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Published On: Fri, Feb 2nd, 2018

Episcopal church votes to stop calling God ‘He’ and adds more transgender accomodations

The Episcopal church in the Diocese of Washington, D.C., passed a resolution last week to stop using masculine pronouns for God in future updates to its Book of Common Prayer.

The resolution to stop using “gendered language for God” was passed quickly by delegates to the Diocese’s 123rd Convention.

photo John Hain

“If revision of the Book of Common Prayer is authorized, to utilize expansive language for God from the rich sources of feminine, masculine, and non-binary imagery for God found in Scripture and tradition and, when possible, to avoid the use of gendered pronouns for God,” the resolution stated.

“Over the centuries our language and our understanding of God has continued to change and adapt,” the drafters of the resolution stated. The drafters said that referring to God using masculine pronouns is to “limit our understanding of God.”

“By expanding our language for God, we will expand our image of God and the nature of God,” they stated.

Clergy delegate The Rev. Linda R. Calkins from St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Laytonsville, Maryland,  challenged the delegates to go further.

Calkins read from Genesis Chapter 17, in which God tells Abraham “I am El Shaddai.” She said that if Episcopalians “are going to be true to what El Shaddai means, it means God with breasts.”

“Having studied much feminist theology in my masters’ degrees, I wrote a thesis on liberation and freedom and non-equality in feminist theology and existential counseling,” Calkins told the delegates, as reported by The Institute On Religion & Democracy.

“And I am still waiting for the Episcopal Church to come to the place where all people feel that they can speak God’s name. Many, many women that I have spoken with over my past almost 20 years in ordained ministry have felt that they could not be a part of any church because of the male image of God that is systemic and that is sustained throughout our liturgies. Many of us are waiting and need to hear God in our language, in our words and in our pronouns,” she added.

Christians, following the teachings of Jesus Christ, have prayed to God as “Our Father” from the very beginning. Theologians explain that the masculine word “Father” indicates a relationship.

“Jesus did not call God ‘Imma’ (Mother), but always and exclusively ‘Abba’ (Father),” Dr. Paul Tarazi of St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary explained. Indeed, “Father” is the only way Jesus ever referred to God, and the only way He taught His followers to do so.

Delegates to the Episcopalian convention also passed a resolution without debate or discussion to include “transgender people” in all aspects of “congregational life .”

The resolution called on diocese to “encourage all parishes to remove all obstacles to full participation in congregational life by making all gender-specific facilities and activities fully accessible, regardless of gender identity and expression.”

“Fixed boundaries of gender identity are being challenged and churches need to respond.  This resolution is a clear response to the systematic oppression and violence that transgender people experience on a daily basis,” the resolution drafters stated.

photo Marcus Werthmann

About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professional in 2008 on sites like Examiner and blogs: Desk of Brian, Crazed Fanboy. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) will be a licensed Assembly of God Pastor by the Spring of 2017. "Why do we do this?" I was asked and the answer is simple. "I just want the truth. I want a source of information that tells me what's going and clearly attempts to separate opinion from fact. Set aside left and right, old and young, just point to the world and say, 'Look!'" To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Bob says:

    “Over the centuries our language and our understanding of God has continued to change and adapt,” the drafters of the resolution stated. The drafters said that referring to God using masculine pronouns is to “limit our understanding of God.”

    God reveals Himself to us through His Word. Maybe your understanding of God is limited because you refuse to follow the Holy Bible in this and so many other areas.

    Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever–Hebrews 13:8

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