What Happens When God Can be Mother Too?

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?

4 comments

  1. Thanks for this piece, Susan. My experience has been very similar. I grew up on ‘Our Father in
    Heaven.’ It was my comfort zone, my pattern. A pattern very hard to leave. A pattern I miss in many ways. Yet it is a pattern I’ve resisted going back to. I experience Godde as Mother, but try to draw
    from the abundance of language to address and praise Godde – whom I believe is not ‘either or’;
    Mother or Father, as human parents, but ‘both and’, ONE. Gender full mystery!
    My Divine MotherFather Parent.

    You might enjoy The Inclusive Bible – It uses inclusive language for Godde. I don’t use it first of all for study, but it is wonderful to sink into without navigating all the male pronouns to get to the
    message.

    • Thank you for commenting, JoeMae! I appreciate your thoughts. Yes, God is both male and female, neither male nor female, above and beyond what we can imagine. But God as Mother probably allows us both to get close to God in a way that Jesus also does, because somehow mothers are inevitably incarnated, they have bodies, like Jesus had a body. That old masculine language thing will hang on for a while, but ultimately God as Mother allows growth in intimacy and trust that the masculine language doesn’t. I don’t need more belief in God’s omnipotence or almighty-ness; I need more experience of God’s nearness. Yes, I took a look at The Inclusive Bible description on Goodreads, and I will definitely put it on my Christmas list. Here’s a link for any one interested:
      http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2193503.The_Inclusive_Bible
      Hope to hear more from you in the future!

  2. Susan,
    I appreciate your willingness to explore this topic. A few years ago, I had this amazing encounter with Mother God. It really surprised me. I was raised in typical Judeo-Christian American culture. God was always Father God or Lord Jesus.

    I didn’t even realize how much I desperately needed a Mother God until She revealed Herself to me like that. And I had no idea who I could talk to about it. Just thinking of God as She made me wonder if I would be labeled a heretic!

    Anyway, I wrote a little bit about my experience on my blog (https://supernaturaldiscernment.com/2013/10/06/the-holy-she/). It was so personal that I honestly don’t tell hardly anyone about it. It feels very sacred. It changed me very deeply – I feel so much more secure than I ever did before.

    Since that time I’ve had several opportunities to help other women consider whether they are missing something that they can find in Mother God. It feels a little “out of the box” but I think it is really needed in today’s world.

    God bless you for your courage! 🙂

    • Have you researched the figure of Wisdom in the Bible? Scholars don’t really know why Wisdom is always a woman. Jesus, too, refers to Wisdom in feminine terms. I think there is a mystery to be explored there. Some say it’s clear that Wisdom is Christ. I’m not sure yet, but I do believe Wisdom is God in the Bible (I wasn’t sure at first–I need to update an old post!).

      Thanks for reading my blog and for sharing your personal experience. You’re right; it’s not something most people can hear right now. But that’s changing. (Look at this conversation!).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *