Why does this matter?

We can never be all we’re created to be in the divine image until we expand our image of the Divine to include female and male and more. Growing up in male-dominated religion and culture, women have been devalued, stifled, and ignored. Women hold only about 17% of the seats in the U.S. Congress, and are under-represented in positions with decision-making power in religion and in many other fields in the U.S. and in other countries. In the U.S. alone, every 15 seconds a woman is battered. One in four American girls will have been sexually assaulted by the age of 18. One in three women experiences some kind of abuse. Throughout the world, 5000 women and girls are murdered each year by members of their own families. An estimated 4 million women and girls worldwide are bought and sold into prostitution, slavery, or marriage. Approximately 60 million girls are "missing" as a result of sex-selective abortions, infanticide, or neglect. Seventy percent of the poor are women.

Men as well as women suffer from the worship of an exclusively masculine Deity. Making the Ultimate Power of the universe male gives the strongest support imaginable to the dominance of men, resulting in their shorter life expectancy and their dehumanization when dominance leads to violence. Being dominant in relationships impoverishes men's emotional and spiritual lives. Men may also have trouble embracing aspects of their creativity that have been traditionally labeled and demeaned as feminine.

The whole creation suffers from the male-dominated theology that has at its foundation an exclusively masculine naming of Deity. References to the earth are traditionally feminine, but the feminine is not given sacred value in our worship.

By balancing female and male references to Deity, such as "Mother and Father," "Brother and Sister," "She" and "He," we give strong support to the equality of women and men. Violence is far less likely between equals. When our worship services include biblical female names for Deity, such as "Mother" and Sophia (biblical Greek word for “Wisdom”) women and girls are valued and respected instead of excluded and abused. When we worship a Deity who includes female as well as male, we give sacred value to women and men and children and the whole creation. Including female divine images contributes to peacemaking. Worshipping a Deity who includes more than one gender lays a strong foundation for justice and peace in our world.

Suggested Resources

» She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World
» Changing Church: Stories of Liberating Ministers
» In Whose Image? God and Gender
» Breaking Free: The Story of a Feminist Baptist Minister
» In Search of the Christ-Sophia: An Inclusive Christology for Liberating Christians
» Inclusive Hymns for Liberation, Peace, and Justice
» Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians