I regularly receive emails from people seeking liturgical resources that are less three-tiered universe. Then there are those that want all gendered images removed. On the other hand, some people are irked that the presider is changing agreed, memorised texts [a good example of clericalism – I remember a priest changing the Eucharistic Prayer from “this is my body… this is my blood” to “this is me… this is my life”].

I am as keen as the next person (and more so) to widen our images, not have our primary approach be three-tiered universe, be inclusive, and expansive. But I am very conscious that all this language is metaphorical [eg. “on the other hand”, above].

Somehow, I fear, people will think that once they are rid of the three tiers and the gender specific, they will have God better described…

God in a Box

Humans seem agile with living in a metaphorical world EXCEPT when it comes to faith. We are quite happy to talk about the “Big Bang” – no one has to clarify it was neither big nor a bang! No one wants to remove the metaphors from Picasso’s observation that “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” No one gets out a ruler when you say, “I am feeling low”, to measure how low that actually is. It’s time to face the music. That exam was a piece of cake….break the ice….plans up in the air…

When it comes to faith, antitheists and fundamentalists take the metaphors literally; and taking metaphors literally breaks them. God becomes silly or scary.

Some years back, I came up with
Bosco’s law of metaphor: the deeper the truth – the more we use metaphor.

Jesus said, “you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power”, and “coming with the clouds of heaven.”

Mark 14:62

Son of Man… seated… right hand… Power… clouds of heaven…

This post has Throwback-Thursday elements. Do read:
It’s a metaphor and
It’s a metaphor 2

images source: (1) dalmatic adapted (2) naked pastor

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