Our scriptures, while the inspired word of the Creator, present revelation through androcentric (male focused viewpoint) and patriarchal lenses. We often forget that creation is the first revelation of the Creator. The role of the feminine found in religions with roots in the created world was obliterated. Hence, religion as we know it, lost the spirituality inherent in the feminine. Celtic Christianity did mange to retain some of the feminine.
The Creator inspired the message and not every word or concept set down by the writers. Certainly, Paul’s views on slavery and the role of women cannot be the inspired word of the Creator.
It is difficult to get the Gospel message through these lenses but we must make the effort to avoid whatever exploits women and the least among us. Of course, the institutional church has suppressed liberation theology, including feminine theology.The first recipients of the Good News of the resurrection were the women who had followed Jesus. The institutional church would have us believe that there were no women present at the Last Supper; therefore, women cannot be ordained to the priesthood. Rather patriarchal reasoning! I find it very difficult to believe that Jesus would not have shared the passover with the many women, including Mary, that had followed him so faithfully.
The Creator is beyond all labels, including gender based titles. We have the unfortunate tendency to cast the Creator in our own image and likeness. For example, in the Hebrew Scriptures, “Lord of Hosts” was a term for a warrior God. In a sense, the institutional church has hijacked the life and teachings of Jesus and the faith experience of the earliest Christian communities. Jesus constantly opposed dominative structures and the violence inherent in them. The early church honored women who had a role in liturgical celebrations. The early Christian communities stood over against the dominative power and violence inherent in the Roman Empire.
While far from perfect, what follows is an attempt to get the meaning of the “Our Father.”
Is this the way Jesus would teach us to pray today in a non-patriarchal world?
Creator of the universe. We see your glory in the universe as it flashes forth. May we wonder at your presence in all that is. May we and the universe flash forth in accord with your purpose. Let all creation sustain us with its bounty. We beg your pardon for the times when we have not lived in just relationship to creation and one another. And when we fail to do so, forgive us and help us to forgive. Let us not yield to temptations to seek wealth, power, and security. Deliver us from all that can make us fall short of your glory. For all power and wisdom and glory dwells in the universe you are bringing forth. Everything is yours now and forever. Amen.