Subtle Messages of Not-as-Good

13 May, 2012 Posted by liascholl

I attended a church today, at the Seaside Interfaith Chapel in Seaside, Florida. The building is stunning, as you can see by the photo above. The architecture is simple, and everything is white, which gives it a beach feel, but it also gives it a graceful feel, simple even.

Inside, and the service was packed. I don’t know if it’s usually packed, but Mother’s Day may have been one of the reasons. The interior of the church is as beautiful as the outside.

I sat in the back, like any good Baptist would, right by the door, just in case the pastor said anything that would make me very angry. Of course, I didn’t leave. I even talked with the woman sitting next to me—she told me that she hadn’t been to church in years, and that she was feeling a little empty. Through the sermon, I thought about her.

The music leader opened with his guitar. He strummed gently and sweetly. I was nearly lulled into submission.

And then the preaching began. The pastor asked, “How many of you have mothers?” Then he said, “Fathers, remember that you are the first view your child has of God.” To the mothers, he said, “Mothers, you are the model for relationship that your children will have.”

What? Fathers, you have the image of God? Women, you don’t?

He went on to tell the story of a nagging mother. Then told dads not to be absent. Then talked about God as father. He added that sometimes mothers can show us Jesus’ love.

It was not a bad sermon. There was no discussion of women being subordinate. There was no discussion of men being the head of their household. It was friendly. Grace-filled even. But it seems to me that nice, grace-filled sermons are probably worse than the mean ones. Because, no matter what, the message he said was, “God looks like boys/men. Not like girls/women.” It was a subtle message of not-as-good.

5 Responses to Subtle Messages of Not-as-Good

  1. Interesting perspective. It opens up a whole other line of reasoning though. It really does trouble me that we try to define God by our perspective. I read a good small book by A.W. Tozer a few years ago called “Knowledge of the Holy”, actually it was a wedding present from my wife, anyway… He reminds that although God created communication, humankind has always struggled with describing God. Case in point, the prophets always compared God to something familiar… I guess what I am saying is that a God confined by our understanding of gender makes God small. God the Father yes … but more correctly God the Creator … beyond definition and larger than our understanding. That image alone reveals a God with no boundaries to Grace and compassion…. An idea that appeals to all. Have a blessed Sabbath.

  2. liascholl says:

    I don’t disagree that Creator is a better term for God—inclusive of the magnitude and relationship we have as humans with God. I don’t want to lose the whole thought of God as parent, though. I experience God much like a good parent.

    Thanks for commenting.

  3. liascholl says:

    And besides, I’m not really so much talking about our understanding of God. It’s the understanding that human beings, both male and female, give us a view of the nature of God, because we’re all created in God’s image.

  4. Pingback: Lia Claire Scholl » Blog Archive » Why I Am a Baptist

  5. Pingback: Why I Am a Baptist

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