Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Rebranding of God

I read in my morning paper that the Presbyterians have decided to rebrand their product. They will continue to use "Father," "Son," and "The Holy Spirit," of course, but will also allow "Mother," "Child," and "Womb" in order to rid the "triune God" of sexist connotations that have supported the idea that males are superior to females, something which any thinking person knows is false. We also have for those who love mixed categories, "Rock," "Redeemer," and "Friend." Later on in this news story, it is said, the Presbyterians will also allow people to use "Lover," "Beloved," and "Love," which is a little surprising since "lover" has a very clear primary reference to someone engaged in illicit sex. We also have "Creator," Savior," and "Sanctifier," which goes, perhaps, to the triune roles of God. Finally, for those of a royalist bent of brain like the English, "King of Glory," "Prince of Peace," and "Spirit of Love" will be allowed.

What we have here is some people who have gone mad, possibly due to rabble rousing feminists and fuzzy headed liberals whipping the committee that made all these proposals into some sort of creative frenzy. The clearest inference of all this is that Presbyterians have absolutely no idea as to what/who they are worshiping/selling and why. Of course, no other group of Christians do either. The Presbyterians are just more honest.

Our Presbyterian friends suggest that congregations should seek "fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God." This opens up the rebranding of the product they are selling to everyone -- at least all Presbyterians. And, there seem to be no semantic rules that govern the process. Any set of three words or phrases will do the job.

How about, "The Internet," "Google," and "Search Result." I like this because I have found that Google answers all of my questions, which one can think of as prayers for information. Google certainly has a better track record answering my prayers than God ever did. This is a much clearer set of notions than the Presbyterians have. Praise the Internet! We can explain the Biblical names as pretechnological efforts to understand the connectivity of our lives.

Interestingly, they left out "God," "Jesus," and "The Holy Ghost." The term "God" has no sexist connotations so it must surely satisfy angry feminists, and there seems to be no controversy over the gender/sex of Jesus. And I always liked "The Holy Ghost' for it has great appeal to children who seem universally to like ghost stories. It is a way for children to get a picture of just how mysterious all this Christianity stuff is. They also left out "The Lord" and "Christ."

The really amazing thing is that the committee that came up with all this stuff has been working on it since 2000 -- six years. I guess it was some millennium project, updating Christianity for the next 1,000 years. I could have done this all by myself in a few days and I work cheap.

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Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

Wow, that's just . . . ridiculous. Do you happen to remember which branch of the Presbyterians it was? There are two of them (major ones, anyway).

This is definitely a feminist thing (at least the first one). I'm not sure exactly how the Holy Spirit is a womb. It seems to me that an ordinary human provided Christ's womb. I also wasn't aware that the Father was a pro wrestler / movie star. The Lover/Beloved/Love trinity is completely meaningless; although God is love, I see no reason to separate the persons of God for that purpose. Creator/Savior/Sanctifier is a good one, as far as I can tell, although I know there is a lot of doctrinal debate over the exact nature of sanctification (and I have no idea what the nature of that debate is).

I suppose now we need a picture Bible, or a movie version of the entire Bible (which would surely deserve an R rating, which makes me wonder why so many Christians get up in arms about some R-rated movies).

While I agree with their goal of seeking "fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God," we should all be doing that any time we talk about it. Formulas become meaningless if you simply repeat them without thinking. I wonder how many people actually think about what they're saying when they recite the Lord's Prayer. But some of this re-packaging makes it lose all its meaning, and that's just as bad. The word "sell-out" also comes to mind.

9:36 AM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

same old crap. Just trying to make it smell better.

11:36 AM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

Maybe, but you don't want to take away the smell even for the people who like it. That's the last thing you want to do.

1:37 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

I agree with you Kelly.
I respect sincerity. Nothing is any good if it's not real. & this does look like a sell-out.

6:05 PM

Blogger s tsui said...

I believe this was the source of this piece of news:

As a non-Christian, I am completely baffled by the purpose of this paper, which appears to have identifying "new ways of speaking of the Trinity in the prayer and theology of the church" as one of its goals. Interspersed throughout the illogical text that attempts to explain the indivisibility of the Trinity, new names of the "triune persons" are recommended.

