I’m not sure what day or year or even decade I stopped being ruled by men. Feminist pop psychology (and real shrinks) used to tell me I “allowed” men to rule my life. Of course I was roped into that, having been raised in the patriarchal Catholic Church where women are still not allowed to be priests. God was always a man and because of that men were always in charge. Recovery from those old ideas was precipitated not by strong women helping me see the light, but by some very important men acting badly.
My Amazon Dot is tuned into the impeachment vote of President Trump. He’s the worst example of male dominance I’ve ever known, but he’s an extreme case. I’ve experienced Christian cultist men telling me God wanted me to submit to a physically abusive husband; a married lover who insisted I wait by the phone on Christmas for his call; a father who dragged me into fraudulent schemes; and, bosses (Gary Hart and Bill Clinton) who got caught with women-not-their-wives. To paraphrase Nancy Pelosi, “I don’t hate them. I pray for them.”
It’s true. I’ve been taught by the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous to pray for people I don’t like (or, more likely, who don’t like me). The words I use in prayer for God’s gender are still masculine though. To be modern, I could rant publicly against male-centric words like “Lord,” or mind my manners and quietly substitute the more gender-neutral (or is it gender-inclusive?) “God.” I want to do that because these days I think of God as non-binary, neither male nor female.
I pause to see She-He-It in the yellow leaves of the honey locust fluttering down in front of me when I walk Henry-the-Dog. I hear They-Them when the crows caw. I even smell Her/Him/Them in the spring (what are those fragrant shrubs called?). These delicate manifestations of God are indeed gender-neutral.
But my senses play tug-of-war. The Bible rarely shows these versions of God. Just as I see the streets of Edinburgh when reading Ian Rankin mysteries, I see God as a man when reading the Bible. I visualize men—Jehovah, David, the king on his throne, the Father, the Lord. God the man made a covenant with David the man. David’s seed, not his eggs will rule as kings, not queens, from generation to generation.
The subtler Biblical images of God as a mother caring for her children undergird my faith that God will always be, always live and always love. That female-male God who loves me deeper than I can visualize, who enfolds me at the still point, who sees me as perfect and lets me be. That is the God whose help I seek, whose direction I want, whose words I hear. I sing to that God.
In another world, I will know God as intersex, non-binary, genderqueer, agender, gender fluid, androgynous, bigender, multigender or demigender. In this world, I await David’s seed to change the God-man language to align with my gender neutral spirit.