What Happens When God Can be Mother Too?

Category Archives:Mother God Experiment

Introducing Your Church to God as Mother

Church isn’t easy. There’s a lot to disagree about within Christianity, and within American (or Canadian, or your own country’s) politics. But still, some of you–pastors, leaders, lay leaders, and church members–will find that’s it’s worth it to take some risks to bring feminine language for God into church services.

You are the ones who know that to be completely supportive of women, we need to acknowledge the image of women within the Godhead. This starts with the words we use to describe God. To fully affirm that God made women in Her image, we must begin to change from worshiping an exclusively masculine god to an Invisible God who welcomes both male and female metaphors and pronouns to describe God.

If you are ready to begin the task of introducing your church to feminine language for God, here’s where to start:

One) Begin using it in your own prayer life.

This didn’t happen for me until I made up my mind to do my one-person experiment. I only used devotional books and Bibles that used feminine language for God until it started to get more comfortable to call God “Mother.”

I continue to use these helpful resources during my time with God:

Swallow’s Nest: a Feminine Reading of the Psalms by Marchienne Vroon Rienstra

The Divine Feminine Version of the New Testament by The Christian Godde Project 

The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation by Priests for Equality

Two) Do a teaching or sermon series on the Biblical basis for feminine language for God.

There are many obvious references to God as mother in the Old Testament and some in the New. I used to stumble over the argument that God is a father but only like a mother. Recently I re-read the mother verses and discovered that most of the time the Old Testament writers use mother as a metaphor. In fact, often God is speaking in the first person as a mother (See my post here). Jesus himself uses mothering as an implied metaphor when he says, “Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:6).

It’s amazing what you and your congregation will discover as you unpack these verses that affirm the feminine within God.

Three) Discuss and introduce hymns that have inclusive language and feminine language for God.

It is often the lyrics to our hymns and worship songs that create sexist barriers and block full participation by egalitarians. Getting past the first few songs in a service can be a challenge with so many references to God as male, or to the “brotherhood of believers” or to being “sons of God.” Yet, great resources exist for bringing healing to women and men through music:

–Jann Aldredge Clanton’s hymn and worship song compilations.

–“5 Tips and Tricks for Being Gender-Inclusive in Worshipby Rev. Wesley Spears Newsome

–This great article for general guidelines for selecting inclusive hymns: https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/making-hymns-inclusive.

Four) Occasionally, use “She” as a pronoun for God, and refer to God as Mother in prayer.

Expect push-back. And keep going. Rev. Paul R. Smith, author of Is It Okay to Call God Mother? Considering the Feminine Face of God, says when he refers to God as “She” members of his congregation tend to laugh or giggle. Eventually, your congregants will understand that it’s not a joke, and will start to get comfortable with the fact that the God who is a non-physical person will sometimes be “He” and sometimes be “She.” Check out Paul Smith’s amazing book as a possible resource as you respond to complaints and questions. A scholarly work to refer to is Dr. Timothy Bulkeley’s book, Not Only a Father: Talk of God as Mother in the Bible and Christian Tradition.

Five) If you are in a liturgical setting, alternate the use of “Father” and “Mother” in liturgies sometimes. 

One of my first breakthroughs in being able to call God Mother was during my husband’s home church services, where we alternated Father and Mother in the liturgy. Saying “Mother” out loud, and even better, “Mother Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth” helped affirm to me that it really is okay to call God Mother.

Someone I knew balked at the term “Mother Almighty,” because in his mind “mother” could never be “almighty.” But that’s exactly the problem that we are trying to solve with changes in the language we use for God in church and society.

With the help of these new words for God, someday the church may see what God sees: the strength of women, who are made in the image of the Almighty God (Gen. 1:27).

Learning to Trust God

God and Happiness: Not an Oxymoron

The best part of learning to call God “Mother” has been that I now believe God wants me to be happy. Somehow I got that wrong a long time ago, believing God the Father always had some personal agenda (His glory, the salvation of every one around me, and when I was a teen, to marry some guy I didn’t like who’d save the world with me) that would overlook my happiness.

