Sunday, March 01, 2009

S words

In October 2004, the website Radical Calendar said of Fr. Luis Barrios that he “doesn’t hesitate to call God, Goddess.” This past Saturday, February 28, MadPriest, picked up a Living Church story that said that in an open letter, Fr. Barrios said it is his “duty to our Goddess to build a better world.” At the Living Church website, this “news” is dated February 26, 2009. The actual open letter appears on a website where the posts are not dated. The letter itelf is dated January 27, 2009. In a comment to the post at MadPriest, at first I said I did not believe the quote and then I had to admit that it was accurate. In this case, I posted first and googled later – not a good idea. In the course of googling, I came to realize what is going on. Later on, in the comments at MadPriest’s, David [Dah + veed] Allen put it better than I could: “The statement was issued in English and Spanish and it says Our Goddess (Nuestra Diosa) in the Spanish as well. It appears that Padre Luis is an alternating inclusive, using both masculine and feminine language for Our God (Nuestro Dios) in the same passages.”

The problem for me is that “our Goddess” is an imperfect translation of what Fr. Barrios means when he say “nuestra Diosa.” This is partly because English no longer has grammatical gender (differentiated third person pronouns do not constitute grammatical gender.) So “Goddess” is not simply the feminine form of “God,” it has other connotations, especially the form “the Goddess.” Moreover, “-ess” words in general are now problematic for many people.

That said, now that I understand it, I am not bothered by Fr. Barrios’s use of the word “Goddess.”

Of course the pseudo Anglicans of the radical right are all over the story, mostly because of the protest for which Fr. Barrios was arrested, but also because of some of his earlier activism and what I admittedly intemperately call their own inability to comprehend inclusiveness in any form or to tolerate diversity of opinion. But that's to be expected.


DanG said...

I find it amusing that some folks are quick to limit our Deity. In our smallness we try to make God in our own image and fail to realize that our puny attempts to limit Him/Her/It will always fall short. God is I AM.

Allen said...

When I'm in a good mood I too find it amusing. But sometimes I just find it depressing.