Gender, inclusivity, and god

this is a letter from Elenore Wieler:

Last summer at a Mennonite conference, it was decided ( sorry about passive voice, but I don’t know who decided), that The Mennonite Church should be more accepting of LGBTQ community. I believe one of our ministers said that ‘at least’ we needed to begin discussing our position on the acceptance of people with ‘other’ sexual preferences. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a sermon of this nature in our fairly conservative First Mennonite Church, and was even more surprised by the rage roaring inside me by the time I left the church that Sunday. Please understand that I am happy for our community to move into a place of greater tolerance for a group that has suffered for so long at Christian hands. However, I represent about 50% of the Mennonite population that remains invisible in our language at worship, in pronoun and metaphor. I have a copy of a letter expressing my concerns, written over 25 years ago to Reverend John R. Friesen at FMC. Things have come long way since I wrote it: we have a female leading minister as well as gender balance in the ministerial roles. Women serve on all committees and occasionally men serve coffee in the basement after church. But God remains Father and Lord, Jesus is of course male, and the Holy Spirit is completely genderless. Where do I find my reflection in the Divine? Where is the feminine face of God, or better yet, where is Goddess? These are of course rhetorical questions which I will answer for myself. Full disclosure, I am also writing an essay on the topic. Thinking about my writing led to browsing possible publishing opportunities which led me to Rhubarb and you. Thus my idea for an upcoming issue: ‘The Feminine Face of God.’ I get that my suggestion may be too narrow a topic. Perhaps something more general about tolerance including gender, race and sexual orientation would provide a broader base for submissions and the diversity amongst readers. I feel nauseated that I or anyone needs to be ‘tolerated’ in a Christian community. But there you have it, a long road leads from the present to what I would find a tolerable level of inclusivity in my church. I would be interested to know if you find my suggestion for a future issue useful. In any case, thanks for listening, – Elenore Wieler