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Editor’s Note: This is one of the Top 15 CBE Writing Contest winners. Enjoy!
Standing in an old church with a red prayer book in my hands, the voices of the small number of worshippers seemed to magically fill the high, vaulted ceilings. I had recently moved and was visiting Episcopal churches searching for a good fit. Each week, I crossed my forehead, lips, and heart as the priest read the gospel in the middle of the sanctuary. Each week, I took communion with strangers who I recognized as spiritual siblings. And each week, we recited the Nicene Creed.
Breath - Lungs - Tears - Eyes - Christian
I felt all the breath go out of my lungs and tears brim in my eyes. Only once before had I publicly heard the Christian God being referred to with a feminine pronoun. Then, just as it was that gray Sunday morning, the experience was powerful.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a church that affirmed women. I saw women preach (albeit not regularly), we supported female missionaries, and my youth pastor saw and cultivated the gift of ministry and preaching within me. I was surrounded by strong, Christian women—outspoken, well-versed, and loving. And when they couldn’t find a man to play Ebenezer Scrooge in our church’s rendition of A Christmas Carol, they changed the main character to Eleanor. I don’t carry the baggage that comes from being raised in a completely complementarian context. Marriage wasn’t the supreme goal for my life. I was never instructed to submit to a man. A ceiling was never set for me.
Environment - God - Church - Translations - Bible
Yet, even in this environment, God was always male. The church didn’t use gender inclusive translations of the Bible. I never heard sermons about Ruth, Deborah, or Hannah. Whenever “men” appeared in a Bible verse, it was always followed by the comment, “You know, that...
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