Now, God’s will and my own fulfillment are intertwined. She cares about me like a Mother and so is not looking out only for Herself.

I can look back and see how wrong I’ve been to mistrust God throughout decision-making points in my life. She was always speaking through my intuition, to avoid this setting, or go toward that one. But I couldn’t trust that voice.

Healing Through Calling God Mother

I started the Mother God Experiment two years ago. My book of feminine-language psalms lies open on my desk now. Today I read:

“Allelleluia! It is fitting and delightful to sing praise to God.

For El Shaddai builds up Her people, and gathers the outcasts in.

She heals the brokenhearted, gently binding their wounds.

She counts the stars and calls them by name!

How great is God, abundant in powerful love!

Her wisdom is beyond telling.”

–Psalm 147, Swallow’s Nest: A Feminine Reading of the Psalms, Marchienne Vroon Rienstra

I realized today that feminine renderings of verses like these, along with a fuller picture of God as Love and Light through reading about Near-Death Experiences, have healed me. When I think about taking risks that I feel Her directing me to, I feel afraid but willing, like my 11-year-old son who is learning to swim.

Trim Tab and Trust

I like to come up with a word or phrase for each new year. (This was another blogger’s idea, whose name I don’t recall, but the website My One Word has the same idea). My phrase for 2017 is “Trim tab and trust.” To trim tab a boat is to direct a boat with very little actual physical effort. I now see little movements as capable of changing my entire life direction, as big as that seems.

And the trust part is that the little efforts really will change my life. I’m not alone. I have a huge amount of power behind me in Mother God and Jesus, the Life and Light of the Universe. And so do you.

I’m Sailing with the Mother

So, I’m moving forward, with little efforts to follow through on my ideas and intuitions and desires, like starting a Facebook group for my neighborhood to break down walls between people living near each other. And I had a “Love Your Neighbor” Valentine’s Day Party on Sunday for the neighborhood. It wasn’t hugely attended, but all the same, I am trim tabbing, and trusting Mother God that something good will come of it.

Now instead of stalling in harbor, when I see an opportunity, I listen for Her voice, that inner sense of direction. And if all is well, I set sail knowing She is with me.

And, so, what about you? Has calling God Mother been a trim tab leading to bigger changes in your life? I’d love it if you’d take a moment to tell me about what this metaphor means to you and your ability to trust Her.

So Has the Experiment Been Successful?

Recently, I got a chance to see how the Mother God Experiment is working, when I wasn’t able spend time in Swallow’s Nest or the Divine Feminine Version of the New Testament for a week. I found myself reverting to “Lord,” here, “God” there, and lots of “Jesus” with not any Mother Gods coming out of my mouth, during that time.

Does unlearning this masculine-God-thing take this long? I think so. It’s been with us for a life-time. It will take years to change our God image to include the feminine, but it’s worth the effort.

I also realized with surprise that sometimes I like masculine language for God. Why?

  1. Familiarity. It takes a lot of inner push to call God “Mother” because it’s novel and not yet all that socially acceptable. I want to relax.
  2. Men still have more power, at least of the controlling variety, than women. Sometimes the Father metaphor works better because I want to envision a gigantic, intimidating God who will face down bullies and mean teachers. Or imagine a big fatherly lap to crawl into.
  3. I want to return to the Old Testament. As Old School as it is, I love it. I learn from it. I wish there was a Divine Feminine Version of the OT but until then I need to dig back in and change pronouns/titles as needed.

So, is the Mother God experiment  a failure? Hardly.

I have learned more about God than I had even hoped, increased my ability to trust God, and learned about my own god-likeness as a mother.

But I can still talk to the Father, can still go to the Lord, can ask for filling with the Spirit, can still be good with doing a lot of Jesus-ing. Every name we have for God is an attempt at accuracy, and not a perfect description, and many of the old masculine metaphors we will never completely shake. The name Mother is a try at describing the feminine aspects of an ineffable God-in-three-persons, who goes by many other names.

