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Monday, March 14, 2005

Worst of both worlds.

Fr. Bryce Sibley recounts his recent attendance at a "masculine spirituality" workshop conducted by Fr. Richard Rohr. Fr. Rohr seems to recognize a crisis caused by bad male role models generally, and bad fathers particularly, but he hits upon the most wrongheaded solution yet:

Fr. Rohr says that he does not want to be limited by having to call God “Father.” He writes in his book Adam’s Return (which was the basis for his presentations), that he “will not disallow all those wonderfully sexually charged words for God” (Adam’s Return xiv); a list which includes such words as “Mother,” “Daughter,” and “Bride” (AR xiv). He says that we must “find public ways to recognize, honor, and name the feminine nature of God, since we have overly limited our metaphors for God for centuries” (AR xiv). He bases this claim on his belief that, “God is the ultimate combination of whatever it means to be male and whatever it means to be female” (AR xiii).

God as divine hermaphrodite. Yeah, that'll have the lads storming back in droves.

Merciful God.

Let's leave aside the total lack of authoritative warrant for Fr. Rohr's "reimagining," and simply answer from the gut. Whenever I read these "God our Father/Mother" things, I lock up. I can't fathom it. God ceases to be someone I can relate to, and instead becomes a depersonalized, incomprehensible It. Why? Because I don't know any fathermothers. You probably don't either. Randall's rhymed description of his p**no viewing material in Clerks leaps immediately to mind.
I don't know any Its, much less do I have a relationship with one. Better simply to add "-dess", call her "Mother," and have done with it. I can comprehend that. It's not warranted by so much as a scrap of Scripture, but at least there's a quantifiable objective reality that I can understand. In fact, it would be another religion entirely, but it would be honest.

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