Sunday, August 15, 2010

Of Goddesses, Pink Parasols, Tatooed Preachers and the Mother "Within Us"

What started as a simple news story about the planned Rite of Reception for Anita Hill over at Pretty Good Lutherans is now a discussion about "Goddess language" and tattooed pastors.

All this from a comment from "Tom" who complained about "Pink parasols, god-dess language, and preachers covered in tatoos" at the Rite of Reception at St. Mark's Lutheran in San Francisco. 

Okay let's start with the preachers covered in tattoos.  I think he was talking about one preacher -  Nadia Bolz-Weber, of Sarcastic Lutheran fame.  She had a great sermon.  Who cares if she has tattoos?  If I had the guts and money to spare, I'd get a tattoo.

You can see a picture of the pink parasol over at Lutheran (True)Confessions.  I don't get the pink parasol.  Personally I prefer not to add church symbols - I like the ones we have which is why my husband and I did not have a "unity candle" at our wedding. 

You can find the worship folder from the service here:  Rite of Reception.  It really was not as goofy as some people made it out to be.  A little over the top for my tastes -  I like traditional liturgical worship myself.  But this *is* San Francisco after all.  I lived there for eight years.  They like to do slightly goofy things there.

And calling God "Mother" is not Goddess language.    I was actually more concerned about the phrase Mother "within us"   You have to be real careful talking about the "god/goddess/Mother/Father within"  Yes, you can speak of God dwelling within us through the Holy Spirit, but we have no divinity within us naturally.   God is the Creator and we are the created and I think it's pretty essential that we keep that clear.  There is no divinity within myself that can save me.  I cannot save myself.  My salvation lies outside of me and who I am - you start depending on that god within yourself and you are real close to relying on that god that IS yourself and then you are lost.  I think the one prayer is dicey.  But it was one option among many in case you had a problem saying the Lord's prayer.  Which I don't.  And I don't think Christians should have a problem with the Lord's Prayer.  I think people who refuse to call God Father are just as wrong headed as those who reject all feminine imagery for God.   So of the whole service, that part seems a little questionable to me.

But like I said, that's San Francisco for you. 


  1. Think I'll skip the PGL story, thanks to your forewarning. I can just imagine the comments.

    My liturgical style is as retro-12th-century as can be, and I get very impatient with worship leaders who mess with well-established traditions. In fact, the only thing that makes me more impatient is reactive church types who seize upon every liturgical misjudgment as a sign that the Liberal Yahoo End-Times are upon us.

  2. we didn't have a unity candle at ours, either. so, I'm with you. didn't think the prayer was "goddess language." just bad theology. And Nadia? she's the Lutheran-est person I know, tattoos and all.

  3. Just Say No to Unity Candles. I don't really care one way or another, but I think it's cheesy, and the real liturgical symbols are not cheesy. I didn't want one and if I had my mom let me know that no way was she toddling up front with my future-MIL to light the side candles.

  4. Wow. It warms my heart to hear so much anti-unity candle sentiment.