Monday, June 19, 2006

What's in a name?

This from Birmingham, Alabama today ...

The divine Trinity — "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" — could also be known as "Mother, Child and Womb" or "Rock, Redeemer, Friend" at some Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) services under an action Monday by the church's national assembly.

Delegates to the meeting voted to "receive" a policy paper on gender-inclusive language for the Trinity, a step short of approving it. That means church officials can propose experimental liturgies with alternative phrasings for the Trinity, but congregations won't be required to use them.

"This does not alter the church's theological position, but provides an educational resource to enhance the spiritual life of our membership," legislative committee chair Nancy Olthoff, an Iowa laywoman, said during Monday's debate on the Trinity.

A panel that worked on the issue since 2000 said the classical language for the Trinity should still be used, but added that Presbyterians also should seek "fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God" to "expand the church's vocabulary of praise and wonder."

One reason is that language limited to the Father and Son "has been used to support the idea that God is male and that men are superior to women," the panel said.

Conservatives responded that the church should stick close to the way God is named in the Bible and noted that Jesus' most famous prayer was addressed to "Our Father."

Besides "Mother, Child and Womb" and "Rock, Redeemer, Friend," proposed Trinity options drawn from biblical material include:

— "Lover, Beloved, Love"

— "Creator, Savior, Sanctifier"

— "King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Love."

I have to wonder if a single one of these delegates has consulted the Most High about His feelings about having his name changed. Or if they've read his clear warning in Exodus 20:7, "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name."

And just try singing "The Doxology," with "Praise Mother, Child, and Womb" or any other substitution ... there's nothing lovely about it.

Some things just shouldn't be messed with.


Lisa said...

wow, I'm speechless. I think you said it best, " some things just shouldn't be messed with"

Michelle- This One's For The Girls said...

Whoa. I know I shouldn't be surprised at these sorts of things, but I always am.

heartsjoy said...

Shocking and scary is all I can think.