Here is another excerpt from a Q and A sheet that was created at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian in Austin to help answer some common questions about inclusive language. You can see the whole thing on our “Resources” page. (see tab above)
I worry that we will lose the personal aspects of worship. “Parent” isn’t as personal as “Father.” These changes don’t leave me anything personal to hold on to.
This is an important argument. The gendered pronouns were easy ways to convey the personal aspect of God’s love. Luther argued this case when he said that the heart of the New Testament is in its pronouns. At the same time we must never forget that while God is personal, God is not a human person.
The Bible sternly warns against our efforts to reduce God to comfortable and reassuring human terms. John’s Gospel reminds us that it is not our love for God, but God’s love for us that is important. Mature spirituality does not try to be a personal friend to God. Mature faith expresses God’s love in real human relationships. What can we hold on to personally? We can hold onto one another. Children do need more concrete imagery to begin their journey. We give them a handle through all the wonderful stories of the Bible, particularly in the life of Jesus who made the love of God very personal.