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The issue of God's gender is not one that can be trivialized and seen simply as something arising from feminist ideological concern – "It is important for women that God not be conceived of as exclusively masculine!" Much more is at stake than a feminist agenda. How we conceive of God has immense consequences for all of us, in ways that we rarely imagine.
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The Greek philosophers used to say that we are fired into life with a madness that comes from the gods and that this energy is the root of all love, hate, creativity, joy and sadness. A Christian should agree with that, then add that God put that power, sexuality, within us so that, ultimately we might also create life and, like God, look upon what we have helped create, overflow with a joy that breaks the very casings of our selfishness, and say: "It is good; indeed, it is very good!"
Karl Rahner once said that the time is fast approaching when one will either be a mystic or an unbeliever. He's right. None of us can rely much longer on the fact that we were once given the faith and that we still walk within a community that, seemingly, has some faith. These things are no longer, of themselves, enough to sustain faith in an age which is as agnostic, pluralistic, seductive and distracting as is our own.
Carol Shields ends her recent novel, Larry's Party, with a scene depicting a dinner party. Larry, the bungling hero of her story, has invited a motley group of persons to join him for a Saturday night dinner party. The guests include his two ex-wives, his present girlfriend and an array of disparate individuals, each equipped to illustrate all the sins and bunglings in the world.