What does it mean to be inclusive?
Being inclusive means referring to Deity as both female and male, including men and women equally in our language and in all areas of life. Being inclusive means giving equal opportunities to women and men of all races, abilities, classes, and sexual orientations. Including both female and male in our language for the Divine provides a strong foundation for this equality and justice. In our worship services when we speak and sing of Deity as both female and male, we provide powerful affirmation of all female and male human beings. Some people think that inclusive language means eliminating references to God as "He," and simply repeating "God" or "Lord." While eliminating masculine pronouns for Deity is a first step, it does not include the feminine. Because of centuries of tradition, most people still think "He" when they hear "God" and certainly "Lord." Only by including female references, such as "Mother" and "She," will women be truly included and valued. Being inclusive means balancing female and male divine names: "Father and Mother," "She and He," "Sister and Brother," "Christ and Sophia."
When we balance female and male sacred names and symbols, we help overcome injustice and create a world of shared power. Including male and female in language for the Divine lays the foundation for including women and men as pastors and priests and as equal leaders in the church and in society. Including male and female references to Deity in worship lays the foundation for inclusiveness in gender, race, and sexual orientation.
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