Amorphous or Manifest
Written by Beverly Walker
(parishioner at St. John’s)
Amorphous or Manifest – we are more than the sum of our parts
First to set the ground rules. Generic, when discussing wine, means a wine that is a blend of several varieties of grapes with no one grape predominating: a wine that does not carry the name of any specific grape. That, in my day, was what the pronoun “he” meant, so being something of a dinosaur that is how I continue to use that particular pronoun. I could, I suppose, use “he/she”, but then I would probably offend. Or I could go with these/them and those and really make a stir.
I seem to have been offending people all my life. For instance, my aunt who had had a hysterectomy insisted on calling my beloved dog who had been spayed, “it”. In my logic, I suggested to auntie that she was an “it” too.
Then perhaps I should fall back on the word “one” or “one’s”, but then where would I be if I used the pronoun “we”? You can see my dilemma.
Language is such fun.
But what I really want to talk about is blind spots. Maybe not so much blind spots and tunnel vision. Both visual anomalies make it impossible to actually see what is around us.
Back to dogs, my companion dog has cataracts in both eyes. He navigates the house by a combination of sense of smell and memory. When he goes out to pay his periodic visits to the garden, I count the steps he has to go down to get to the ground as he seems to be confused by the change in light intensity between the indoors and the out. And I try not to put obstacles in his path by changing the furniture around. He is a good friend and has been a part of my life for over a decade. We become quite close to our companion critters.
Are you wondering where I am going with this? Well wonder no more.
In my lifetime, one of the great debates in the church was whether God was a he. The women’s liberation movement was adamant about changing the pronoun to she and in dropping God the Father entirely from all liturgy. Since my personal relationship with a mother figure was somewhat questionable I was not thrilled at the idea of God as Mother.
Pronouns were used as a physiological designation and applied to life forms equally – disregarding seahorses that change sex to procreate (now wouldn’t that have been simpler all around). At some point, God was quoted as having said, “go forth, be fruitful and multiply.” And not to be confused, that was not some form of new math, but since God had made this marvelous creation, it was assumed that He wanted to populate it and have it enjoyed.
And we have done an extremely enthusiastic job of meeting that directive, to the point where God’s little world called earth is populated beyond its means to support either physically or by governance.
Now for a minute, let’s assume that God is amorphous – think about the Trinity – and then remember that humans were created in God’s image. Wouldn’t that make us amorphous as well? By that I mean created without all the hanging baggage assigned to the pronouns he and she? The construct of assigned, pre-designated roles, applied to humans based on physiological differences is a denial of our having been created in God’s image.
A relationship between two humans that is loving, committed and caring is not based on who has dangly bits and who doesn’t, it is based on a shared desire of two people to become as one and share the rest of their lives together. Whether we bless and respect this relationship or not is moot for God already has.