A footnote in a book I started reading last night (see last night's post--I chose!!!!), The Sense of the Call: A Sabbath way of life for those who serve god, the Church and the world by Marva Dawn, addressed the fact that due to the desire for gender neutral language, pronouns referring to God are no longer capitalized. And, as usual, it got me to thinking about my own reasoning for continuing to capitalize pronouns referring to our Triune God and how I actually feel about this whole issue.
So I thought I'd explain what any reader of this blog has obviously noticed. I always, always capitalize any word that refers to the Person of the Godhead. Always have, always will. Indeed, I capitalize a lot of words regarding God. There's a sense of Holy Other when it comes to God for me, of fear and reverence that isn't possible for any finite creature. He is God, after all. He is Creator, Savior, Redeemer, Lord. He is everything. That's it, you know. He is everything. Everything we cannot be. Everything Carolyn cannot be. Yep, probably I could say carolyn in counterpoint and I wouldn't be far off the mark. Only the truth that He lives in me gives me the backbone and heart to capitalize my own name in a way.
And I think it funny, really I do, that it was in effort NOT to exclude women that the decision was made to stop capitalizing the pronouns of God. Not funny haha, but funny strange. Funny, like 'You have GOT to be kidding me!' The moment we don't set God apart, the moment we don't see Him as distinct from any other him there is is the moment that he (and all he's) are better and more important than she's. But He is as far from he as we are from ants. Are you following me? The capital H makes all the difference. At least to me. I see it and know--KNOW--we're talking about the One who transcends gender.
But I have a couple of things to say about gender while on the subject:
First, we cannot pretend the Incarnate was anything but male. We must start there. The One who gave His life for us was a Man, Son, Son of Man, Son of God. And He called God Father. Troubling as this is to some who have troubling relationships with their own fathers, Jesus was born of a human woman and a heavenly Father. That's just the truth. Obviously, biology dictated that it couldn't have been the other way around and this doesn't mean that God--who made us ALL in His image, both male AND female--isn't both and above genders. But we are told to call God Father too. I can't imagine calling God Mother. I just can't. The end.
Secondly, when it comes to being included, no matter what the Old Testament or Paul says about women, Jesus Christ, the Incarnate, was inclusive. Incredibly inclusive. Sure, His 12 disciples were all men, but His first miracle was at His mother's request, His last words at the cross were to her, and His first words after His resurrection were to women as well. Women are treated in the gospels exactly opposite to what society dictated they be treated. Jesus re-imagined the role of women, right in the heart of what He was doing--Mary sitting at His feet, listening rather than in the kitchen serving, Mary pouring perfume on His feet as an act of worship. Women are in on it, not off in another room. I read the gospel and I need go no further to discover that I'm free to be whoever I, a woman, can be.
That's enough. The Capital H does all of this. He does this. He is not merely another man, another male like every other male, every other H. Never has been. He is God. He is God; there is no other.