Author Topic: ELCA prays to "Mother God"  (Read 48103 times)

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #30 on: May 02, 2020, 01:34:40 PM »
I realize that the Hebrew Scriptures offer images of God that have feminine attributes or at least references.  But they do not reference God as person/s directly.  Christians confess one God in three persons and three persons in one God.  The persons are directed to Father, Son and Holy Spirit not to a father, a son or a holy spirit.  The Trinity is unique and cannot be compared in analogy or even reference.  It is encounter of the person of the Father, the person of the Son Jesus and the person of the Holy Spirit.  These are unique, one-off persons uncontained by analogous reference.  You will see this in John's Gospel and the Gospel readings in Easter leading up to Pentecost Sunday.


Neither the original Greek or Hebrew of scriptures distinguished between Father and father. Hebrew doesn't have upper and lower case letters. The Greek of the uncials was all upper case (and no spaces: FATHERSONANDHOLYSPIRIT).
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

DCharlton

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #31 on: May 02, 2020, 01:35:43 PM »
The insistence that Father, Son and Spirit are metaphors brings us back to Modalism.  One senses God acting in a parental way, and so seeks a metaphor to express it.  One experiences God exhibiting childlikeness, and so seeks a second metaphor to express it.  One perceives God acting as an invisible but present force and seeks a third metaphor to express it.  The question then is, "Why trinity?"  Why not a quaternity, as Jung would have preferred?  Or why not follow Hinduism and say that God has many faces, and many names? After all, there are dozens of Biblical metaphors for God. 

On the other hand, if Father, Son and Holy Spirit are names of persons, not just three different metaphors for the same thing, the Doctrine of the Trinity is the result.
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #32 on: May 02, 2020, 01:56:50 PM »
Our Lord Jesus (who is God and is definitely a male, hence His circumcision) teaches us to pray: "Our FATHER..."  As far as I know, there is absolutely NO reference in Scripture to anyone praying to "Mother God".  At least not one who is praying to the true God.


In Luke, it is just "Father" in the Lord's Prayer. Mark has Jesus saying, "Abba, Father" in the garden. Paul also uses, "Abba, Father," language. In Exodus, when Moses asked for God's name, he wasn't given, אָב. That would have been much easier to translate than what God gave to Moses: אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה (Exodus 3:14a - various translation possibilities are in footnotes). This was shortened to אֶהְיֶה a half verse later. These, and the proper name, יהוה, are connected with the Hebrew verb meaning "to be."


There are numerous names for the Hebrew God. The following are the ones given in The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, "God, Names of."
A. God
   1. Elohim
   2. Eloah
   3. El
B. Yahweh
C. God/Lord of Hosts
D. Lord
   1. Baal
   2. Adon/Adonai
E. Names with "El"
   1. El Shadday
   2. El Elyon
   3. El, Creator of Heaven and Earth
   4. El Roi
   5. El Olam
   6. El Berit
F. Kinship Terms
   1. Father, Mother [the maternal images: God conceiving, giving birth, and nursing Israel]
   2. Brother
   3. Uncle
   4. Husband
G. Other Designations of God
   1. Holy One
   2. Jealous
   3. Mighty One
   4. Fear of Isaac
   5. Shield (of Abraham)
   6. Rock
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

RandyBosch

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #33 on: May 02, 2020, 02:22:30 PM »
Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.

Israel had several Queens by their own cultural definition.  The wife of a King who gave birth to a male heir was given the title of Queen.
You enfolded "patriarchy" into the batter, perhaps meaning to make clear that Israel had no Queens by birthright?

Interesting article on the subject:
https://www.thetorah.com/article/jewish-queens-from-the-story-of-esther-to-the-history-of-shelamzion

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #34 on: May 02, 2020, 02:34:01 PM »
This is really the key issue.  In the ELCA, everyone acknowledges the pastoral concerns that motivated our leaders to alter the language for God.  The revisionists, on the other hand, will not acknowledge the theological concerns of those who insist on Biblical language.


Who is altering the language for God? As I see it, we are expanding our language to better include the multitude of biblical images for God.

