Our church will soon present an overture to our Presbytery that we hope will go before the national church. The overture will simply allow a church to use non-sexist language in every aspect of its life. To be clear, we are not asking for other churches to use non-sexist language, only that we not be asked to violate our conscience by being required to call God “Father” or Christ “He.”
As it stands, Presbyterian Churches are required to use male language for God in the baptismal and ordination vows. We, at St. Andrew’s can no more say that God is male, than we would say God is Caucasian. We are asking the denomination to carve out a place for those of us who can no longer use sexist language, and therefore can no longer use the traditional vows of the church without retranslating them to be inclusive of all humankind. To this end, we are asking members of our church to write testimonials about the difference inclusive language has made in their lives. We will present those testimonials as an addendum to our overture.
While most of the people who come to this blog are not Presbyterian, and many not Christian, I would love to enter into that conversation here as well. So I am requesting testimonials to the good that non-sexist language has done, or the harm that sexist language has done in people’s lives. Rape and domestic violence are the inevitable products of a male centered worldview that is protected and guarded by the words we use. There is no possible sexism that can be more universal or fundamental than the claim that the sacred is male. Perhaps by sharing our stories we can help people begin to feel the pain they are inflicting when they uses sexist language in religion, or in ordinary life.