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Offline kebecer1

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Holy Spirit
« on: Mon May 13, 2002 - 17:30:11 »
Patricia:  

I would begin by saying that the Holy Trinity is the center of my faith, and, as a student of patristics/matristics, it has always fascinated me, from Gregory Nazianzus all the way to Augustine's "De Trinitate".  

In my postings on Restoration hermeneutics, I have been trying to urge my kindred to do theology, which, I suspect, is something that must seem kind of scary (or, I gather, "denominational")--since, it would seem, that that somehow equates equaling "experience" w/ "scripture".  

I'm not saying that to be mocking, or sarcastic, in the least; it's just become vivid to me that my kindred have a different understanding of how to reflect on Christian living in the light of Holy Scripture.  As a DoC, I believe in using my reason AND scripture, to understand God's activity today.  Still, the Word of God is pre-eminent, and judges all theological reflection:  I'm closer, in fact, to the Wesleyan Quadrilateral:  reason, experience, tradition, and scripture.  All four work together.  

No, I don't know of any of the Restorationist founders using she to refer to the Holy Spirit.  I'd bet some women did, though, but their histories tend to get forgotten.....

I said what I did b/ "ruah"--i.e. "spirit"--in Hebrew is feminine; and Proverbs 9 has a decidedly "feminine" turn to it, in picturing the creativity of God.  Of course, in Johannine Logos theology the "Word" becomes the creative priniciple of God, and which becomes in classical theology "the Christ"; and Christians identify Christ w/ Jesus of Nazareth; although, as I remind folks at times, the Second Person of the Trinity is not Jesus of Nazareth, but the Christ.  Both came together--two natures, one individual--in the historical Jesus, we as Christians believe; hence, the wisdom of Chalcedon in saying the two (2) natures dwelt together, but how, truly, God alone knows.

Why we (rigidly) insist that the Christ should be female, male, or any gender at all, says more about where we're coming from, than any substantive assertion about The Mystery of Three-in-One.  Ooops, I just used "substantia"...which sounds like Hebrews 11.1 and God's "substance", which was another mistake of early theology; insisting that God has physical substance, by wedding Greek philosophy w/ the scriptural datum.

Language is power, and referring to the Triune God as she or he, is tricky, for a lot of people.  I use feminine language at times, in particular in reference to feminine images of God in the New Testament, which evangelical scholars tend to want to ignore.  

Of course, feminist/womanist scholars rightly poke fun at male theologians who insist that "God had to become a man" to save us.  Why that is, it seems to me--i.e. insisting on gender as part of salvation-history--is anybody's guess; u/l, the feminist/womanist scholars and theologians point out, the one making that argument is vested in patriarchy and power.  

I confess myself orthodox, in particular in terms of classical Christian theology; but, I don't obsesss over gender.  Our concerns for it say more about us, and our needs for God.  If women can recover the feminine aspects of God and refer to Her, I certainly have no probem w/ that; liberation from patriarchy and self-empowerment.

It would seem to me that a NT people would certainly welcome it, in the Spirit of the baptized community, in which there is "neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female...."

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Holy Spirit
« on: Mon May 13, 2002 - 17:30:11 »

Offline Shumby

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Holy Spirit
« Reply #1 on: Mon May 13, 2002 - 18:44:53 »
How can anyone say that the Holy Spirit is a she? The Father has always been referred to as a He. I realize He is Spirit, but then he brought his only begotten Son into the world, and He was a He. The Holy Spirit which hovered over Mary brought about the manifestation of the pregnancy through the words that she had spoken out of her mouth: Let it be done unto me according to thy word.

Jesus said he had to go to heaven so that he could send the Spirit to us. It was His very own spirit that He was sending. How can it be called any other than a He, since Jesus is a He?

Offline kebecer1

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Holy Spirit
« Reply #2 on: Mon May 13, 2002 - 20:45:58 »
I'm really not "hung up" on the "gender" of God; it's just revealing, from time to time, to think about such things, for what they can tell us about ourselves....