Later: Back to the Old Testament

I decided to stop the experiment in its pure form, and return to the masculine-God-language Old Testament. I am loving returning to it. A brief trek through Job landed me on the discovery that wisdom is a theme there, which I’d never seen before. It makes sense: it’s Wisdom Literature.

I am even starting over in a brand new Bible, though it is a copy of the 1993 Urbana NRSV Bible. It was my first NRSV, my first taste of egalitarian language in the Bible, and I used it for twenty years.

But I am different, though the text is the same. Now I change every “He” for God to a “She” in my mind. It doesn’t feel right anymore to just give in to the old masculine words for God as I read.

And I still pray to Mother God and mention Mother God in my conversation with family. When I talk about daily unexpected gifts, like a friend for Marshall to visit on the Nintendo Game, Animal Crossing, it’s always “a gift from Mother God.”

I take risks with referring to God as Mother sometimes, but not as often as I’d like. I’m still afraid that I will put up a word-barrier between me and friends or acquaintances. The person will assume I am not a true believer, I think, and then speak to me as someone outside of the clan, not in the tribe, not even on the same spiritual continent.

But calling God Mother has enriched my life. I truly trust God now, as Mother.

If I walk alone now and again because of this journey, but walk more fully with God, it’s worth it.

What about you? How is your experiment going? Or are you working up to starting one?

Mother God Disguised as a Child

I called on three Athena-like prayer warriors via email, after Marshall’s PTSD symptoms re-emerged with bunny Acorn’s death.

Soon after, Marshall was peaceful again, happy with being mayor of Animal Crossing on his Nintendo.

Yesterday, he went to hippotherapy and music therapy. He learned to groom a horse and got a piano lesson. The therapies are creative, life-giving, healing, an ointment from Mother God our Creator-Healer.

Marshall’s told me more stories lately, while rocking on the rocking chair and resting his face on the back cushion. How all of S.’s ToonTastic characters (Pin, Fiery, Plummy, etc.) would meet a Marshall character she created and call him a jerk and other names. How S.’s posse on the playground circled him one time while S. kicked him, and how a tall boy said to him, “This group is for brutes only; wimps can’t join.”

And how there was a group of kind girls who invited him to their club. And there were gentle boys too who befriended him who weren’t a part of S.’s group. He felt protected when he was in the group of girls.

Where were the grown-ups? Where was Mother God? Where was I, his mother?

I have wondered lately if Mother God feels the pain I do, over what happened to Marshall.

Lauren Winner writes about rarely considered metaphors for God. In her chapter about God as a laboring woman, she writes, “In their darkest hour, the exiles wondered, ‘God, where are you?’ In His final hour Jesus cried out, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ In the image of the laboring woman we see that God does not respond with silence. God groans, gasps, and pants–making a new way for exiles, breathing life into the whole of creation, offering God’s body to be broken open for the sake of the world God created.”

It makes sense that God is capable of a great range of emotions like Her creation, and able to express those feelings. How odd it would be for a Spock-like God to make beings with a capacity for feelings, when She had none! I think we all intuit that though feelings do indeed lead us to unwise decisions, they lead us to all our decisions, ultimately.

Feelings are our spiritual life blood, from the Spirit Herself.

So, surely God does suffer over our traumas. Jesus has felt all our weaknesses, our temptations, and feelings, as humans (Heb. 4:15). And Jesus was bullied, too.

Mother God, unlike me, the human mother, was with Marshall each moment he felt trapped and abused by the bully. Mother God was at work to rescue Marshall. Human adults weren’t listening, but some children were.

Mother God was present in the girls who invited Marshall to join their club, and in the boys who played with Marshall without questioning what class he was in.

Part of listening is also seeing: She comes disguised as the child who says, Yes, to love.

Acorn’s Passing: Animals and Mother God

In the middle of the night, our rabbit, Acorn, who lives in the backyard, was mauled by a raccoon or two. We knew they’d been coming in sometimes. But normally they ate cat food, washed their hands in the cat water, and left. (Raccoons have hands more than paws in my estimation).

