Inclusive Language III
A Positive Expansion
position on Inclusive Language is not a reaction to pressure or in
any way a limitation. Rather, it is a positive expansion. We are
expanding the way we talk about God in hopes that we may also expand
our experience of God. We are expanding our language about ourselves in an
attempt to open ourselves more fully to the complete redemption God's
inclusive love offers.
following these guidelines, we are better able as a church to draw
people in, rather then fence people out:
We never use exclusively masculine or feminine terms, which refer to
human beings. When we are talking about people in general, we do not
say man, mankind, brothers, brotherhood, etc. Similarity, we ought not
presume a person's gender because of stereotypes (e.g.. Farmers aren't
always "he", or nurses aren't always "she")
It is our goal to always attempt to present a balanced picture of
God. Yes, God is our Father, but God is also our Mother who birthed
creation and who nurses us still. (Isaiah 42:14; 46:3-4; 49:15). For so
man centuries we have referred to God in exclusively masculine terms.
We need to make extraordinary efforts not to reinforce that image which is
so strong that is has warped our total experience of God. If we refer
to God in masculine terms, we must then be equally willing to speak of
God's femininity. It must be more helpful to avoid as much as possible
all anthropomorphic (human like) reference to God. God is neither a man
nor a woman.
When we speak of Jesus, we ought to be aware that there is a
difference between the human Jesus and the divine Christ. Again, just
as every person is both masculine and feminine, so too Jesus embodies all
that is human, biologically made, but the pre-existent and resurrected
One is beyond limited human labels such as gender.
In as much as possible, we seek to use Inclusive Language in our
conversations, in the songs we sing, in our liturgy, and in any
publications. It is our goal to live out with integrity the truth that
the Gospel is equally inclusive of all people.
We deeply regret if there are those who do not agree with our
policy. We do not wish to exclude you if your view differs, but anything and
anyone who represents this church must adhere to this policy. We will
not use sexist language and this is no more negotiable than our
avoidance of racist language. Our language should reflect our faith in
positive ways so that we may believe God's love includes them equally.
About this we must have integrity. Inclusive language is not just a gender inclusive either. One favorite
song of the youth group in which I grew up was "They will know we are
Christians by our Love." One day a member of the congregation asked if
we might not change one verse of the song which says, "We will walk
with each other; we will walk hand in hand..." You see this person was a
quadriplegic and could not walk with us, but was more than happy to
"go" with us. We were glad to change the words because we meant the words,
"They will know we are Christians by our Love."
is new for some of us and old patterns take time to change,
but we're trying and we thank you for you patience as we continue to
grow and our understanding of God and ourselves. Sometimes growth is
awkward, and even painful. God is leading our Fellowship onward and new
ground is often a bet rough. God is leading us forward in love, and
together we will make it to the promised land were all of us are equally included.
all else, let us remember the words of an old hymn we still sing
every now and then, "Beyond the sacred page, we seek THEE, God."