God is genderqueer

I realized the other night that I don’t experience God as simply male or female.  With all due respect to my Lord and Savior, who, according to the Gospel writers, gave God a decidedly masculine ‘Father’ identity for God, I simply can’t make gendered pronouns for God fit my experience of God.  Neither “Father” this, “She” that, nor “God Hirself” quite seems to do it.

Not that my gender-confusion over God is a bad thing.  To the contrary, a singular notion of the image of God is so far beyond my comprehension that having no good pronouns actually works better than forcing inept ones.genderqueer

To me, God is combination of two or more elements: a stable, all-encompassing entity of spirit-force who is amorphous and certainly un-gendered in any conventional sense, juxtaposed with a hundred trillion images of all of the diversity of creation: animals, plants, earth, sky, and humans too.  In that sense, that of specific manifestations of God, characteristics like gender, sex, identity, race, ability, outward appearance, to name a few, may be in fact intricately connected to the fundamental nature of God.

Meanwhile, here’s what some of the internets say about genderqueerness, helpfully edited by me to be inclusive towards deities.

Wikipedia:

Genderqueer and intergender are catchall terms for gender identities other than man and woman. People [and/or deities] who identify as genderqueer may think of themselves as being both male and female, as being neither male nor female, or as falling completely outside the gender binary. Some wish to have certain features of the opposite sex and not all characteristics; others want it all.

Fact-index:

…There are different modes of being genderqueer, and it is an evolving concept. Some believe they are a little of both or feel they have no gender at all. Others believe that gender is a social construct, and choose not to adhere to that construct. Some genderqueers do fit into the stereotypical gender roles expected of their sex [and/or divinity], but still reject gender as a social construct. Still other people [and/or deities] identify as genderqueer since…they do not fit many of society’s expectations for the gender in which they identify…

A God who falls completely outside the gender-binary?  Who transcends the expectations and limitations of society?  Who manifests certain features of masculinity and femininity at once?  Now that makes sense to me.  God is genderqueer!

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3 Responses to “God is genderqueer”

  1. Fran Says:

    I was just talking about you with my friend Tim. He is in Chicago and I am sending him this link.

    Once again, you never fail to write provocative and moving posts.

  2. George Says:

    Hey Tom,

    Good thought-provoking stuff. With 60+ years behind me, I have to say that my direct experience of God has come in many forms. Sometimes God the Spirit, where gender is irrelevant an experience that has come to me sining in a vast choir, or on the (literal) mountaintop. Sometimes God the Parent (sometimes Mother, sometimes Father). The few times I have had a visual experience of the Presence it has been of God the Son–Jesus, silently with me–a classical bearded man (I imagine this meme is deeply implanted in those of us who grew up in church in my generation, that’s the image I have, so that’s the one that is manifested) .

    So yes, my personal experience of God is as masculine, feminine, and gender-irrelevant.

    Thanks for reminding me.

  3. Tim Says:

    Hi, Tom,

    I’m Fran’s very sloooow friend, Tim–a fellow Chicagoan who can’t seem to stay off the road lately. Am currently in Florida, which always turns out to be less warm (in every sense of the word) than one imagines. Seeing Blago’s lead-footed stunt work from afar is rather odd, but also enlightening–he really is a little guy!

    This post is most intriguing/provocative. When I started my blog, I received a very complimentary note from a UCC pastor on the West Coast. She chided me for referring to God in the masculine and I fully empathized with her sensitivities. Yet swapping pronouns indiscrimately or creating neuters (e.g., “womyn”) just felt hokey and ineffective–actually calling attention to deficits rather than addressing them. So I stuck with the male thing on the premise that in English, non-specific gender gets the masculine by default. It was too insufficient a solution to even claim it as a compromise, but it seemed the best–the only–thing to do.

    God is gender irrelevant. As the source of all things, He is all things, and being all things makes Him no one thing specifically. I regret that we’ve lost that profound truth in our overcompensatory efforts to fix a stubborn tongue.

    PS: I’m glad past glad that Fran’s sent me this way, and look forward to spending a LOT more time with you once I’m back in the warmth of my own study and town!


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