I'm not sure if, in the churches of Christ, w/r your congregations have a "children's sermon" or "moment" as part of your worship services, but most DoC congregations do; that's where I like to slip in the "slippery" stuff that children can get far quicker, and adults basically have to "overhear" what's said to the kids.  

During this liturgically-rich part of the church year, I like to show the kids contemporary, Renaissance, and ancient iconography, art and drawings of the life of Christ.

When I've shown the kids really neat paintings of an African, Indonesian, or Chinese rendering of Jesus w/ facial features and (what usually gets the adults perked up) skin colour, say being baptized (picture a black-skinned Jesus being baptized by a black skinned John the Immerser), or the Emmaus road story in Luke rendered in Chinese facial features and clothing, then people pay attention.

Funny thing is:  the kids get the differences right away, and don't mind; usually, I hear at least one adult grumbling to me aft/ the recessional in the chancel on the way out: "Preacher, Jesus wasn't black!"

I just smile and think to myself, "And, he was a white Nothern European per Albrecht Druer?"

Patricia and Shumby:  Thanks be to God for all the voices that witness to God's-Revelation-in-Christ, by art or by praise...or (fill in the blank).

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« Reply #2 on: Mon May 13, 2002 - 20:45:58 »

Offline Beverly Nuckols (hocndoc)

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Holy Spirit
« Reply #3 on: Tue May 14, 2002 - 01:40:21 »
And, if I can be a son of God (a *female* son of God), then all things are possible to God.

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« Reply #3 on: Tue May 14, 2002 - 01:40:21 »

Offline Beverly Nuckols (hocndoc)

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Holy Spirit
« Reply #4 on: Tue May 14, 2002 - 05:07:33 »
Shumby, that's what I meant.

If male and female are relevant to the "image" or reality of God, then the animals and some plants reflect that aspect as well as humans. (I don't think God is  as limited  in  that way.)

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« Reply #4 on: Tue May 14, 2002 - 05:07:33 »



Offline janine

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Holy Spirit
« Reply #5 on: Tue May 14, 2002 - 19:43:38 »
There's a difference between "masculine" and "male", and "feminine" and "female"...

Jesus spoke that broken-hearted comment about wanting to hover over Jerusalem the way a hen covers her chicks; different Scriptures, OT and NT, point to nursing-motherly qualities of God; sometimes a Greek or Hebrew word, refering to God in one of His functions or Persons, has a feminine gender to it, which we don't usually use in English...

Doesn't bug me to think of all that.  My Abba, my loving, nurturing, dare-I-say-it, "Daddy God", is just as real as the Great Avenger we know is our God.

Sometimes it just sounds silly or pretentious when someone sticks feminine pronouns into talk about God, because we're steeped in the English generic usage of masculine pronouns, which allows us to get mentally lazy & think of God as the Great Santa Claus in the Sky... ???

Probably, the mental/verbal jolt is good for us. :p

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« Reply #5 on: Tue May 14, 2002 - 19:43:38 »

Offline patriciaredstone

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Holy Spirit
« Reply #6 on: Mon May 13, 2002 - 08:22:44 »
In the Restoration discussion, Kerbercer said :How do my own kindred want to reach a "uniting" moment, in anticipation of what God-the-Holy-Spirit is doing to us?  She, and yes, I said "she" in reference to the Holy Spirit, is the freest part of God's action today.  (I keep punctuating my posts w/ little theological assertions, and invitations to theological reflection on God's action in the grace-orientation of this board;  anybody listening?? )

I have noted that many reputable Bible scholars are of the opinion that the Holy Spirit is best expressed in the feminine.

Kerbercer, did any among the historical restorationists view the Holy Spirit this as feminine?

Offline patriciaredstone

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Holy Spirit
« Reply #7 on: Mon May 13, 2002 - 18:35:57 »
Kebecer,

As you guessed on an earlier thread, I am an artist not a bible scholar. But art leads souls into the deep, below the professional boundery lines. I never know in what "field" I'm going to surface! In contrast to the surface, the thick veins of theology and art -- at that deep level -- seem to merge more than than they depart.

