Language of prayer

I like aesthetics. I like poetry. I like them both in prayer. I also like inclusive language, although a lot of attempts in liturgy leave me cold. That having been said, Talmida’s got an interesting post up about the new translation of the Nicene Creed over at The Lesser of Two Weevils.

The good: I like that it now says “for us and for our salvation.” The original is “qui nos homines,” so that fits. There’s some debate over on her blog about the part about Jesus becoming man…I don’t mind this as much because, well, he was a guy, although the Latin is more specific: “Et homo factus est,” “And was made human.” It’s a subtle difference that I wonder isn’t being lost in the politics surrounding inclusive language. (I wonder if the retention of “man” is a nose-thumbing at the other side.)

But some of the comments mention praying to God as “Our Mother.” I’ve never seen an example of it that I feel comfortable with. Like Talmida pointed out, we were taught to pray “Our Father.” Praying with different words isn’t bad, it’s different words. But that’s not why I’m uncomfortable with it.

Sure, you could chalk up my balking to being under the thumb of the patriarchy, but I wonder if such addenda are another example of our fingerprint on prayer or worship. I’m uncomfortable with such things because it’s only substituting one gender for another–it’s as uncomfortable to me as saying “For us men and for our salvation.” Prayer and liturgy shouldn’t be all about us. If anything, they should transcend us. I worry that such corrections are no better than that which they’re meant to replace.


~ by Jen on April 15, 2007.

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