During the General Synod of the Church of England (CofE) on 7 July, the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, argued that the Lord’s Prayer opening with the words “Our Father” was “problematic” (that far-left code word du jour). The alleged “problem” was that this hitherto innocuous phrase may cause upset “for those whose experience of earthly fathers has been destructive and abusive.” Furthermore, the word “Father” could also be considered offensive “for all of us who have labored rather too much from an oppressively patriarchal grip on life.”
For in-house feminist campaigner Rev. Christina Rees, Cottrell had “put his finger on a really live issue,” at least to the likes of her. For Rees, there were “multiple layers” why the term “Our Father” was problematic, including that many Christians had been “abused by their fathers in God, the local priest.” Demonstrating her vast command of Scripture, Rees added that “[Just] because Jesus called God ‘daddy,’ we think we have to call God ‘daddy’ [too].”
Wiser Anglicans, like Canon Dr. Chris Sugden, have disagreed, recalling how Jesus specifically told us to pray to “Our Father,” and to suggest otherwise was to suggest you know better than Christ Himself. But then, what did Mr. Sugden know? Unlike the blessed Ms. Rees, he was only a man.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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A previous Synod in February had already announced a new “project on gendered language” to examine the potential for a new generation of Anglican liturgy which did not use exclusively male pronouns to refer to God. Even Vladimir Putin made note of this, in a speech about the growing moral degeneracy of his enemies in the West. Yet various vicars had taken it upon themselves to begin referring to God by the trans-friendly pronoun “they,” or as “our Father and Mother” for some time.
Female vicar Chantal Noppen—a literal blue-haired Social Justice Warrior—ostentatiously referred to the Holy Spirit as “she” during this meeting, something she defended as not her “trying to be woke” but a mere example of “giving voice to more marginalized communities.” God, Noppen said, was not a “white cis male with a beard, sitting on a cloud” but “far bigger than a binary sense of gender allows.” Such “patriarchal assumptions” had “long damaged and reduced the possibility and potential of people, particularly those who do not conform [to] or fit that model—women, non-heteronormative folk.” Thus, it was “time to embrace the liberation that such changes to our [gendered] language can offer.”
In 2018, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, had already stated that “All human language about God is inadequate and to some degree metaphorical. God is not a father in exactly the same way as a human being is a father. God is not male or female.” Fair enough. Even paragraph 239 of today’s Catholic Catechism explicitly states that God “is neither man nor woman: He is God.”
Yet it is an obvious fact that God is consistently (though not exclusively) referred to in the Bible as if He was male. Theologians can argue endlessly over whether this is just linguistic metaphor or not, but to do so is to ignore the actual specific meaning of such a metaphor. If the Bible almost always portrays God as a Father rather than as a Mother, then surely there must be a specific reason for this? If the Bible almost always portrays God as a Father rather than as a Mother, then surely there must be a specific reason for this? Tweet This
Analyzing earlier manifestations of such trends back in 2018, a sensible CofE man, Rev. Ian Paul, noted an unspoken agenda to contemporary attempts to redefine the gender language used about God, as “Fathers and mothers are not interchangeable, but relate to their offspring in different ways.”
Mothers were stereotypically more nurturing and indulgent of their children, but a father possessed more of “a covenant commitment” to his child, standing as a figure of authority whose role was more likely to include rule-giving and punishment to keep His fallible infant on the straight and narrow.
Therefore, said Paul, a shift toward more female imagery and language used to refer to God will inevitably have “a noticeable effect upon our vision of God,” in terms of what He wants both for and from us—i.e., we will end up with a more indulgent, less demanding God who wants to emphasize how much He loves us all the time rather than chiding us for our many sins.
So, when you see some “priests” today blessing gay parades, or lauding (the right kind of) criminals, that’s the kind of nonsense this can ultimately lead to—by deliberate design.
