In my Lutheran childhood, I always thought of God as a man, with a grandfather-like appearance. White hair. Beard. (But a robe instead of the blue seersucker suit my grandpa wore.)
Then, as the woman’s movement took hold, we began to hear God referred to, sometimes, as a SHE.
About that time, my PMS and cramps set in.
Would a woman/God do this to another woman?
Not a prayer!
There is no way, I figured, that God could have even an ounce of womanliness. If God were a she, SHE would have designed us a different way. I like the baby part. I liked being pregnant and of course, am nuts over my grownup babies. But really, couldn’t God have skipped all the cycle stuff?
I’ve been a Presbyterian for thirty-five years now. I asked our minister, Dr. Brizendine, a few months ago, if God was a she or even part she. This is what he wrote:
Male and female are genders of the created order. God is … “other” than the created order. Thus, it would not be appropriate to attribute any gender to God… As we attempt to describe our relationship with God, we may use figures of speech, saying that God is like a mother or a father, but this does not mean that God has a gender.
So God is an OTHER.
I like the concept of “other.”
God is not a man who stuck all this to women.
God is not a woman who ditzed on her own sex.
Good, that works to some extent.
I was contemplating this post in church on Sunday, when we sang the old hymn, “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy.”
A line goes: “For the love of God is broader, than the measures of the mind.”
I think that means my limited mind just can’t wrap itself around the whys of God’s plan for making babies.
But I will say, now that I am finished with periods, and now that I have a grandchild on the way, (who got his start in the uterine lining), the plan is seeming better to me. Babies and grandbabies are worth a lot of periods, all in all.
We women sure do love babies.
Maybe you have just a little bit of girl in you after all?
Photo Above: Hillsborough Presbyterian Church, in the center of my little town, was founded in 1816.
Photo Below: My daughter Katherine, mother of my soon to be born grandson, was married to Matthew Monson at the church in June of 2007. Dr. Brizendine officiated.
Photos were taken by Acorn Photography.
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8 thoughts on “Is God a Girl?”
Another brilliant response by our minister. Mostly I feel lucky to be a girl despite all the monthly cramps. Just to have my children made it worth it. Of course easy to say now that cramps are gone. Have moved on to menopausal issues!! Always something!
Yep, always something and yep, the Reverend is a good sport to put up with the lady talk!
“Babies and grandbabies are worth a lot of periods, all in all.” I like that. Yup.
I went through the whole ‘God = old man vs God = woman’ thingy, too. Funny, when I moved into the God = woman belief, I never pictured Her as an old woman. But as a kid, I always pictured Him as the white bearded old man. Maybe because we never were treated to pictures of God as a woman in our little catechism books; we always had the old man God image presented to us. (We also had the ‘sun streaking through fluffy clouds’ image with the caption “God Is Love” on our catechism books. So, to this day when I see the sun break through the clouds and make those streaks of sunshine, I always think “There’s God.”)
Anyway, back to Her. When I pictured Her, I never pictured an old woman. You think I would have just chosen as a visual a Her taken from Him. For some reason my image of a female God was young, not 20s young, but like 30s young. And sort of like modern. I wonder why?
Thanks again, Barbara, for the fun post. And what a lovely picture of your daughter’s wedding. Yeah, a day like that makes one happy to have those periods.
Gosh Patti, you’re right! I never thought of Woman God as old at all. I think that’s a good sign for our image of active brilliant women, but maybe not such a good sign for our concept of older women? Hmm. Keep pondering and tell us more….
I think you may have pictured God as a man because that is how He is shown in the Bible! The image of Father & Son are pretty prevalent in both Old Testament and New. And, I also think that it’s clear that God has a high respect for women; monthly periods are a pain and so is childbirth, but what a joy and honor to be the ones who bear children! AH, I could wax eloquent on this topic, I suppose.
I think God admires and respects women too. Childbearing always seemed an honor to me. I’ve asked Cliff probably way more times than he likes, “Do you wish you were the one who had the babies?” His answer is always a swift, “No!”
Before my family started attending church (age 10 for me) I always got God and Santa confused. I always heard that God is everywhere and Santa is always watching ( so you better watch out). You can imagine I was once mixed up kid. Either way though, I saw God as an older man with a white beard! In my Bible reading this morning, the verse said “your Father in heaven…” and I find that is how I think of God nowadays, as a father who let’s us go through unpleasant things (cramps, periods, childbirth, and so much more) so that we can grow, learn, relate, etc.
Maybe I, too, confused God with Santa! I always did think of Santa as living in the sky (as opposed to the earthly North Pole.) And I agree we learn from unpleasant things, and perhaps, in part, that is their purpose.