God is often seen as male: Father, King. The Bible comes from a male-dominated society, so this isn’t totally surprising.
But even in the male-dominated society, there were many images of God as female. In Job God is described as a mother who adores her children. Isaiah describes God as a woman in labor, panting and moaning.
Here’s what’s most interesting to me: To make a single image of God the only way to see the divine is idolatry.
This has been striking me recently. The moment you think you have God pinned down, or even an image of God pinned down, s/he moves, and describes herself another way. Maybe this is so that we stay alert to a god like the wind, which blows where it wishes and can’t be cemented.
It also has pushed me to consider that just because God was a certain thing to a certain person at a certain time, doesn’t mean he will be that way in this situation to this person at this time. Less static, more dynamic. If God is alive, this makes sense.
If God is dead, conservative Christianity makes sense. God is cemented, and we must align ourselves with that god.
I’m all for staying grounded in Scripture and Christian tradition. In fact I think it’s Scripture and Christian tradition that pulls us towards a scary and indefinable future where the only guarantee is that being open to an alive God working is going to mean pain, suffering, surprise, unknowing, and always, always lovingkindness. Whatever that might look like.