It’s a new year, which is as good of a time as any to start a new writing schedule. After some thought, I’ve developed some ideas that will mean posts will appear 4 times a week (so not just when I feel like it!). Happy-making will stay on Sundays, of course, as I really enjoy having the chance to break down the week past before leaping into the week to come.
On Wednesdays, I’ll publish commentary on a feminist/religious issue from the week. (This week I'll be responding to John Piper's "clarification" on spousal abuse.)
On Fridays, I’ll highlight a post from some place else that inspired me through the week, and add my own commentary (if warranted). If you come across a post you think I should feature, pass it along to me!
Mondays are going to be the biggest change. After publishing my post last week on “worshiping a monstrous God,” something clicked in my head – more often than not, the image that we have of God in modern American evangelicalism is the source of oppression. In many conceptions, God is a vindictive, malicious, misogynist creature. The God of Todd Akin, of Paul Ryan, of the church leaders and politicians who proclaim that God sent rape or tragedy to “teach us a lesson” does not resemble the God I know, particularly when it comes to issues concerning women.
Their God can’t possibly call women to serve in a leadership capacity. But my God commissioned Deborah as judge over all Israel, and chose women to carry the first news of the resurrection to the disciples – who had, remember, abandoned Jesus.
Their God uses dead children as punishment for same-sex love. My God doesn’t care who you love, as long as you love them well.
But where did their image or conception of God come from? And what does this image of God do for us as Americans, as Christians, and as members of the human race?
It is Anne Lamott who says, “You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”
So it is these images of God that I am going to explore in a new series: Account and Countenance.
Every other Monday (starting two weeks from now), I’m going to start exploring what it means to be “made in the Image of God” as women – what does it mean that these aggressive, violent, vindictive images of God that we get from John Piper, Mark Driscoll, and James Dobson are also tied to a masculine identity for God? In the words of Janet Martin Soskice, “can a feminist call God ‘Father’?” And how have these images of God impacted individual lives and individual women?
These are ideas that have been percolating for years now – I wrote about the image of God as a communal being and what Trinitarianism means for us as a church (and then applied that to Harry Potter because I’m cool like that) in my Master's thesis. Not all of this series will be that academic, but it will be part of it.
The fun part of this involves you, my readers! I want to hear from you in the form of guest posts or maybe even just short interviews – what is your image of God? When you close your eyes and think on the word “God,” what do you see (or maybe hear or taste)? How have others used the image of God in your life? How have these ideas about God affected your life? Those are some big broad questions, but that’s on purpose. I want to share individual stories, individual lives, because I believe that lived experience is often the most powerful and the most persuasive of arguments. Seeing how these big broad theologies impact individual lives and individual people is the way to develop a cogent discussion as to how we can change the image of God in America for the better.
If you wish to contribute, shoot me an email! I’ll find a spot for you on my calendar. I’m looking forward to this conversation and I hope that we can arrive at a better, more positive image of the God of love, not the God of malice, not a devil in disguise.
Happy 2013, readers!
(Thanks again to Jason Boyett for the graphic, which I'll be using throughout this series!)