God is a Woman: Omer 42

God is a Woman: Omer 42
Black and white drawing of a young woman sitting on a throne holding a Torah scroll with a tree of life growing around her.

Malchut. Also known as Shechinah, God’s Maternal Presence. Yesod. Foundation. Malchut she’b’Yesod: Mother God at the foundation of the world.

So, this happened to me about two years ago.

I am walking on the UBC campus one day. Early in the afternoon, before teaching my class. It’s a damp, grey day, so I’m in a bit of a hurry. Two young Korean women, university students, approach me. Each one is holding a Bible. Oh crap, I think. Fundamentalist Christian missionaries.

“Excuse me,” they say, “Do you have a minute?”

“Yes,” I say. “But only a minute.” I imagine I’m smiling kindly.

“We would like to prove to you,” they say, “that God is a woman.”

Whoa, I think. Not your typical missionaries. Now I’m intrigued. And I’m really smiling. Because I definitely have more than a minute for this conversation!

They open their Bible to the beginning. “Look,” they say, “at the beginning of Genesis. The Bible says, ‘the spirit of God hovers over the waters.’ And the Hebrew for ‘hovering’ is a female word! “

How they know this, I’m not sure. Because the Bible they are holding is a contemporary English translation.

“Now, look at this!” they say. And they flip to the end of their Bible. The final verses of the Book of Revelation. “It says, ‘The spirit and the Bride say, come!’ So, the spirit of God is female. That proves God is a woman.”

Technically, it proves that the spirit of God is female. Not that God Itself is female. Or anything like a human woman. Still, I get their point. The Bible begins and ends with God’s feminine spirit. She births the world, and she calls it into maturity. Everything else has to be read in light of these two bookends.

But I don’t say either of those things. I don’t correct or re-state what they said.

Instead, I say, “Let me show you something, too!” And I flip to the Book of Proverbs, chapter 8.

“Look,” I say. “It says wisdom is a woman. And that wisdom was with God before creation. As a nanny, a designer, a playful friend.”

We talk for about twenty minutes. Then, I give them my business card. I tell them they would love the Vancouver School of Theology.

Then, I walk back to class, dancing a little, and smiling a lot.

Because the young women are brave and radical. They are part of a conservative Protestant church. No one there speaks of God the Mother. But these women hear her calling, anyway.

Happy Mothers Day. In all its terrible complexity.

Today is the 42nd day of the Omer, i.e., six weeks.

New to counting the Omer? Here’s a primer.

Image: Sabbath Queen, by Moses Ephraim Lilien

5 Comments
  1. I kind of chuckled when I read this “encounter” you had with these two missionaries. I have no real idea what this group is and what they actually believe. I DO know that South Koreans are VERY zealous in their religious faith commitments no matter what religion they follow.
    In searching over your description of what they are promoting, I wonder if they are members of this sectarian group, which is not at all representative of typical protestant denominations. (South Korea is full of new religious movements!)

    Was this the group, I wonder?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Mission_Society_Church_of_God

    1. Thanks, David! That makes a lot of sense! That certainly would make them outliers among local Protestants here, too. When I have more time, I’ll add that into the post as a possibility.

      We have many students at VST raised in Korean churches and they have quite a variety of approaches to their learning. Some have come to Canada specifically to learn a different culture’s approaches to Christianity.

  2. What a fabulous post! I love that they took a risk and you blessed them with deeper knowledge.

  3. Alot of us Christians are in fact, returning Jews as prophesied. The Jewish body split after The Crucifiction. The seed of Abraham dispersed throughout all the world as intended. Now, in our generation, we are returning to our Yiddishkite and taking it back with vigor. ADONAI ECHAD.
    I am a proud Jewess. And I know the Good News, the B’ rit Hadashah and The Revalation of Moshiach. I got it all. The partition that seperated us is no more.
    Our Golden Age: AT THE DOOR
    I am the Good Shepherd
    The Shepherd gives his life for the sheep.
    BH
    I AM the Door of the sheepfold.
    The people escaping the sword
    Found favor in the desert
    I have brought Israel to its rest.

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