Monday 1 January 2018

The Church of Sweden is going to stop referring to God as a man

High-ranking Swedish clergy have expanded on the Church of Sweden's recent announcement that it plans to stop referring to God as a man, instead opting to use gender-neutral terms.

Lena Sjostrand, the chaplain of Lund Cathedral, said the changes are going to take place in order to keep up with the more inclusive nature of contemporary society.

“We have consciousness about gender questions, which is stronger in our time than it has been before,” she said in an interview with PBS NewsHour . “Of course, this has had an impact on theology and on church life and pastoral reflection.”

Uppsala, situated in the north of Stockholm, is the location of the seat of the Swedish church. Antje Jackelen is the Lutheran Archbishop of Uppsala and leader of over six million registered Lutherans.

She will be overseeing the replacement of masculine terms in the Swedish church over the next six months.

While these changes may seem radical, Ms Jackelen explained how the church has always perceived God as displaying both male and female attributes. “Like Julian of Norwich in the 14th century said, as sure as God is our father, God is our mother,” she said. “So, I mean, this is not something that’s newly invented. It’s part of our tradition.”

Expressions such as: “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit” will be altered to gender-neutral phrases such as: “In God the Trinity’s name."

While Sweden is widely regarded as a forward-thinking country, these proposed changes have inevitably been met with some opposition.

Pastor Mikael Lowegren, for instance, does not agree with the notion that God be referred to in gender-neutral terms.  “You don’t play lightly with the creed,” he said. “You don’t play lightly with the liturgy of the church.”

Priests won’t be forced to change their use of language in church. However, the Primate in Sweden will strongly encourage them to do so.

(Source: Independent)

No comments:

Post a Comment