I think I can say that I have always had an instinct for God as the "lover" and the "beloved" -- the woman and the man -- in the Song of Solomon. I realise after studying Kaballah, that there are others who see this too. God is hidden and God is seen on the mountain. God is secluded and God is exalted among his male friends. Each longs for the other, longs to be united ... and though we are left with the impression that they will someday be together, they are never united in the text! It is very much like the struggle between men and women today. For all of our longing, needing, wanting, we have not reached -- after all this time -- the hollywood ending.

A friend of mine wrote a play titled "Kings." He was a college professor and the play was produced on a college level. It was a musical of the chronological history of the Hebrew kings and prophets of Bible fame, and it was performed in an ensemble style with all of the actors playing mulitple roles. The role of Yahweh was shared by the ensemble. We knew Yahweh was speaking when an actor took his or her place atop a huge cubical box which was painted on sides with the symbols and images of the cosmos and the earth and heavenly paradise. It was in this play that "God" came alive to me in a way I had never known possible. Yahweh only spoke on the box from scripture ... in fact, every word of the play was from sacred writings ... He was an angry black man brandishing an uzzi ... a  wealthy jilted Marilyn Monroe type lover ... a Cordileone style mafia boss ... a weeping, barefoot and pregnant woman hanging diapers on the line with a bunch of screaming children ... a pimply, pubescent boy longing to be sexually awakened ...

Offline Shumby

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Holy Spirit
« Reply #8 on: Mon May 13, 2002 - 19:44:02 »
I got to thinking (my husband used to say, "better watch out; you may hurt yourself...lol) about "spirit." We ARE spirit beings. The part of us that is born again, or saved, is our spirit man -- not our soul: mind, will, and emotions. And, yes, in Christ, there is neither male nor female, referring to our spirits. So Spirit is neither male nor female, but just THAT: SPIRIT. So, I'm thinking again, I guess the male attributes could be referred to as "male" and the female attributes as "female."  It just goes against our grain to refer to God the Father (Jesus called him "Father," and isn't "Father" male?) as a she. Fathers are not She's.  What's the answer? Will be ascertain it before the resurrection?  I DON'T KNOW.

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« Reply #8 on: Mon May 13, 2002 - 19:44:02 »

Offline Beverly Nuckols (hocndoc)

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« Reply #9 on: Tue May 14, 2002 - 01:36:21 »
Jesus told the Pharisees that we wouldn't be male or female in heaven, like the angels. There is no reason to believe that God or any aspect of him other than Jesus is male or female, but rather that we humans iimperfectly  reflect His completeness, in some way that is unique to humans in this creation.  If our sex has anything to do with it, both are evidently needed ("God created man in his image; male and female created he them."), and (male) animals aremade in the image of God, too.

Offline Shumby

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Holy Spirit
« Reply #10 on: Tue May 14, 2002 - 01:43:55 »
That's a new one on me: animals made in the image of God. Where does the bible say that?

I thought Jesus told them that there would be no marriage, or giving in marriage in heaven, that we would be as the angels. Is that the same as what you said, Beverly?

Offline Arkstfan

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Holy Spirit
« Reply #11 on: Tue May 14, 2002 - 04:46:17 »
I've never considered gender for the Spirit (which to me is a truer form of God) but the Spirit does fill what we would consider to be female roles. The Spirit comforts, teaches and counsels, those tend to be roles with a female association.

Offline kebecer1

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Holy Spirit
« Reply #12 on: Tue May 14, 2002 - 17:03:56 »
In the early church, one of my heroes (who had such a sense of grace's sovereignty that he scared the poor orthodox to death and subsequently was labeled a heretic, though he's still considered a Doctor of the R.C. Church for slamming the pagans), Origen, wrote a nifty piece on what kind of resurrection body we shall have in heaven.  

His answer?  We'll all be round, since aft/ all, a sphere is a perfect shape; kinda makes me think that all our diet crazes are for nil.  No need for creatin (sp?), either.   :p

 

     
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