That’s it! From now on, I will not use a pronoun to stand in for God. I’ve done it all these years with some discomfort, but I let my affinity for a lovely sentence supersede the need to stop calling God “he” and “him.” Well, no more. I will use God’s name twenty times in one sentence to refer to God if need be. Because, you see, the ramifications are large.

We think nothing of referring to God as “father” and “he.” But every time we do, we reinforce a stereotype. God is not a man. What’s more, the words we use to describe God — “mighty,” “powerful,” “ruler” — then also become words that we associate with being male. And every time we reinforce this stereotype, we tell women and girls that God is not what they are. God is male and thus inaccessible to us. And if this is so, we are not much in the scheme of things. We are what God is not.

And that is just not true. God made us, male and female, in God’s image. Both. What’s more, God has always sided with the underdog — just read the Old Testament or note whom Jesus tends to hang out with in the Gospels. And in a world where animal law still triumphs, and the physically strongest remain on top, women are the underdogs. God stands with us, too.

I’ll let this poem do the rest of my talking.

God is he, is she,
is bigger than both, is better;
belonging to neither but
belonging to all;
pronouns quail at the sound, the sight,
quake at the prospect of naming
that which is unnamable,
quaver at encompassing all that is he (and she) (and both);
too easy our tongues
slot words into genders.
Our language is not built
for one so big.

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