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Language about God

In Sunday’s email, I started working through how we talk about God using gendered language. I say “started” because that’s a long conversation and I have much reading and research still to do myself. For example, I want to know how languages that do not have gendered pronouns handle this issue. This book is also coming out in the fall and I have already preordered it. 

However, at the very end of the email, I mentioned that some of my professors at Fuller use “Godself” to reflect back on God instead of “Himself.” This is probably tagged as a progressive move by many and, honestly, I have not dug into the roots of this idea or anything yet. However, what I like about it is that the language reminds me that God is not a single person. God is not an entity or being who lives alone, out in eternity. 

Instead, we believe that God is a Trinity: one in three and three in one. We believe that the Trinity exists in love and fellowship that is perfect and that love overflows into creation and our relationship with God. Using “Himself” allows us to draw conclusions that do not match what we believe.

A.W. Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” When we think about God, do we imagine a single being or a Trinity existing in a community that we are welcomed into? I am all for language that helps us reshape our imagination about God in more accurate ways, even if that means changing our language. 

Do I use “Godself”? Only occasionally in school papers for now. But I think it’s worth considering the detractions and merits of the language that we use. Everyone does not agree though; I had more unsubscribes after that email than any other email I’ve sent out. But my husband responded and said that he didn’t know any of the things I discussed so mission accomplished in my opinion. 

*one of my goals for this space is to share what I’m thinking about, even before I have arrived at conclusions. I want to look at different aspects of an idea, include a lot of nuance, recognize that maybe we need to alternate between ideas. Think along with me, ok?

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