Monday, April 23, 2007
Is This Really Worth Getting Worked-up About?
I took a little visit to a certain "orthodox" so-called site today and noticed this article. It appears that some mainline churches in Tucson, Arizona, including an Episcopal church, are not using the term "Lord" in some of their liturgies. From the article: "Lord" has become a loaded word conveying hierarchical power over things, "which in what we have recorded in our sacred texts, is not who Jesus understood himself to be," St. Philip's associate rector Susan Anderson-Smith said.. As you can imagine, this really has the majority of the folks at a couple of the "orthodox" so-called sites quite worked-up.
According to the article, the folks at St. Phillip's-in-the-Hills have an alternative worship service in which they don't use gender-specific pronouns when talking about God. This is one service, not every service, yet the folks at Those Places are in danger of their heads exploding.
In my personal worship, I don't use gender-specific pronouns for God either. I am the father of two daughters, and one day I thought about how they must feel hearing all references to God as masculine. Since I don't believe God is male or female, I really had no problem no longer calling God "he". I refer to Jesus as he because when Jesus was in a human body, he was a man, no getting around that. But God the creator, no, not a male or female. There are times when it becomes a bit linguistically awkward not to use "he" or "him" when referring to God, so I use it. Plus, it's not such an issue here in Central America.
As far as the use of the term "Lord," well, I really don't have any problem with that. Yes, the term is hierarchical, but, honestly, when you hear God or Jesus referred to as Lord do you think of 16th century monarchs? Believe me, I don't! I was raised in the Assemblies of God church and was educated by Protestant Evangelicals, so for me "Lord" might as well be Jesus' nick name! I grew up around some "Lord, I just wanna..." type prayers (no one did the "Father God" thang, thank the Lord!) and I certainly avoid that, but I'm not going to get worked up about using the terms Lord or Señor when referring to God. If I thought my use of those terms were a stumbling block to some I might reconsider my stand, but right now, here in Panamá, it's a non-issue. The Communion is breaking apart, Calvinists and Neo-Donatists are trying to destroy Anglicanism, yet people are getting worked-up about this issue.
What are your experiences with these terms? What do you think of the article? Is this an issue in your parish?
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