If you’re of a religious nature here in the U.S. of A., but you also like to think of yourself as a decent human being independent of and outside the confines of your religion, odds are you attend some flavor or other of liberal Protestant church.
You’ll be familiar, then, with accommodating phrases accompanying the doxologies in the bulletins along the lines of “using ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ — please feel free to substitute ‘Creator’ and ‘Christ’ or other phrases as you feel appropriate.”
I looked for a delicate way to say this, but after many revisions, I’m just going to cut straight to the chase: if you feel the need to pretend that the overtly and deliberately male-gendered pantheon of Christianity somehow isn’t, Christianity may not be the religion for you.
I appreciate the urge to reform, but it doesn’t matter how reformed you want your Bible to be. If you’re relying on the Bible for your theology, you’re not going to get around the idea that God is male, his Son is male, and men in general are great and awesome and divinely inspired, which is why women should shut up and do what they say. That’s pretty much baked in from start to finish. And y’know, that does it for some people! That is how they like to think about the world. But if it’s not how you like to think about the world, and you’re seeing those little “Creator/Christ” substitutions, you might be in the wrong building.
A linguistic figleaf on some hymns doesn’t change dogma. It also doesn’t make “the Church” any more welcoming to women, as long as we’re talking about the big-C concept of Christ’s church universal here. You can join a congregation that sings “Creator” and “Christ” instead of “Father” and “Son” if you want to, but it doesn’t change that fact that, if you’re female, you’re not supposed to be singing in church at all. Or, you know, speaking.
That’s for the menfolk to do. And that’s because God said so, and God is the Father who sent down Christ his Son to save all men. And if you don’t believe all of that shit, gender roles included, I don’t think you should take comfort in fiddling with a few words in the songbook. It’s just a way to feel not-horrible about a religion that is, frankly, horrible in a lot of ways.
Better to put the bulletin down and walk out than to slap a veneer of phony inclusiveness on a religion aggressively built on practices and principles of exclusion. If you’re not down with the inherent superiority of men, you’re just not that down with the tenants and traditions of Christianity.
And you know what? It’s all good. There are plenty of other things to do on Sunday morning.