Quote
The key question is whether God wants us to be known and worshiped as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, and in the Scriptures, or whether God wants us to seek him out on our own.  In other words, is Jesus Christ the final and sufficient revelation of God's identity, purpose and will, or not?


Yes, Jesus is the revelation of God; but so was the burning bush; and the three "men" who came to Abram and Sarai; and so were the many angels who came and revealed God's message to humans (including Joseph, Jesus' father).
 
Quote
The answer of the revisionists to the above is NO.  God's revelation in Jesus of Nazareth is partial, incomplete and imperfect.  First of all because Jesus is not the only mediator between God and humanity.  There are aspects of the truth that are better revealed in other religions.  Secondly, because of the way the revelation in Jesus of Nazareth was distorted by the men, and perhaps women, who wrote what we call the New Testament.  Their prejudices, their captivity by the structures of oppression of their own day, obscured the truth revealed in Jesus.


"No," is not the answer of the revisionists. It's the answer you are imposing on them. Revisionists are folks who revisit scriptures. Sometimes we see things there that we hadn't noticed before; like the passages that talk about maternal aspects of God. They do not eliminate the paternal aspects that scriptures also talks about.

Quote
Praying to God as "Mother" is one of the ways we improve upon the historically conditioned and imperfect Scriptures, Creeds, and liturgy that we have.  Another way to do that is to bring images and voices from other religions.  So, for instance, you might do a prayer to the spirit of the four directions.


Praying to God as "Mother" is one of the way we expand our knowledge of scriptures and our understanding of God. Praying to the Spirit as "Wind" is recognizing that in Hebrew and Greek and many other languages, the word translated "Spirit" is the same word that is translated "Wind" or "Breath". Why shouldn't English-speakers be aware of this?

Quote
By the way, the people of the ELCA never knowingly voted to do this.  It is simply the reigning paradigm among our leaders, particularly those who write and publish liturgical resources.  The introduction of the ELW was one of the major milestones in our journey from Nicene Christianity to a more gnostic version.  By the time we voted in 2019 for more expansive language about God, people simply assumed that this approach was true, since that is the way its done in the ELW.  Lex orandi, lex credendi.


Is it possible for you to use ELW in a way that satisfies your orthodox sensibilities? "Expansive language about God" doesn't mean that the old language has disappeared. Some of the prayers in ELW are quite old, e.g., the Great Thanksgiving from Hippolytus. However, the rubrics for Form XI state that it may follow immediately after the preface dialogue, omitting the proper preface and sanctus (as it was done in the writing of Hippolytus). That may seem like a new innovation; but it is following this liturgy from the early 3rd century.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #35 on: May 02, 2020, 02:43:19 PM »
Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.

Israel had several Queens by their own cultural definition.  The wife of a King who gave birth to a male heir was given the title of Queen.
You enfolded "patriarchy" into the batter, perhaps meaning to make clear that Israel had no Queens by birthright?

Interesting article on the subject:
https://www.thetorah.com/article/jewish-queens-from-the-story-of-esther-to-the-history-of-shelamzion


I would go further than to say that they had no queens by birthright; the Bible gives us no names of Israelite queens. There are foreign queens: Sheba; Vashti, Esther. The New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible says about "Queen": "The majority of biblical queens, however, are not called queen. Athaliah, e.g., is the wife of a king, mother of a king, and for six years sole monarch of Judah (2 Kgs 11;3), but she is never titled queen. Collective reference to the wives of the king (e.g., 1 Kgs 4:11; 2 Chr 11:21; 21:17) and specific mention of prominent wives (e.g., Bathsheba, Jezebel) occur throughout the narratives of Israel's monarchy, and Herodias is mentioned in the NT (Matt 14;1-11; Mark 6:17-28); yet, again, the term queen is never applied."
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #36 on: May 02, 2020, 02:45:18 PM »
"Begotten" is right there in the catechism and creed. As is "conceived." Not sure how much of a metaphorical Savior I really want.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #37 on: May 02, 2020, 02:52:52 PM »
"Begotten" is right there in the catechism and creed. As is "conceived." Not sure how much of a metaphorical Savior I really want.


The "conception" and "birth" of which you speak happened to Mary. The "conception" and "birth" in Numbers 11:12-13 is Moses' complaint that he did not conceive nor give birth to these people (and by implication, God did). Deuteronomy 32:18 talks about God "giving birth" to Israel. Motherly metaphors are used for God.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

RandyBosch

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #38 on: May 02, 2020, 02:57:32 PM »
Who is altering the language for God? As I see it, we are expanding our language to better include the multitude of biblical images for God.

I would go further than that.  "Altering" is not only "expanding" (as in your tailor or tailoress altering your clothes if your girth expanded (gravity's fault, of course...).  "Altering also includes a "taking in", reducing sizes and language to a less encompassing size.

Some perform that tailoring in the search for repristination, or a return to simpler earlier uses and definitions, some by applying the reliable black "Sharpie" to retract or obscure unwanted language, some to modify what you wrote on your bank check to steal your pension.  Plagiarizers often alter the original text enough that they think it hides the fact that they stole it from the true author.

Altering can change meaning and effect in a variety of different ways, sometimes to the point that altered text makes a text that es laast sich nicht lessen, for example.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2020, 03:00:32 PM by RandyBosch »

RandyBosch

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #39 on: May 02, 2020, 03:04:14 PM »
Israel did not have queens. They did not have goddesses. We wonder how much of their portrait of God was influenced by their culture.

Israel had several Queens by their own cultural definition.  The wife of a King who gave birth to a male heir was given the title of Queen.
You enfolded "patriarchy" into the batter, perhaps meaning to make clear that Israel had no Queens by birthright?

Interesting article on the subject:
https://www.thetorah.com/article/jewish-queens-from-the-story-of-esther-to-the-history-of-shelamzion
There are foreign queens:...

Ah, you've modified the definition.  The Queens that you listed were given the title of Queen because they were foreign born and/ornot Jewish from birth.  They were given the title of Queen ONLY because they were married to an Israelite King.  Still Queens of Israel.

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #40 on: May 02, 2020, 03:09:37 PM »

God does not actually have gender, He is a totally different kind of being to which gender categories do not apply.

YHWH (He/Him/His)

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #41 on: May 02, 2020, 03:18:02 PM »

Who is altering the language for God? As I see it, we are expanding our language to better include the multitude of biblical images for God.


Expansion is an alteration.

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jebutler

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #42 on: May 02, 2020, 03:19:08 PM »
This is really the key issue.  In the ELCA, everyone acknowledges the pastoral concerns that motivated our leaders to alter the language for God.  The revisionists, on the other hand, will not acknowledge the theological concerns of those who insist on Biblical language.


Who is altering the language for God? As I see it, we are expanding our language to better include the multitude of biblical images for God.

Quote
The key question is whether God wants us to be known and worshiped as he has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, and in the Scriptures, or whether God wants us to seek him out on our own.  In other words, is Jesus Christ the final and sufficient revelation of God's identity, purpose and will, or not?


Yes, Jesus is the revelation of God; but so was the burning bush; and the three "men" who came to Abram and Sarai; and so were the many angels who came and revealed God's message to humans (including Joseph, Jesus' father).
 
Quote
The answer of the revisionists to the above is NO.  God's revelation in Jesus of Nazareth is partial, incomplete and imperfect.  First of all because Jesus is not the only mediator between God and humanity.  There are aspects of the truth that are better revealed in other religions.  Secondly, because of the way the revelation in Jesus of Nazareth was distorted by the men, and perhaps women, who wrote what we call the New Testament.  Their prejudices, their captivity by the structures of oppression of their own day, obscured the truth revealed in Jesus.


"No," is not the answer of the revisionists. It's the answer you are imposing on them. Revisionists are folks who revisit scriptures. Sometimes we see things there that we hadn't noticed before; like the passages that talk about maternal aspects of God. They do not eliminate the paternal aspects that scriptures also talks about.

Quote
Praying to God as "Mother" is one of the ways we improve upon the historically conditioned and imperfect Scriptures, Creeds, and liturgy that we have.  Another way to do that is to bring images and voices from other religions.  So, for instance, you might do a prayer to the spirit of the four directions.


Praying to God as "Mother" is one of the way we expand our knowledge of scriptures and our understanding of God. Praying to the Spirit as "Wind" is recognizing that in Hebrew and Greek and many other languages, the word translated "Spirit" is the same word that is translated "Wind" or "Breath". Why shouldn't English-speakers be aware of this?

Quote
By the way, the people of the ELCA never knowingly voted to do this.  It is simply the reigning paradigm among our leaders, particularly those who write and publish liturgical resources.  The introduction of the ELW was one of the major milestones in our journey from Nicene Christianity to a more gnostic version.  By the time we voted in 2019 for more expansive language about God, people simply assumed that this approach was true, since that is the way its done in the ELW.  Lex orandi, lex credendi.


Is it possible for you to use ELW in a way that satisfies your orthodox sensibilities? "Expansive language about God" doesn't mean that the old language has disappeared. Some of the prayers in ELW are quite old, e.g., the Great Thanksgiving from Hippolytus. However, the rubrics for Form XI state that it may follow immediately after the preface dialogue, omitting the proper preface and sanctus (as it was done in the writing of Hippolytus). That may seem like a new innovation; but it is following this liturgy from the early 3rd century.

Given your argument above, Brian, why not simply refer the Lord as the "Goddess"? From your argumentation, I don't see any reason why one would not. HerChurch already does. It seems to me that group has simply taken your argument to its natural conclusion.
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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #43 on: May 02, 2020, 03:51:22 PM »
"Begotten" is right there in the catechism and creed. As is "conceived." Not sure how much of a metaphorical Savior I really want.


The "conception" and "birth" of which you speak happened to Mary. The "conception" and "birth" in Numbers 11:12-13 is Moses' complaint that he did not conceive nor give birth to these people (and by implication, God did). Deuteronomy 32:18 talks about God "giving birth" to Israel. Motherly metaphors are used for God.
I didn’t speak of birth. I spoke of “begotten.”

DCharlton

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Re: ELCA prays to "Mother God"
« Reply #44 on: May 02, 2020, 03:56:54 PM »
Yes, Jesus is the revelation of God; but so was the burning bush; and the three "men" who came to Abram and Sarai; and so were the many angels who came and revealed God's message to humans (including Joseph, Jesus' father).

You deny that what I say is true, then you demonstrate the very thing you deny.  If there is no difference between Jesus and the burning bush, why not a quarternity of Father, Son, Spirit and Burning Bush?
 
Quote
"No," is not the answer of the revisionists. It's the answer you are imposing on them. Revisionists are folks who revisit scriptures. Sometimes we see things there that we hadn't noticed before; like the passages that talk about maternal aspects of God. They do not eliminate the paternal aspects that scriptures also talks about.

Here you deny that what I say is true, only to do the very thing that I describe in your next response. 

Quote
Praying to God as "Mother" is one of the way we expand our knowledge of scriptures and our understanding of God. Praying to the Spirit as "Wind" is recognizing that in Hebrew and Greek and many other languages, the word translated "Spirit" is the same word that is translated "Wind" or "Breath". Why shouldn't English-speakers be aware of this?

I never said that revisionists eliminate traditional language, I say that they find it incomplete, insufficient, provisional.  That's the same thing you say above.  Revisionists believe that language Jesus used to speak of the other persons of the Trinity is incomplete, insufficient, provisional and distorted by Jesus historical limitations. 

Quote
Is it possible for you to use ELW in a way that satisfies your orthodox sensibilities? "Expansive language about God" doesn't mean that the old language has disappeared. Some of the prayers in ELW are quite old, e.g., the Great Thanksgiving from Hippolytus. However, the rubrics for Form XI state that it may follow immediately after the preface dialogue, omitting the proper preface and sanctus (as it was done in the writing of Hippolytus). That may seem like a new innovation; but it is following this liturgy from the early 3rd century.

Yes, it is possible.  The problem is that, if a congregation uses the ELW as it is, it will change their theology (lex orandi, lex credenda).  They will cease being Nicene Trinitarians and become post-Nicene Unitarian Modalists.  If they use  the current resources coming from Sundays and Seasons, they might become post-Nicene Unitarian Universalist Modalists.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2020, 04:27:30 PM by DCharlton »
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