Female Language and Imagery of the Divine By Gina Messina-Dysert

According to Rita Gross, “If we do not mean that God is male when we use masculine pronouns and imagery, then why should there be any objections to using female imagery and pronouns as well?” What an important question. I was raised using only male language when talking about God and while I am embarrassed to admit it, spent my childhood through my early college years believing that God was a man. As studying religion and theology has shaped my life, I decided that gender neutral language when talking about God was the most appropriate way to approach the problem of God-talk and sexism, and thus utilized the term“divine” to talk about God. It made sense to me. But then I began reading Gross, as well as Carol Christ and Elizabeth Johnson, and other feminist scholars who argued that we must use female language to talk about God in order to have positive female imagery of the divine. Right now we are inundated with male language, we must balance that out.

And so, I decided that I must use female language to refer to God. To be honest, I feel comforted by talking about the divine as woman, as mother. In order to further develop my own imagery of God as woman, I wrote a prayer that I wanted to share. It was a great spiritual exercise for me to describe the qualities I feel the divine possesses and it allowed me to experience a closer connection to Divine Mother.

Prayer to Divine Mother

Great Divine Mother

Who is Immanent in All Things

Spiraling Life into Being

And Communicating through Nature

She Who is Compassionate and Merciful

Nurturing our Spirit

Her Benevolence felt Strongly

And Encountered through Humanity

She Who is Guardian

Cradling us with Affection

Her Protection Sensed

And Her Love a Source of Haven

She Who is Sustainer

Nourishing our Lives

She Who is Vivifier

Cultivating our Hearts

Great Divine Mother

Guide Me to Have Faith in Your Wisdom

To Share Your Gentle Compassion

And to be Sincere in Spirit and Heart

Author: Gina Messina

Gina Messina, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Ursuline College and Co-founder of Feminism and Religion. She writes for the Huffington Post and is the author or editor of five books including "Faithfully Feminist" and "Jesus in the White House: Make Humanity Great Again." Her research interests are theologically and ethically driven, involve a feminist and interdisciplinary approach, and are influenced by her activist roots and experience working with survivors of rape and domestic violence. Gina is a widely sought after speaker and has presented across the US at universities, organizations, conferences, and in the national news circuit including appearances on Tavis Smiley, MSNBC, NPR, and the TEDx stage. She has also spoken at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations to discuss matters impacting the lives women around the globe. She is active in movements to end violence against women and explores opportunities for spiritual healing for those who have encountered gender-based violence. Connect with Gina on Facebook, Twitter @GMessinaPhD, Instagram @GinaMessinaPhD, and her website http://www.ginamessina.com.

One thought on “Female Language and Imagery of the Divine By Gina Messina-Dysert”

Please familiarize yourself with our Comment Policy before posting.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: