Tuesday, August 20, 2013

If there is an absolute heavenly patriarch....

"Patriarchal God symbolism functions to legitimate and reinforce patriarchal social structures in family, society and church. Language about the father in heaven who rules over the world justifies and even necessitates an order whereby the male religious leader rules over his flock, the civil ruler has domination over his subjects, the husband exercises headship over his wife. If there is an absolute heavenly patriarch, then social arrangements on earth must pivot around hierarchical rulers who of necessity must be male in order to represent him and rule in his name. This men do to the exclusion of women by a certain right, thanks to their greater similarity to the source of all being and power. The dissonance sounded by the fact that this supposed similarity lies in sexual likeness, while God is taken to be beyond all physical characteristics, is not noticed. Exclusive and literal imaging of the patriarchal God thus insures the continued subordination of women to men in all significant civic and religious structures."

~Elizabeth A. Johnson, She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse

Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes

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