Reclaiming Masculine Christianity Pt. 6

One of the most transformational teachings a Christian can find in their lifetime is that they’re made in the image of God. It brings about a whole new perspective for them in the way they are called to live. This teaching, called the Imago Dei, reveals the beauty of every single human being and the eternal worth in which they were created. One of the greatest flaws in Western Christianity continues to be that we have adapted Christianity into a mostly patriarchal teaching. We have forgotten that God both transcends and includes both the masculine and the feminine into God’s very being. It would be very ignorant and wrong to say, “And, God was made into the image of man and females get the shaft.”

What this teaching really reveals to men is that true masculinity must not only include the masculine energy that we are much more comfortable with, but it demands that we also welcome the feminine energy of God. Things like compassion, nurturing, the comforting of others, and grieving are not only beneficial to our true spiritual state, but are necessities. When we look at the word ‘compassion’ in Hebrew, Raham, it means the womb of God‘. One of the names of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, the Paraclete, means ‘the comforter.’ The Paraclete is the very thing that is responsible for the giving birth of life into all human beings.

True masculinity calls men to a deeper place of spiritual union. While men have learned how to love God with their minds (although there are many brilliant female teachers), it is pretty safe to say that, for the most part, women are leading the way in loving God with their hearts, and souls. The union of body, spirit, emotion, and thought is one of holistic transformation.

The imagery of the Trinity is one of a family. We have God the father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit Mother. One of the truly great images we see in the Bible is what theologians call the Perichoresis, in which no single spot in the Trinity claims authority over the other one. They are participating in a self-giving dance, where none of them claim the Godhead spot, but affirm that all mutually important. This teaching of the Trinity paves the way for not only a more beautiful understanding of God, but the roles of men and women in society. Because God is of Tri-unity and perfect equality, then mother is equal with father, and son. Male is equal with female. There is neither male, nor female. Just as women are supposed to learn and support men, so men are called to called to learn from and support women. What we see in the Bible is that there is no superiority in gender, but an equal life of self-emptying.

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4 thoughts on “Reclaiming Masculine Christianity Pt. 6

  1. episcotheque says:

    Thanks for this, Mike. Somehow I end up reading a lot more females talking about feminine spirituality than men talking about masculine spirituality (the Eldredges excepted). Maybe because I’m female… Regardless, I really enjoyed hearing your perspective — mine is similar. Getting over the all-male all-the-time ideas of God I managed to pick up here and there was really important for my spiritual development, and it’s an ongoing process.

    I wonder if an implication of what you’ve written would be that “true femininity” demands welcoming the masculine energy of God. In some ways I really like that — I know I could afford to hone my outer strength, say, and I’m all about using my intellect as well as my emotions — but I also wonder if there’s a danger of doing damage to the feminine Other. Would elision of femininity and masculinity end in an awesome mystical union, or in just another subjugation of femininity? Hmm.

    I’d also be curious how people who identify as queer, not particularly masculine or feminine, would read this.

    Looking forward to more.

    • Mike Friesen says:

      I think you’re right, the energy was meant to work both ways. I don’t think it’s either/or, but inclusive. What do you think?

      • episcotheque says:

        I think gender functions better on a continuum than in a forced binary, and that that’s probably the case here, too (like you say, not either/or). And of course I can’t separate my gender from my personality, so things like my being a Feeling type or an introvert or what-have-you are also bound up in how nurturing or “heart”-led or comfortable with grief I may or may not be.

  2. For a me a big part of getting over the supposed masculinity of God was also getting over the idea that God is a person. Many Christians have no other way of relating to God other than imagining him/her as a person, human-like, only much bigger/stronger and invisible. In this was they reverse the passage you quote and make it: God is made in the image of man.

    Of course, God is not a man, or a woman, or a person. God can be experienced as both a personal force and an impersonal one.

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