This is written in response to this laughable post published by fellow Patheos author Fr. Dwight Longenecker. Fr. Longenecker insists we must refer to God only as Father. In fact, he believes this so much, he wrote twelve poorly defended reasons why we mustn’t ever call Her “mom.”
I have my own twelve reasons why calling God our mom is totally cool.
1. Jesus Calls God “Father,” according to the gospel writers, but never demands we do so, and certainly never suggests that “Father” is the only thing we can call God
In fact, that Jesus guy was kind of against talking about God in only one, limited boxed-in way. Jesus talks about God not only as a Father hiking up his skirts to run and great his prodigal son, but also as a Shepherd searching for lost sheep, as a Woman searching for her lost coin.
2. The Old Testament Refers to God as Mother
There are many instances of this for those not too lazy to look them up (like Fr. Longenecker), but my personal favorite is Hosea 13:8:
“Like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will attack them and tear them asunder…”
3. Much of the liturgy that calls God “Father” was written by men who believed they were closer to God than women are.
As Fr. Longenecker says, “We pray what we believe. To tinker with the liturgy is always to tinker with what we actually believe.” Some beliefs need to be tinkered with. Let’s get to work
4. The Catechism explains that “God is the first origin of everything.”
While many transgender fathers can give birth (so we certainly don’t have to stop calling God Father just because He is the one who gave birth to creation!), pregnancy and childbirth are often associated with motherhood. Without reinforcing cissexism by insisting that a God who gives birth must be a Mother, we can embrace a God of many Names and roles.
5. Calling God “Mother” and “Father” isn’t confusing if you have a mature view of the many identities an individual embodies.
Those who say they’re “confused” that God can be mother and father remind me of kids that get confused when they see their teachers outside of school, or who are shocked to find out that their mother’s name is “Carolyn” and not “Mom.” No one is just one thing.
6. Respecting all of another individual’s identity enables a loving relationship
I cannot have a truly loving relationship with someone who sees me only as a woman, and is not interested in relating to the part of me that is an activist, a writer, a queer person, a Christian, etc. The same is true of God. Anyone who reads the Bible knows that God is One, but God is not only One. God has many names (YHWH, Elohim, Adonai, and more), many roles (Creator, Sustainer, Liberator, etc). According to many Christians, God is THREE in ONE. If you believe in the Trinity, it is heresy to your own religion to assert that we can only lovingly relate to God through one aspect of God’s identity
7. Calling God “Mother” helps many people to heal many wounds
The idea that we must call God Father in order to heal the wounds caused by earthly fathers is silly. Sure, this can work for some. I find healing in the idea that if God is Father, my abusive dad is not. However, it would be ignorant to claim that only fathers abuse their children. In fact, in a world where mothers are more often the primary caretakers of their children than fathers are, often mothers have much more opportunity to abuse their role as parent. I know many people who carry deep wounds caused by abuse from mothers. We need a perfect Mother as much as we need a perfect Father. Some might even need Her more.
8. Mary is our Mother in Heaven. But guess what? Some people have TWO MOMS!
9. The Bible and the Saints refer to God by a whole lot of different images, because God is Divine mystery.
All imagery for God falls short, but with a multiplicity of imagery we can do our best to relate to Hir.
10. Referring to God as “Mother” is part of an overall plan to eradicate any sign of patriarchy from Christianity
Which is a fucking awesome plan!
11. 11. To Call God “Mother” is to worship a pagan Goddess
Also fucking awesome!
12. Calling God Mother opens the door to New Age Witchcraft
And what’s wrong with that? 😉