But last night there was no cat food available. The bunny was available.

We are all grieving and distracted. For about a half an hour, Marshall threatened us with death if we didn’t resurrect the bunny. He said, “I know God can do it if you pray!”

It was a twisted affirmation of both his faith and ours. But he didn’t know how the bunny died because I didn’t tell him. It was a judgment call; one of those mercy lies, I guess.

I am feeling overwhelmed because it is 2:17, in the heat of the afternoon, and forest fires are burning in Willimina, not far from here. The sky here is blocked from color and the usual brilliant summer light. I want to keep my kids in due to the pollution, but can’t. Sam is outside now with Joel.

I guess I am sensing that the animals are suffering there, too. I am (again) thinking through this thing called the Food Chain, theologically. When Marshall was 5, I bought him a gold painted lion and lamb ornament to remind him of the Not Yet. That things will be different some day. He’d cried for fifteen minutes when Joel told him that birds eat bugs. He loves bugs and birds both.

Now, at 9 and a half, he stuffs his tears away in threats and anger. It’s not right, the way things are.

Julian of Norwich’s famous prayer “All shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well” is preceded by “Sin is necessary, but…”

And I’ve heard the Best of all Possible Worlds talk (Leibniz). Is this it? Could Mother God really do no better? No better way to control animal populations?

The adage “There is a reason for everything” seems hollow in the face of natural forces that destroy.

“There is a season for everything” might be more appropriate: pain and suffering occur, but they are not the final word. They are temporary.

And maybe my distress is partly due to the people-izing of animals. They aren’t people. A rabbit expects to be prey, on some level.

But people are predators, too, like those raccoons. Occasionally the Humane Farming Association sends me their magazines. Thankfully they don’t traumatize me with pictures of suffering. But I get the idea. Animals we eat live horrific lives before we eat them. I feel rather removed from it all, having gone to Fred Meyer’s to take out a pink slab wrapped in plastic and drop it in some boiling water. Organic yes, but the organically fed animals don’t fare better.

All I know is, whatever may have been the best Mother God could do, there’s better days ahead. And we get to help Her make them happen. We get to help Mother God make a new world for the lion and the lamb and the cow. And the bunny, too.

The cow and the bear shall graze,
    their young shall lie down together;
    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
    and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
    on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 11:9, NRSV

What bugs you about the food chain, or do you just not think about it? How would you have done it better if you were Mother God?

Do you get angrier at God when you call Her Mother, or less? Is God the Father more trustworthy when it comes to figuring out the mysterious ways of the Creator?

What part do we play in creating a new world for animals?

 

 

Attached to Mother God

“A mother can give her child milk to suck, but our dear mother Jesus can feed us with himself, and he does so most courteously and most tenderly with the holy sacrament, which is the precious food of life itself… The mother can lay the child tenderly to her breast, but our tender mother Jesus, he can familiarly lead us to his blessed breast through his sweet open side….”

Julian of Norwich

*****

I was thinking today, as I was gazing at Sam asleep, that we should all be as attached to Mother God as Sam is to me. Even in his sleep, if he is not in the deep sleep phase, he arches his back and complains if I give him over to Dad to sleep on him.

It’s in the attachment to Mother God that I hear Her voice, and that I grow loyal. It’s in the attachment that I do not flinch when I say Her name to someone who I think might. It’s in the attachment that I move forward to create, with Her, even when it requires courage.

And as any one who has done it can tell you, calling God Mother does require courage. I know there are people who don’t like what I write. And I know hating ideas does morph into hating real people, into put-downs, into plots to sabotage.

It happened to Saul. He thought he was doing the right thing in putting Christians in jail, in murdering them. From Saul’s point of view, he was defending God and Torah. Jesus set him straight, but it took a lot. The bright light of God’s presence, Jesus’ actual voice, and three days of groping in the darkness.

