When I was little, my internal picture of God was nothing like the white-bearded-old-man clichés. I’d never had any exposure to that idea. If you’d asked my six-year-old self, I’d have said God looks rather like Sam the Eagle from the Muppets. Sort of stern.
And definitely male. I could articulate from young adulthood that God is not in fact male, but of course, growing up speaking English and in the Judeo-Christian tradition, I barely ever heard anyone speak about God using language or pronouns that were anything other than male. Was that your experience, too?
Starting soon, we will be hosting a special guest, Tim Bulkeley, who is a scholar of the Old Testament among other things. He has written a book called Not Only A Father, working through the history and problems of using exclusively male (and paternal) language for God.
So I just thought I’d give you a heads up to start thinking about these issues and your own experience. Is this something you’ve thought much about? How much do language and imagery for God matter to you? What questions do you have for Tim? Feel free to comment below, or just start musing and comment on Tim’s posts as they come along. I’m looking forward to this.