Who’s behind all this? A disproportionate number would appear to be left-wing female vicars. One apparent entryist often cited in favor of relabeling God as non-male is the Rev. Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, the new Archdeacon of Liverpool. You can tell everything you need to know about the psychology of this individual from an unbelievably childish tweet she put out in September 2017: “Why does the Bible seem not to speak to women? Short answer—the Patriarchy. Long answer—the Paaaaa-treeeee-aaaaaaaar-keeeeeeeeeey.”
A former atheist, Threlfall-Holmes claims to have heard the voice of God one day, ordering her to “Be a vicar.” If so, it was the only time she deigned to actually hear and obey her Heavenly Father. If God and His Church are now compared by Anglican bishops like Stephen Cottrell to abusive fathers, this only echoes the earlier 2012 gibe of Threlfall-Holmes that, due to its historic reluctance to appoint female bishops, the CofE was an abusive husband:
The question for women priests today is: do we stay with this abusive institution? Do we stay, hoping it will get better? Do we stay, because we feel called by God to be in this marriage? Do we stay, thinking we can continue to try to change it from the inside? Or do we flee to the nearest refuge …?
Apparently, England’s previous lack of women bishops was somehow responsible for women being raped and abused worldwide:
One of the reasons women’s ordination is important is because women’s current exclusion from the church hierarchy justifies and entrenches sexist attitudes which have very serious consequences for women around the world. Rape, sexual abuse, violence against women and women’s political and economic subjugation are repeatedly justified on the basis that it is ‘natural’ and ‘God-given’ that women should be below men on some divine hierarchy.
Yes, whenever the Taliban behead female apostates in Islamic Afghanistan, they only do so because of their innate disappointment with the backward gender politics of the See of Canterbury.
What was the solution? To stop listening to tradition and the Bible and begin listening to all-knowing holy wise-women like her instead. On her extensive blog, Threlfall-Holmes is explicit about knowing how to run His Church far better than God does. Her 2021 “poem/thought experiment” “At the Bridge” jokes about how many over-lively dogs actually take their owners for a walk, being the ones running ahead in control of the path onward. This is the ideal model for the future Archdeacon’s own relationship with God:
I wonder what it would be like to follow God like this?
Not hold myself back, walking obediently at his heel,
But to run joyfully ahead, feeling the joy of my body and freedom –
Turning to call him to share in my delight –
Straining to see him approach –
Knowing he won’t be far behind.
In a sermon preached at Liverpool Cathedral in May 2022, the blind Lord’s new farsighted guide dog boasted of being party to “A new commandment. A new Heaven, a new Earth. A new sweeping away of distinctions between what is holy and what is profane, a new sweeping away of distinctions between who’s in and who’s out.” Taking Isaiah 43:19’s “See: I am making all things new” as inspiration, Threlfall-Holmes informed her congregation of how “what God asks of us, what God calls us to do, can change radically from generation to generation.”
And what new things is God calling this new generation of Anglicans to do? To be more queer-friendly, it sounds like:
There is a message for us here today, I think, about not being afraid to tell our stories of what new things we feel God is calling us to do and to be and to say; about not being afraid to hear the stories of other people, even other people who we have been taught to think of as “other.”
“God is always re-creating the world…[and may] at any moment present us with new ways to more fully live out that new commandment [for us all] to love one another,” Threlfall-Holmes continued. But what this really seems to mean is: whatever form of radical left-wing cultural change I personally want to see happen, that’s automatically just what God wants too. She’s worshiping herself here, not any other deity.
Such women are political entryists, pure and simple. The only kind of females who want to overturn millennia of tradition and have themselves appointed priests are, almost by inevitable definition, precisely the kind of “forward-thinking, progressive” wreckers who will seek to overturn Christian orthodoxy in a thousand other ways too.
Catholics should note the mess now unfolding in the CofE and act accordingly: tell any women who demand to be future priests to “Get thee to a nunnery!” instead.
[Image Credit: Church of England]