But Saul-who-became-Paul got attached to Jesus, to Mother God, and nothing could stop Paul from being loyal to Jesus, after that (see 2 Cor. 11:21-33 for what Paul went through for Christ).

So, how does attachment to Mother God happen? How do we nurse at Jesus’ side (Julian of Norwich) so often that we can’t be without him, no matter what we go through?

Brother Lawrence called it “the practice of the presence of God,” and he did it throughout the most mundane tasks, like washing dishes. He washed a lot of dishes in his lifetime. Yup, me and Brother Lawrence. But he did the dishes with Jesus, and that changed him.

I will try today to keep remembering the sweet presence of Mother God, and the ever-available milk of the Word, even as I read the fifty-two board books I read every day, wrestle another clean diaper onto my son, and make more blueberry smoothies for my family.

And I will keep writing and prayerfully thinking of God as Mother, even when I know Saul is afoot. He could become Paul any day now.

Does thinking of God as Mother help you keep Her nearer? 

Is it hard to go public with calling God Mother?

God The Mother is For Non-Moms and Men, Too

I’ve written a lot of posts so far about being a mother, and what that teaches me about God as Mother. But Mother God is for every one–single and married men, with or without children, and single and married women, with or without children. (And children themselves, but that’s for another post.)

I recently re-read journalist Julia Duin’s Quitting Church (2006), especially the section about why women leave the church. She implies that feminine God images in the church would help women stay, during a conversation she had with David Wilkerson in 1998.

She asked him why there were no verses that use feminine pronouns–for human women, not God–in the Daily Calendar he published–like Luke 1:45 or Is. 54:1. He had no answer–nor did he change his calendar.

As a single, childless woman, Duin left the church after her offers to serve were repeatedly rejected. When later she adopted a child and went back, the church welcomed her participation.

People who are not in a typical nuclear family often feel marginalized both in church and out. I don’t want to do that.

So I want to know–single and married women and men without kids: Is Mother God a term you can embrace? What does it mean to you to call God Mother sometimes? I want to hear from men with kids, too, as I suspect a feminine God image can help men in general, yet is still somewhat taboo. I will post more on this, later.

None of us women will ever be fathers, yet we’ve all used the label Father for God. Not being a mother doesn’t need to make Mother God less meaningful as a metaphor for God. Even if, like me, one’s relationship with one’s mother isn’t perfect, and is maybe even painful sometimes.

Sixty percent of the U.S. population emerges out of childhood with a secure psychological attachment to at least one caregiver, often Mom. So most of us can think of “Mother” and “God” and feel the love.

Forty percent of us can’t feel that totally secure love when we think of a parent, but eventually most of us probably attach to someone, a friend or a spouse or a child or an animal. (Being attached only to a child can bring its own problems for the child, however.)

It’s the attachment need that makes the mother metaphor for God so relevant. Even if we didn’t get our needs met, they are still there, no matter our age. We are always going to need a Divine Mom.

With my occasional gripes about my mother as I relate to her as an adult, I know that when I was a kid, she loved me. She was my safe place in the world. And she does make the term Mother God make sense.

Our best notions of Mother are the characteristics of God: always present, always loving, always working on our behalf. There for us, with the spiritual equivalent of hugs, extra attention when sick or sad, special gifts when we least expect them.

Referring to God as Mother means I look for God’s love, expect it, like a loved three-year old child does. He crawls into bed with mom in the middle of the night when he feels scared, because Mom has compassion for him. He confidently asks, as I did, “Mom, play Candy Land with me,” (again) and Mom does.

Even if we have no experience or memories of affection from our mom, someone, sometime, has given us a taste of unconditional love. We can expect the same willingness to give from Mother God, whether it’s that just blooming fragrant lilac tree outside our office window, or, as Teresa of Avila wrote, the gift of a little daisy in the grass.

I often see Her living yet eternal gifts in the birds around me. One crisp day in February, I was walking with Sam in a baby carrier, and we saw dozens of robins flying in and out of a huge holly tree loaded with red berries. I stopped, astonished.

This is a gift of a loving Mother, if I have eyes to see it. It has nothing to do with me being a mother. It’s just Gift, and these gifts are there for each of us.

How about you? How does it help you to call God Mother?

 

 

What Would Raffi Do?

The first song I heard by Raffi, the Canadian children’s folksinger, was “Biscuits in the Oven.” Tears gathered in my eyes as I danced with 1-year-old Marshall. I sensed this man was responding deeply to a calling to love, that can only come from God. The words were simple, but his voice and music fed my soul.

Recently, we found some of our old Raffi CDs we’d misplaced, and we play them daily. His are the only songs with lyrics that Marshall, my nine-year old Asperkid, will listen to. He, too, knows that Raffi is a mentor, a real presence in our lives calling us to goodness, truth and justice. When Marshall is upset, Raffi calms him.

When Raffi wrote a song called “In the Real World” on his CD “Love Bug,” Marshall said, “He can’t mean it.” But I explained that Raffi really does think the world of trees, flower, sky and sun is better than the online world. He got quiet.

I recently finished Raffi’s autobiography, written in 1998. I couldn’t help but search for a sign of a faith in Christ. One of his grandmothers was deeply evangelical and prayerful, though the pamphlet-giving type. As for Raffi, he wasn’t impressed with Christianity, nor the New Age or yogic philosophy he briefly explored. He was attracted to Taoism in college.

Now he talks about listening to The Creator in prayer and taking his life’s work as a calling. He strives for integrity. The value of caring for children comes first, over money.

It seems to me that Raffi has a sense of being a co-creator with God, and an understanding of the sacredness of children. He’s drawn on the feminine aspects of God intuitively, allowing the Spirit reign in his work and life. The idea for activism for children came to him in a vision. He clearly listens, stays open, to God. Can that happen without believing in Jesus? Yes, I think it happens all over the world every day.

It occurred to me that someone could start a WWRD movement, What Would Raffi Do? But he’d find that over-the-top. Nonetheless, I find great overlap in Raffi’s view of children and Jesus’s.

Raffi starts his autobiography, “Children are the most reasonable people I know.” Jesus said, “Unless you become like a little child, you will never enter the reign of God” (Matt. 18:3). I think Raffi was saying that the values of children right the world again, make adult reason seem paltry. And that they tell the truth when adults would prefer they didn’t. And this too was Jesus’ point. Children enter into the world of faith easily, and this, said Jesus, was the work of God (John 6:29).

Adults aren’t usually so good at taking cues from little humans who are supposed to show respect, more than be respected. But we’ve got a lot to learn. True, Raffi and Jesus are both childless men. But I think they give us tired, just-give-me-ten-minutes-alone-in-the-bathroom parents more objectivity.

In Jesus, we see both a Mother and a Father unlike any most of us have experienced. This divine parent welcomes children in the presence of adults–in a culture where children had little power. Then, in front of those same adults, praises the kids as examples of spiritual maturity (Matt. 19:13-15).

You never hear Jesus scolding a child. And, never a word to parents about discipline. No quoting of Proverbs about not sparing the rod. Just Jesus’ quiet insistence that children understand God and the way things should go, in ways his adult followers did not.

Raffi seems to get that. I have pasted his Covenant for Honouring Children below from his website. So when you get to a hard place in your life with kids–just ask, What Would Jesus and Raffi Do?

Flying High with God as Mother

Trusting Mother God more is helping me to take risks. I spent time on the Facebook group, Portland Autism Moms, today. One thread was about flying with kids with ASD. Marshall is scared to fly. Anxiety precedes agitation for him and a lot of his peers. The anxiety could unfold into all kinds of melt-down scenarios in a busy airport or stuffed plane. So, we haven’t been out of Oregon since I was pregnant with Marshall.

Every mom who responded has lots of backups when she flies—electronics, new toys, candy, etc. One woman writes a little explanatory message along with a bag of candy, and hands it out to passengers. She also asks for people’s help. The mom said people really respond well to that. They want to help.

