GOOD

Female Bishops Fight For The Right to Call God “She” in Church

Old God, new pronouns, a more inclusive concept of the divine.

God the mother. Image via Flickr User 'Waiting for the Word'

Just a couple of months ago, The Church of England finally consecrated their first female bishop. While women have been priests in England since 1994, opponents were hesitant to make any big changes. Now, Women and the Church, the activist group that organized for female bishops, have another radical demand: they want God to be identified as a woman.


Reverend Jody Stowell, a member of the group, argued that while, “God does not have a gender … when we only speak of God in the male form, that’s actually giving us a deficient understanding of who God is.” Her goal, and the hope of the women in the group, is to expand people’s vision of God beyond that of a patriarchal father. God might have been historically called a “he,” but the bishops argue that even the most Orthodox theologians believe in a genderless God. It’s not just about correcting pronouns—it’s about reimagining history. As Reverend Emma Percy told The Guardian, using both male and female pronouns will help undermine “the notion that God is some kind of old man in the sky.”

Still, some of the women concede that in some churches, “quietly,” and, “every now and then,” reverends might refer to God as a woman. Modern gender politics are steadily transforming one of England’s oldest institutions, however slow the change.

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