And the final one of my ten new commandments is simply this – thou shalt smash the patriarchy.
By gendering God, we set half of humanity above the other half. We place power and agency in the hands of one half of humanity, and nurture and care in the hands of the other half. We create myths about what it means to be male, what it means to be female, and create a society in which women and men alike are held back. Look at the disproportionate number of men sleeping on the streets; of women experiencing domestic violence. Of men running the country; of women running homes. Of men creating laws affecting women’s bodies; of women undergoing elective cosmetic surgery. By separating human traits and emotions into masculine and feminine, we create false distinctions; by calling God male, we give greater value to the traits we’ve called masculine. We create a hierarchy in which strength, power and control are accorded more value, and therefore attract greater rewards, than tolerance, kindness and understanding. In separating these qualities, we set them against each other. We give power to the bullies; we let them create God in their own image then present him to us as their justification. It may work out for Trump and Blair, with their golden towers and lucrative speaking engagements, but it’s a bit rough on the rest of humanity.
These distinctions are human, not divine. Imagine a world in which nurture and care went hand in hand with power and agency. Just imagine, for a moment, what would happen to self harm and suicide rates, to prison populations, to homelessness. To food banks. Smashing the patriarchy does not mean smashing men – it means allowing them to live and love and care and create. Smashing the patriarchy does not mean giving all the power to women – it means dismantling these false distinctions, taking down the structures that keep both sexes from reaching their full potential.
If God made man in his own image, it makes as much sense for God to be an eight year old girl, or a teenage boy, or a woman running her own business as it does for God to be an old white man with a beard. If God made man in his own image, then God is the young child receiving help from Mermaids, the woman seeking an abortion, the alcoholic estranged from his family, the teenager pressing a razor to her skin. We are all of God by virtue of being human. There are no scales of proximity – only the truth of our existence.