Also, a mom said she always flies JetBlue. They have a program in various cities where kids with ASD can get used to flying in a simulated environment. The pilots and stewardesses/stewards receive training to understand and respond well to our kids.

So, we could fly JetBlue to Buffalo and then drive to Toronto to see Joel’s family, finally.

I could choose to see randomly checking out Portland Autism Moms as a coincidence. Or I can see it as encouragement from Mother God. Go ahead: take a risk. Fly. And let this trip be the first of many.

Julia Cameron writes in The Artist’s Way that we would all find it easier to have God not exist. God’s existence means She does respond to our prayers. Answers to prayer make us responsible to do something when our prayers are answered. This is scary. But it is scarier to hold back.

Life is about trusting God. And when I think about trust, and God, when I throw “Mother” in there, I can do it. Mother is near—she doesn’t leave. For some people whose mother did leave due to death or abandonment, or become untrustworthy due to abuse, it may be God as Grandmother, Auntie, Sister, Daddy, Father or Foster Mother that makes the most sense. Or maybe, as in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia, God needs to be identified with an animal: a lion or a dog (like the funny bumper sticker, Dog is My Co-Pilot).

Whoever has been faithful to love us when we were young or vulnerable is the most reliable metaphor or set of metaphors for God. As often as not, I wrongly think that God, even God the Father, wants to take something good away from me for God’s own good and glory, instead of bless me for the sake of love. But Mother God is the Giver of all good gifts. She creates love and a desire to glorify Her, through Her giving heart.

For many, this is just akin to blasphemy. That’s why we have to keep actually reading our Bibles. Mother God and Father God are the same God, because God is spirit (John 4:24), neither male nor female. Men and women are made in God’s image, says Genesis 1:27, so doesn’t that say something about the spirit of God including feminine as well as masculine characteristics?

So since calling God “Mother” gives me courage, and helps me journey on in an attitude of trust in God, I am going to keep calling God Mother. And you can, too.

God the Lenient Mom

Yesterday, Marshall wanted to know about his dad’s experiences of being parented as a child in the 1960s. Behaviorism was the norm back then; a lot of kids were expected to do chores on threat of punishment, and spanked or hit for disobedience.

Marshall said, “Is God like that?” His words echoed in the spiritual air.

“No, God is not like that,” I said. “That’s what Jesus came to show: a God who doesn’t condemn, but restores” (e.g. John 3:17).

God doesn’t really fit in today’s parenting climate, either. I guess if Mother God’s actions as a metaphorical parent were analyzed, she’d be labeled as one of those moms, you know, a Lenient Mom. She gives her children all this freedom, and in response, they hurt each other and don’t trust Her.  Mother God gives rules, but complete freedom to reject them. She even gives up the right to judge, allowing Her Son Jesus to do that, at some future date (John 5:22-24). I can’t imagine She’s all that happy with the situation, despite having the end all planned out.

Of course, the big books of theology have God in the category of “Never Takes Celexa” (because God’s emotions, if She has them, don’t affect God, or so the story goes). But I don’t know; some days She’s got to feel discouraged and angry, just like Jesus did about the Pharisees (e.g. Mark 3:5) and the people of Jerusalem (e.g. Matthew 23), and his own followers (e.g. Luke 9:37-56). For example, how could the recent shootings in Florida, or before that, Paris, not affect Her?

They must, yet She refuses to get Her children under control. She is only frustratingly present at all times, in all kinds of suffering. Frustratingly, because She suffers with us, but doesn’t always stop the pain. She nurtures by listening, by giving gentle guidance, by answering prayers in the way we want sometimes, and even bringing healing. She is unrelenting in forgiveness and kindness. We are most likely to feel Her presence through Her followers who reach out hands to help.

She’d get a lot of criticism, I suspect, if she were a human mother. Parenting by proxy?

That’s how God as Father parents, too, of course, but we let fathers get by with more. We expect less.

What do you think? Would you be less lenient, if you were Mother God?