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Thoughts?
Presbyterians' new words for Trinity


THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

June 20, 2006

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The divine Trinity - "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" - could also be known as "Mother, Child and Womb" or "Rock, Redeemer, Friend" at some Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) services under an action yesterday by the church's national assembly.

Delegates to the meeting voted to "receive" a policy paper on gender-inclusive language for the Trinity, a step short of approving it.

That means church officials can propose experimental liturgies with alternative phrasings for the Trinity, but congregations won't be required to use them.

"This does not alter the church's theological position, but provides an educational resource to enhance the spiritual life of our membership," legislative committee chair Nancy Olthoff, an Iowa laywoman, said during yesterday's debate.

The assembly narrowly defeated a conservative bid to refer the paper back for further study.

A panel that has worked on the issue since 2000 said the classical language for the Trinity should still be used, but added that Presbyterians also should seek "fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God" to "expand the church's vocabulary of praise and wonder."

One reason is that language limited to the Father and Son "has been used to support the idea that God is male and that men are superior to women," the panel said.

Conservatives responded that the church should stick close to the way God is named in the Bible and noted that Jesus' most famous prayer was addressed to "Our Father."

Besides "Mother, Child and Womb" and "Rock, Redeemer, Friend," proposed Trinity options drawn from biblical material include: "Lover, Beloved, Love"; "Creator, Savior, Sanctifier"; and "King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Love."

Early in yesterday's business session, the Presbyterian assembly sang a revised version of a familiar doxology, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow" that avoided male nouns and pronouns for God.

Youth delegate Dorothy Hill, a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, was uncomfortable with changing the Trinity wording.

She said the paper "suggests viewpoints that seem to be in tension with what our church has always held to be true about our Trinitarian God."

Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.

© MBM

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Originally posted by MBM:
Thoughts?
Presbyterians' new words for Trinity


THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

June 20, 2006

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The divine Trinity - "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" - could also be known as "Mother, Child and Womb" or "Rock, Redeemer, Friend" at some Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) services under an action yesterday by the church's national assembly.

Delegates to the meeting voted to "receive" a policy paper on gender-inclusive language for the Trinity, a step short of approving it.

That means church officials can propose experimental liturgies with alternative phrasings for the Trinity, but congregations won't be required to use them.

"This does not alter the church's theological position, but provides an educational resource to enhance the spiritual life of our membership," legislative committee chair Nancy Olthoff, an Iowa laywoman, said during yesterday's debate.

The assembly narrowly defeated a conservative bid to refer the paper back for further study.

A panel that has worked on the issue since 2000 said the classical language for the Trinity should still be used, but added that Presbyterians also should seek "fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God" to "expand the church's vocabulary of praise and wonder."

One reason is that language limited to the Father and Son "has been used to support the idea that God is male and that men are superior to women," the panel said.

Conservatives responded that the church should stick close to the way God is named in the Bible and noted that Jesus' most famous prayer was addressed to "Our Father."

Besides "Mother, Child and Womb" and "Rock, Redeemer, Friend," proposed Trinity options drawn from biblical material include: "Lover, Beloved, Love"; "Creator, Savior, Sanctifier"; and "King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Love."

Early in yesterday's business session, the Presbyterian assembly sang a revised version of a familiar doxology, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow" that avoided male nouns and pronouns for God.

Youth delegate Dorothy Hill, a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, was uncomfortable with changing the Trinity wording.

She said the paper "suggests viewpoints that seem to be in tension with what our church has always held to be true about our Trinitarian God."

Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.

Many churches have been using inclusive language for decades now. The PCUSA hymnal was changed to be more inclusive about 15 years ago.
Theologically speaking, one of the issues in Trinitarian formulas has to deal with what is referred to as the economy of the deity.

Of the formulas given in the article, "Mother, Child and Womb" or "Mother (Parent), Child, Spirit" seem to be the best substitute for "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Technically speaking, the others to my mind do not represent the same economy of relationship. Theologically, all three persona of the trinity participate equally in creation, redemption, and sanctification, thus, there is some problem using them as titles for members of the trinity.

However, I do like "Lover, Beloved, and Love." Relationally, it is right on. I think that I would be willing to accept it as a reasonable formula as well barring it violating the afore mentioned economic concerns.
I remember this church (I think it was a Liberal Catholic Church parish) who taught that the Trinity was composed of three members of the Godhead each having a masculine and feminine side. God the Mother was the feminine side of God the Father, God the Daughter was the feminine side of God the Son, and God the Holy Soul was the feminine side of God the Holy Spirit.

They believed that the Godhead itself is neutral and these genderal energies are simply modes of the Godhead.

This will surprise a lot of Christians, but this isn't unbiblical either. There are many examples in the Bible of God being described in feminine terms as well as masculine. The Word (whom Christians interpret as God the Word) is also described in many feminine ways in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit is described most femininely, in the original Aramaic language of the Bible, Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is a feminine word and is described as a "Comforter" and "Counselor".

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