Food For Thought -
Articles Submitted by Parishioners
The following pieces are quoted from the last two editions (Nov 18/May 19) of PASTORAL RENEWAL EXCHANGE published from St Joseph's, Dinnington, South Yorkshire
THE GENDER OF GOD
All mysticism and theology works off the premise that while God can be known, God can never be thought of, nor spoken of in any adequate way. This is also true regarding God’s gender. All gender terms we apply to God (‘father’, ‘mother’, ‘he’ ‘she’) are likewise highly inadequate. God is neither a male nor a female. Nor is God genderless, an ‘it’. Masculinity and femininity both reflect God and thus, although we cannot ever find either concepts or words to capture this, God is somehow both male and female. How? We don’t know. All concepts and language are inadequate here. There is no way to imagine, nor speak of God’s gender.
WE LIVE IN EACH OTHER’S SHADOW
We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. Any true ecological approach must become a social approach. ‘Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation.’ (South African Bishops’ Conference) (LS 14)
‘We need a conversation which includes everyone' … To what might the Pope be referring here? What kind of conversation and with what focus? In his writings he reveals a relentless belief in the sanctity of all things, of all creatures, of all people, of the whole cosmos. There are no exceptions to this vision. He is on fire with this deep compulsion about the presence of God everywhere. Spreading the joy of this good news is the constant motivation that drives his energy; it is constantly revealed in all he says and does.
THE CHURCH AS INSTITUTION
The Church with its authority structure, its bishops and priests, churches, schools and other organisations like Cafod is viewed as an institution and judged as such. While it may be viewed in the light of holiness, generosity and care many might point to the less favourable characteristics which it shares with other institutions. Institutions in society have changed enormously in the last three hundred years and attitudes to them have changed dramatically in modern times.
The main institutions in society were based on male authority dictating to those below them in a social system where everyone knew their place and in large measure accepted it. Women were on a second level when it came to leadership and power, only allowed to influence things indirectly. They had the shape of a pyramid with a small exclusive elite controlling them. At the base level were individuals of low status with little education and freedom, well used to being told what to do or how to behave. The elite and upper strata took on the responsibility of setting the ideals and values which were claimed to be necessary for the smooth running of society.
Page 1 of 2