should always always be used to correct wrong emphases in the culture around us - especially church culture.

i accept that not everyone is called to fight the same battle - thank god - and i really appreciate your engaging with difficult issues matte and even putting up with my nonsense, ranting and particular brand of heresy! i'm glad you do not feel victimised living in a system (world and church) which is trying its damnedest to victimise you.

fly your flag boldly. blaze a trail for the young women around you. show them something of what it means that in christ there is no longer male nor female. in blazing that trail you will be an uncomfortable challenge to us men as well and i commend you in it.
Matte Downey said…
I hear you, Shane. I think we are scribbling in the same book, just perhaps not on the same page. Yes, hermeneutics can be used to correct wrong thinking in our skewed culture and I am happy we can do so, but I believe that is just one of its purposes and in my humble opinion, a secondary one. The first is to reveal the character of God and bring wholeness to our fractured souls.

Of course, we all speak out of the emphases and passions and particular gifts and callings we have, so you will probably hear the prophet in my writings (it is all about God revealing himself to man and drawing him close, you fool!) while I read the teacher in yours (scripture is given for correction and edification - read up on your church history and look at the original languages *patient sigh*).

thanks most of all for the razor-sharp encouraging words and directives. I respond with a YES, I will! Let the godly ranting continue for it challenges me to be more truthful and real.

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