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…
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…
- It’s a metaphor! (2)
- It’s a metaphor!
- Uncaused Cause
- Beyond Literal Belief
- Evolution – The Elephant in the Empty Nave