Episcopal Church: Book to Include ‘Inclusive,’ ‘Expansive Language’ for God

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

 

Episcopal Church Closer to Revising Official Prayer Book to Include ‘Inclusive,’ ‘Expansive Language’ for God

(PHOTO: COURTESY WASHINGTON NATIONAL CATHEDRAL) Washington National Cathedral of Washington, D.C. A congregation of The Episcopal Church, it is one of the largest church buildings in the world.

The Episcopal Church is one step closer to revising their official Book of Common Prayer to include more “inclusive and expansive language” for both God and humanity.

At the mainline denomination’s 79th General Convention in Austin, Texas, the House of Deputies voted to adopt a resolution that approved beginning a revision process to the 1979 Book of Common Prayer that will likely remove masculine language for God.

Known as Resolution A068, the measure passed on Saturday with clergy voting 63 yes, 30 no, and 17 divided while laity voted 69 yes, 26 no, 15 divided.

“Resolved, That such revision utilize inclusive and expansive language and imagery for humanity and divinity,” states the resolution in part.

“That such revision [will] utilize the riches of Holy Scripture and our Church’s liturgical, cultural, racial, generational, linguistic, gender, physical ability, and ethnic diversity in order to share common worship.”

If passed by the House of BIshops, which isthe other legislative house of the bicameral General Convention of the Episcopal Church, the denomination will appropriate approximately $1.9 million to the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music for the 2019-2021 Triennium to work on the process, with some estimating that the final cost could be as high as $8 million.

Many expect the revision process of the prayer book to involve implementing more gender-neutral language for God than presently exists in the 1979 version.

Another goal is to broaden the marriage rite to allow for same-gender ceremonies. While same-sex weddings are allowed in the Episcopal Church, the Book of Common Prayer book has not yet been edited to include such rites.

House of Deputies member the Rev. Jane Johnson of Fond du Lac said during the debate last week in support of the resolution that “God’s pronouns are them and their, not he.”

Many have expressed opposition to the revision proposal, with some noting that adding more gender inclusive language for God runs contrary to Scripture and tradition.

“Who are we to change … references to God? The Jews have used the male pronoun Elohim to refer to God for thousands of years,” commented one Episcopal News Service reader.

“‘Our Father who art in Heaven’ has been passed down to us over the centuries and now we are special enough to change it? This doesn’t sit well with me.”

Last revised in 1979, the Book of Common Prayer is the source for the Episcopal Church’s liturgies and theological statements, and is used for many sacred ceremonies, including marriages and baptisms.

“The Book of Common Prayer is a treasure chest full of devotional and teaching resources for individuals and congregations, but it is also the primary symbol of our unity,” states the Church.

If the resolution is approved, the process will still take many years, with a three-year trial run for the revised book and a final vote of approval not expected until 2030, according to Episcopal News Service.

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(Theology) Everything Can Be A God

EVERYTHING CAN BE A GOD

 

In your mind, in your opinion, is Jesus Christ ‘a God’? Outside of Christianity the prevailing answer to that question, is no, He is not. For the first three to four hundred years after the death of Jesus even the Churches heavily debated that question. Within the other two Palestine major religions, Judaism and Islam, Jesus is usually referred to as a ‘misguided’ Prophet. Even though Jesus was born and raised as a Jew His own people, then and now, do not believe that He was/is the Christ, the Messiah, the Promised One. For the purpose of trying to make a point in this commentary today I am going to ask you a question that will seem quite odd to most of you, please bare with me as you will understand more clearly as the article continues. The question is, if I carve a piece of wood to make it look like a human and then I decide to call this piece of wood Jesus Christ, is it really Jesus Christ? Hopefully all of you would say, well of course not, wouldn’t you? If I see a beautiful waterfall or a beautiful rock formation and I say look, this is Jesus Christ, does it make either of them really be Jesus Christ? I sure hope you said no. If I decided to start-up a new Church and I tell everyone that I am Jesus Christ, even if I believed it my self, would that make it be so?

 

Throughout the Bible there are a few different names for God and when you get into not just the different English translations but into various language translations such as Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, German and so on, you will find many names for God the Father and for God the Son. For the English speakers who wish to get uppity you need to understand that in the original Hebrew and Greek there was no letter ‘J’. That means there is no such word as Jehovah or Jesus in the original Scriptures . In the Hebrew the name for ‘the Father’ is Yahweh and the name for ‘the Son’ is Yeshiva. Only after these names were ‘washed’ through several other languages did we come up with the English names of Jehovah and Jesus.

 

If you are a person who is a believer in Buddhism and you are holding a carving of ‘the Buddha’ in your hand and you say that this is Buddha my God, does it make it so? If you are a believer of Hinduism and you are holding one of the many different Hindu Gods in your hand and you say this is a Hindu God, does it make it so? If you are a Christian and you bow down to and worship some statue, is that statue really God? If not, then why are you bowing down to it? If you use a non-English name for Jesus, say Russian, it is Иисус. 

 

What I am getting at is we humans have many names for what we call God and in many religions they have many Deity’s (Gods). I know that many of my ancestors came from Norway so I am quite sure that in the early times of my ‘family tree’ I had relatives who bowed down to the Viking Gods. So with that in thought if Odin was their main God and they made a carving and said this is Odin and bowed down to it, was it really Odin? The Ancient Egyptians worshiped the ‘Gods of the underworld’, folks were they really Gods? We are told in Old Testament and New that mankind has bowed down to dumb rocks and pieces of wood and most of them were nothing but dumb rocks and pieces of wood that could do nothing, but some of them were Demons. If you are worshiping ‘Gods’ of the ‘underworld’ you need to get a grip on reality.

 

Within the Old Testament one of the earliest names for God is ‘Elohim’, by my understanding I have been told from a couple of trusted sources that in the ancient Arabic language for Elohim is the name Allah. So technically then the name Allah is one of the names for God, just not an English name. Now the climax of this article, just because you or I decide to use the name Allah for God, does that automatically mean that because we call something ‘God’ or ‘Allah’ does that make that object really be God? Even Jesus said that because Satan and His Angels used to be Angels of Light that they can portray themselves as Angels of Light to this day. Jesus told us that Satan and His Angels are such good liars/deceivers that they will be able to even deceive some of the Saints.

 

I know that I have many readers who are believers in the Islamic faith and I also know that many get very upset if anyone says that they are not worshiping the one true God, Allah. Folks, this is quite understandable, Christians don’t like to be told that we aren’t really worshiping God, just as folks who believe in other religions feel the same way. What I am saying to our Islamic brothers and sisters isn’t that the name Allah isn’t a name for God, what I am saying is that the Deity that they are worshiping isn’t really God (Allah), that they have been deceived. The believers of Islam do not believe that the ‘people of the Book’ (Jews and Christians) are worshiping the one true God but when those same table are turned and we or anyone else says the same to them you end up with the ‘Islamic Terrorism’ that the world sees today. In the name of God, Jehovah, Jesus, Yahweh, Elohim, Allah, Buddha or any Hindu God, no one spills the blood of anyone. To do so is simply murder, no one is allowed to be an aggressor toward another. If ‘our God’ and His Scriptures are telling its followers to commit violence, then that Deity is not God, that Deity is a Devil! The reason the title says ‘everything can be a God’ is simple, if you or I worship it, no matter what ‘it’ is, diamonds, gold, money, whatever, we have made this item our ‘God’.