Why Inclusive Language III
A Positive Expansion

Our 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.

By following these guidelines, we are better able as a church to draw
people in, rather then fence people out:

1. 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")

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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."

Inclusively 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.

Above 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."

*************

Reverend Michael S. Pizza


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