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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?