House for All Sinners and Saints

  • House for All Sinners and Saints
    I am the mission developer for House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. We are an urban liturgical community with a progressive yet deeply rooted theological imagination. Check out our site for more info.

Cafe Press store for HFASS merch

  • Buy House for All Sinners and Saints stuff!
    You can go to our Cafe Press store and buy t-shirts and other stuff with out Parchment with a nail at the top logo on the front - and "radical protestants; nailing sh*t to the church door since 1517" on the back.
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books and magazines i dig



  • Chris Enstad
    The blog of a dad, husband, Lutheran pastor, emerging, failing, conversing, confessing.
  • Ian Mobsby
    Ian is the Anglican Priest at Moot in London.
  • Matt Stone
    This is a great blog from Down Under which explores Christianity and religious pluralism
  • Luther Punk
    Like Ward Cleaver with tattoos
  • Ian Adams
    Ian is the priest of the MayBe community in Oxford...I think he's pretty stinkin' cool.
  • Rachael
    cool chick...check her out
  • MayBe
    This is a great emerging church community we spent time with in Oxford. Their website is well worth a look, especially the page "the spirit of MayBe"
  • Mad Priest
    If I'm the Sarcastic Lutheran, he's certainly the Sarcastic Anglican...
  • Steve Collins
    Steve's an interesting and articulate emerging church brit.
  • The Mercy Seat
    This is a really groovey new church plant in NorthEast Minneapolis, amazing jazz liturgy. Their website is well worth checking out

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« Sermon on the Sinner Woman | Main | Sermon on the "Good" Samaritan »


as a proud red-head, i find your example to be offensive. j...

but ancient Egyptians did hold red-heads to be divinely favored. just saying

actually, i find your examples really helpful. thanks for sharing.

I like to think that God transcends gender, race, nationality, and any other label. I believe that once we see Him face-to-face (metaphorically speaking, of course), He won't look like anything we could ever imagine.

I still use the male pronouns when talking about God, but it's not because I know for an absolute fact that He has a member. I guess it's just what people are used to.

I went to a seminary that had a policy that we were to use inclusive language, even for God. So instead of using male pronouns, a lot of us inserted God in there place. I personally think that it is clumsy. The problem is an English problem, that we do not have a good neuter pronoun. It just doesn't cut it sometimes.

Haha, that cracked me up! But really it is a serious issue, one that I was thinking about today. I'm a lousy feminist too, in that while it seems to me that using He isn't right using She seems worse. Probably because Jesus was definitive male, and I've known nothing but male God since birth. Still I do wish there were better words to use here. I don't think God gets offended either way though - Julian of Norwich referred to God as her Mother and Christ as her Sister. There is a strong nurturing aspect to God. And in her Genesis trilogy, Madeleine L'Engle used the Hebrew word "El" as a pronoun for God to avoid gender stereotyping. I don't know if I'll adopt that but I quite like it!

In a class I took in college called Women in the Christian Tradition, one of my classmates tried to argue that there was biblical evidence that Jesus was a literal, physical hermaprhodite. Even my professor, who was a fairly radcially feminist nun, looked at her like she was nuts.

While part of the problem with the English language, part of the problem is the traditional, patriarchal system the Christian church as arisen from. Men make the rules, and they get to determine all the pronouns and such.

While I believe that God is genderless, or at least that I can see or understand God's gender, I still mostly use male pronouns. It's easier and less awkward that just using God all the time. But when I pray outloud, I do make a conscious effort not to use "Father" over much. There is so much more to God than that.

I appreciate your insights! I too struggle with how to speak about God. Although I do tend to stick with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit when saying the invocation or a benediction. Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer is exactly what you said--more a job description.

I know this will cause a firestorm, but I found that WIlliam Young's inisghts into the Trinity in "The Shack" helpful in envisioning God in both male and female ways. Yes, his theology is modalistic..but as Groucho might say, "as heresies go, a little modalism ain't that bad."

I love all the euphemisms that Jews use in worship rather than speaking in ineffable tetragrammaton -- AND they know they are euphemisms. We (Christian-ish folk) have forgotten why GOD and LORD are written in all caps in English translations. (Look it up if you don't know what I"m talking about)

I also love the fact that the prayer book used most at my spouse's (Conservative) synagogue uses NO third person pronouns for G-d at all! Prayers are to G-d, not about G-d. :)

I like where you're going with this. In the Tanakh, the Hebrew words for Holy Spirit is "Ruach HaKodesh". The word "ruach" is a feminine word. That troubles alot of Christians.


