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angels gender

Does The Gender of Angels Matter?

Take at sunrise on the Hill of Tara St Patrick’s day 2016. A sun angel

My lovely young youth group and I were looking at Angels in the Bible the other Sunday evening and wondering about what gender they were or if they were any gender at all.

The story of when the angels visit Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah, which is often used as one of the key stories to condemn homosexuality doesn’t make sense when looked at regarding gender. So the angels turn up, the men of the town want to have sex with them, Lot is says No but then offers his daughters. Now surely if these men of the town were homosexual being offered women wouldn’t quite hit the mark for them. So I wondered if this story was being used out of context, like too often happens???

The vicar who supports me with this youth group said that he thought that the original languages didn’t have genders and that these came in with Latin translations. But he couldn’t remember for sure.

The two things that struck me were that

One we are now obsessed with gender with there being numerous different gender types that people can identify with. Is this a throw back to things like this? Things like when it was important for spiritual beings like Angels and God to be defined by a gender, by a certain sex?

Two that biblical angels were powerful, strong, mighty warriors, faithful messengers, obedient. All traits that are often associated with men. Not so long back women were seen as weak, easily manipulated, unfaithful, disobedient, needing protection.

So I do wonder if those in the Church who wanted power made sure that all the traits to aspire to were “male”, so both Angels and God had to be male. Also I do wonder if our obsession with the myriad of different genders is because we are searching to get back to that place where people were people and gender didn’t matter, but because there is such a strong emphasis on the male/female divide that for now there has to be these other things to identify with.

Imagine if we didn’t care about gender, if we just let people be as they are – strong/weak, faithful/unfaithful, able to protect/needing protection, etc etc. What would it be like if no one worried if you were male, female, trans, queer, asexual, and more? I wonder if we could all live much more at peace with ourselves then too.

So reread some of those stories and try not to see the Angels as male and see how you get on

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change expectations

Changing Attitudes

Last night we started watching Liar on Netflix and it made me realise how much women’s attitudes to sex on a date have changed – for the better.

Synopsis – A teacher goes on a date with a surgeon and accuses him of assault the next day.

When I was dating 35+ years ago I know me and my mates would half expect that we would have sex at the end of the night to “pay for the night out” so to speak. That didn’t mean we were compliant but just that we almost did not respect ourselves. I know that if many of my generation had woken up the following morning, like the Laura does, and believed we had not given consent but had been raped we would have just got on with our day. We would not have gone to the Police. Possibly even would not have told anyone. It was just what happened.

Even though the series looks as if it will unfold into something much deeper for me I am hooked by the way Laura stands up for herself. But also that her sister, Katy, at least in this first episode, is willing to support her. I know that even my most caring friends 35+ years ago would have just told me to get over it.

In fact I was assaulted by a boyfriend, and quite badly knocked about, and was encouraged by my boss, a Turkish hotel owner, to go to the Police about it. It did go to court but only because I had a lovely female Police officer who would not let me drop it. But the judge’s verdict was that it was my own fault for staying with this man. I’m not sure if things have changed that much there!

But for me it was seeing Laura, and I’ve seen too with my daughter and her friends, that many of them will now say ‘enough it enough and we expect to be treated with respect’.

So even if the many attitudes have not changed I was encouraged to see the protagonist in this series and also what I see from my daughter and her friends no longer being as me and most of my friends were.

Maybe it should not be the women who have to stand up for themselves but it is still a better way than my generation that just accepted having sex as part of a night out.

Categories
questioning Triune God

Does it really matter?

The grounds of Hawarden Castle. Photographed by myself July 2022

I’ve got an important post to write so I am procrastinating. So this one comes as my not quite so controversial post but still up there.

What does it matter what gender or sexuality God is? Have you ever thought that? Or do you just go along with what you have been conditioned by church and by society?

Jesus calls God Father but was that just to make it easier for people to understand? Would he have made things harder in a male dominated society if he had called God “Parent” rather than Father? Jesus himself compares himself to a mother hen wanting to draw Jerusalem under his wing. Also God made man and woman in their image. It isn’t that man was made in God’s image and woman was anything left over. It says clearly that man and woman were made in God’s image.

I believe “he” is used because of not being able to use “it” as that seems impersonal. Of course now the word for someone not idenitfying solely as male or female is “they”. God is all and so must cover all genders and none so they would be a much better pronoun to use – even if it is confusing after so many hundreds and thousands of years of God being he.

The triune God is not like the gods of Greek, Roman, Norse and other mythologies which have many gods, some male and some female. The triune God covers all genders. It must do otherwise they couldn’t have made man and woman in their image.

But does it really matter? Is it because of something deep within that makes us want to talk to a male god not a female one? Or a transgender one?

Also what about Jesus and his sexuality? In The Last Temptation of Christ there is a controversial scene of Jesus imagining having sex with Mary Magdalene; a temptation he never succumbed to. But what if Jesus was asexual, not interested in sex with either men or women? Or what if he was gay? Perhaps it was because of his asexuality or homosexuality that he was not betrothed at thirty years of age?

But my point here – as well as hopefully making you think – is to wonder why it matters what sex God is, what sexuality Jesus had. Why do people get so upset if one says God might be a woman? or Jesus might be gay?

Surely if God is totally amazing and made the whole universe and made us in their image it shouldn’t matter their sexuality.

Surely if Jesus came to take away our sin and pain and open a doorway back to full relationship with God it should not matter what his sexual leanings were.

Maybe if we could focus on the amazingness of God, of Jesus, of relationship with the triune God and stop worrying what pronoun to call God or who Jesus might or might not have fancied we could get on with loving ourselves and each other fully and stop making judgements.

My challenge to you today it to try to call God “she” or “they” and to try and wonder how Jesus stayed true to himself and resisted the temptation to fit in.