Reexamining Our View of God
On Thursday August 23rd, we launched our fall “Reexamining Sexuality” workshop series with teachings on reexamining our view of God (Imago Dei).
When I’m talking about God, I’m talking about God as ‘genderful’
Becky Patton started with Genesis 1:26-27 and dove into what it means for God to create mankind in God’s likeness, creating us male and female. Patton encouraged Christians to read Genesis in its original language of Hebrew to reveal more about the true characteristics of God.
“I had always translated God as male. Because our (English) scripture says “He” all the way through it. But in Hebrew “He” actually includes both genders. When I’m talking about God, I’m talking about God as “genderful,” Patton explained. Becky Patton is the founder of Truessence, a ministry that is committed to informing and enriching lives that reflect the truest essence of God’s love. She also authored the book “Holy Sexuality: Beginning with Questions.”
The Gender Designations of God
Patton acknowledged thinking of God as “genderful” might take participants time and energy to deconstruct their original thoughts and language used to describe God. Which is exactly what Senior Pastor Paul Olson, of Elim Baptist Church said he is attempting to do.
God embodies these qualities of both men and women…
“Bringing into a balance that God is not a man, God is not a woman, yet God embodies these qualities of both men and women. That’s a tension we have to live in, and I think Becky’s done a good job of drawing us into that tension that we should sit in as we think about God.”
But Patton acknowledged in the time between her first workshop session and parts two and three, participants will need to engage in a lot wrestling regarding the gender designations of God.
“Can we move from gender designations to gender dimensions?” she asked.
Christians have been handicapped because we don’t understand the mystery of sexuality, and the mystery of spirituality.
“We’re in a cultural shift right now and we’re here to learn,” said Kathy, who works with high school students at the Church of the Open Door. “The deeper unpacking of the passages was really interesting, freeing, and encouraging. I think this next generation will be a little more open to the concept of God being Genderful. Genders for the upcoming generation, Gen Z, is a little more fluid, so the concept of God encapsulating both genders will be easy for them to grasp. The tricky part for us, as church leaders, is what do we do with the breadth of that?”
The Interwoven Nature of Spirituality and Sexuality
In the first workshop session, Patton is laying the foundation for the interwoven nature of spirituality and sexuality.
“Christians have been handicapped because we don’t understand the mystery of sexuality, and the mystery of spirituality. I’m trying to create a space where there is this interplay, a divine dance of spirituality and sexuality coming together,” said Patton.
One participant, Barbara, who works in a prayer-based healing ministry often following trauma, anticipates learning more about the connection between sexuality and spirituality.
…adding a whole different dimension to how I will approach sexuality and spirituality in my ministry
“This training gives so much hope, and feels like the teaching is integrating a whole lot of things that Christians hold separate. It is already adding a whole different dimension to how I will approach sexuality and spirituality in my ministry,” said Barbara, with Cross Resources and City Church Minneapolis.
Next Steps in Reexamining Sexuality Workshops
For the rest of the Reexamining Sexuality workshop series, Patton will look into how having a healthy view of God, ourselves and others will lead to a healthy view and experience of sex.
Patton teased ahead at the next two sessions that will focus more on God’s role in human sexuality, “When you talk about two people that bear the image of God, they come together in nakedness and unashamedness, and open themselves up to the power of God, you’re talking about an explosive, unbelievable place.”