3:16 AM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

Part of the explanation could be that the Presbyterian Denomination is losing membership. I think their heyday is over.

It works kinda like that, in 'movements'.

You notice TV preachering is booming, tho.
People are looking for more Theatrics. A trend in churches is to turn the pulpit area into a stage. Like they do on TV.

Some of these Denominations have to reinvent themselves. The trouble is it doesn't seem to work that well.

Nobody likes to see selling-out tactics. These guys did a bad job with their PR.

LG, what would you have done different?

9:36 AM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

I don't have any problem with mixing up how the services are done, as long as they're not turned into a big joke. If you want guitars and campfire songs in the service that's fine. But changing what you preach just to make it more palatable can be dangerous if you take the meaning out of it or change the meaning. More specifically, I'm all for preaching gospel before preaching law, but taking the law out altogether is bad.

By way of analogy, try to imagine what would happen if the ACLU changed their message so they don't want to protect people on the basis of the 4th Amendment; protecting criminals makes them unpopular. Doesn't that compromise their integrity and message a bit too much?

10:01 AM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

tainted. that's the word I'm looking for. Dishonest, too. that's how i found the church. tainted but dishonest about it.

12:19 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"tainted"... that's how you found the church that you attended. You may only speak for yourself cannot speak for anyone else madam.

9:28 AM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

I'm speaking about my opinion on religion in general.

7:39 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

Language guy; You know i've been coming over here for ages & you never visit my blog. Well, I have a question posted over there &... tomorrow is my birthday , so come over & answer it for me, OK?

Give me a thrill.

2:51 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

I have visited your site and I think I made a comment. I saw a picture of you that had you looking like a lazy tart.

8:38 AM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

Which picture was that? It musta been a long time ago.

You need to get out more.

Come over & visit the devil.

9:46 AM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Uh, I believe that I have established to all god-fearing people that it is I who am the devil. I do not have truck with sluts ueless they are energetic.

1:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're just a weird old man. That's all.

2:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just kidding. Seriously. what do I care anyway?

2:07 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

Well, that was fun.

Lg's not weird. A little uppity, maybe.

4:36 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

Well, i'm thinking all this over & reading what i said & what you said & I don't get it.
Why are you being so mean? That's a horrible thing to say to some one. I don't know how I deserved that. Man, if I knew you thought that about me, I'd never come over here.

Maybe you misinterrpreted me or didn't realize i was kidding around, I don't know.
I just want you to know how bad you made me feel & F**K you, too.

11:51 PM

Blogger concerned citizen said...

well, I miscalled that one, huh?

Sorry, it has to do with the horrible mood i'm in.

I'll take the F**k you, back. :)

11:24 AM

Blogger Mrs. Geezerette said...

The Presbyterians are not the only ones making some word changes when it comes to God.

The Catholic church has decided to rewrite the Nicene Creed so that it is more in keeping with the Latin meaning of certain words.

For instance, the Nicene Creed says of Jesus that he was "born of the Virgin Mary." That will be changed. It will be said of Jesus that he was "incarnate of the Virgin Mary." This is going to sound foreign to the ear of your average English speaking Catholic.

What is wrong with "born?" Nothing. In fact, everything is right about it. The word tells us that Jesus was indeed human and experienced joy, pain, tears, and awe. It tells us that he joined us in the human experience. The word makes him approachable. On the other hand, the lofty word "incarnate" makes him seem distant and out of reach of mere earthlings, and above ever having washed the feet of his disciples.

11:30 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

Using "incarnate" also seems to me to say that she wasn't necessarily a virgin when he was born. I would think they would want to make that clear (especially since many Catholics believe that she was a virgin at her death as well).

10:31 AM

Blogger Mrs. Geezerette said...

Kelly, I don't get that from the word "incarnate".

According to the article I read, the word comes from the Latin "incarnare" which literally means to make flesh. The word goes well with the idea that "the Word became flesh." But as the writer of the article said, "English is a wonderfully fleshy language." And so, why not stick with the plain old word "born."

12:04 AM

Blogger Clever Pseudonym said...


(oh my internets)

3:13 AM


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