@ Susan Phillips: that strikes me as a good idea at the moment: maybe we should just stop talking ABOUT God altogether! This gender thing is pretty tricky. Miroslav Volf's chapter on the topic of God's gender in Exclusion and Embrace, I found to be very good. Yes, our language is not only limiting, but also very often misleading.. perhaps less is more in this case.

A couple of thoughts . . .I agree that substituting "God" for pronouns is awkward - and it still leaves us using a male word. Goddess is afterall the feminine form of the word. I use He and She when referring to the Holy, but can only imagine the response if I were to offer a prayer to our Holy Goddess! For official stuff I like the Riverside Church formula, "In the Name of the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit, One God, Mother of us all."

Sometimes I don’t know where the problem of language deficiency ends and the problem of patriarchy begins. On the one hand, if masculine titles like “father” and “son” and “king” are the only words on hand (in the hymns, in the prayers, in the reading, in the sermon), then they become the ONLY words that can describe God. But then on the other hand, naming toward God in feminine titles like "mother," “queen” and "Sophia" disturbs church-'n'society's long-time gig of controlling women's power and potential. In a mindset where "feminine" and "female" are often "less-than" in comparison to men (less rational, less initiative-taking, less impressive), gender-inclusive language can feel awkward and even threatening. And even while we can talk about God as lover, friend, weaver, shepherd, and potter, I’ll be the first person to admit images of men are the first to spring to my mind—even though I typically eschew “he” language when speaking of her.

Uff dah.

Thanks so much for articulating what I have felt for some time! I've recently started substituting "Loving God" for gender specific works for me..

I love this image! Where did you find it? Who's painting is it???

Thank you for reminding me of the trap I can fall into when assigning God any sort of gender role. I've been doing Ignatian Spiritual Direction with a priest at my church for about six months. Each time we meet, he asks me how God felt when I was in God's presence in prayer. I generally always used "He" and "His" to describe God's presence. Today my priest stopped me as I described God as "nurturing" and pointed out that a nurturing presence is actually one that is more feminine than masculine. I know men can be nurturing and I would never say that they are not, but I was struck by my priest's point. Too often, I think, we let the patriarchal attitude of the Church dominate our perception of the Omnipotent Lord. God is everything- not male, not female, but the divine mix of all the wonderful characteristics that compose us humans when we are at our best.

This is an interesting, thoughtful post; it's also quite dangerous.

Christ calls God "Father"; He assigns the role of "Mother" to the Blessed Virgin. Christ never suggests that John consider God his Mother; rather, He gives John Mary. Biblically, there are three (perhaps four) overarching Mothers:

Eve; The Virgin Mary; the Church; and possibly Israel (depending on how you translate Revelations 12:1).

Considering the fact that the Church is identified as the Bride of the Lord (female), it would make sense that her spouse (God) is very much a male. We mirror this image in earthly marriage; the husband, symbolizing the Lord, is charged with ruling and protecting his Bride.

God is a Father, and thus male. The Church is cast as decidedly female, and must marry a male.

Jesus called God the Creator Father because Jesus was the Son. Makes sense to me.

Jesus was Human as well as God and male. The male pronoun is appropriate.

God has no gender and yet is all genders.

Have gender isues?


Father, Son, and Holy Spirit do not correspond to Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are Names of God which are revealed, not analogies or projections. (not to mention, it is the Name (singular) of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit). Creator is, on the other hand, a way of speaking about God according to something which He does.

Plus, to say 'Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer' is a theological confusion. Isn't Jesus the Creator (through whom the entire universe was created)? Isn't the Father our sustainer and redeemer? Is the Holy Spirit any less the Creator of the universe?

Obviously to call God Father is not to say that God is male. There is no gender in God. And I think you're absolutely correct to stand against such an opinion. This is part of the reason why it is canonically forbidden to create an icon of the Father (strong statements were made by the Orthodox when certain cultures began to display God as an old man with a beard...)

Nevertheless, even girls become 'Sons' of God in Christ, and that is important.

EVEN girls?!? Wow. Thanks.

I don't think you got the gyst. What i'm saying is that the scriptures and tradition say that while girls remain girls, and boys remain boys, both become 'Sons' of God.

I think that 'HaShem' is wonderful.

I had thought that the Hebrew people used the word 'HaShem' because they didn't want to pronounce the Tetragam that was revealed to Moses (the name was uttered only once a year in the Holy of Holies by the high priest -any other utterance of the holy name was cause for death).

Btw according to the scriptures God has a womb.

I think an interesting question to investigate might be the possible relationship between authority (for ex. sola scriptura - especially in english...) and the tendency to take what we've been discussing and say 'God is a man' or 'God is a woman'.

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