Wednesday, June 21, 2006

One bourbon, one scotch, one God 

A colleague and reader explained to me the other day the difference between Episcopalians and Lutherans. Luther liked beer, Episcopalians like cocktails. Lutheran pastors can have it but only out of sight. Episcopalian pastors are the only ones who can be seen at the liquor store without embarrassment. (I might have mangled that, but the gist was we Lutherans are a little more uptight about alcohol and drink a more pedestrian variety. I do not object; I like beer.)

This story was read on Special Report last night and I have to say I laughed quite heartily.

The divine Trinity - "Father, Son and Holy Spirit'' - could also be known as "Mother, Child and Womb'' or "Rock, Redeemer, Friend'' at some Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) services under an action Monday by the church's national assembly.

Delegates to the meeting voted to "receive'' a policy paper on gender-inclusive language for the Trinity, a step short of approving it. That means church officials can propose experimental liturgies with alternative phrasings for the Trinity, but congregations won't be required to use them.

"This does not alter the church's theological position, but provides an educational resource to enhance the spiritual life of our membership,'' legislative committee chair Nancy Olthoff, an Iowa laywoman, said during Monday's debate on the Trinity.

...One reason is that language limited to the Father and Son "has been used to support the idea that God is male and that men are superior to women,'' the panel said.

Besides "Mother, Child and Womb'' and "Rock, Redeemer, Friend,'' proposed Trinity options drawn from biblical material include:

- "Lover, Beloved, Love''

- "Creator, Savior, Sanctifier''

- "King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Love.''

Early in Monday's business session, the Presbyterian assembly sang a revised version of a familiar doxology, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow'' that avoided male nouns and pronouns for God.

I'm sure we'll soon see, instead of "the body and blood of Christ" at Communion something like "the organic pita and crushed grapes that make us think of Redeeming Coupons at the Sanctified Whole Foods that I Love."