Sunday, January 07, 2007

In Which I Have an Epiphany

Here beginneth the religious rant:

Today I left for church at 8:45 a.m. I got home in time for dinner. It was a very long day.

This is because we had our regular choir warm-up, our regular 10:30 service, our regular choir rehearsal, a short lunch break, and then a special 4:00 Evensong to celebrate Epiphany.

Now, I really don't regret handing this much time--not to mention $22.00 in parking fees--to God. In my opinion, He deserves all the time I can give Him. More, even.

But I wish God would tell the idiots who wrote today's Epiphany pageant (haven't been to church in a while? Christmas pageants are totally last century. Everyone who is anyone does the pageant for Epiphany now) not to use inclusive language all the time. They use it very chance they get, even where it's superfluous or misleading, because in the Biblical account, the sex of the person in question is quite clear.

I don't have any huge problem when people avoid referring to God as "He." In my understanding, God is pretty reliably 1/3 male (at least, if you're a Trinitarian) because that's the way it is with Sons--of God or anyone else. They tend to be male. But but hey, call the other two persons "it" or "he/she" or "To whom it may concern." I don't really care.

Still, imagine my chagrin when the pageant narrator referred to "The Three Wise People." Three Wise People? WTF? And I don't care that two of the pageant's Magi were being played by girls; that doesn't matter. It's a technicality. The Magi were men.

OK, I know the Bible doesn't say
And lo, Balthazar grew uneasy. And dismounting from his camel, he tied it to a large palm tree. And then he took a whiz against the palm tree. And then, having shaken himself dry, and feeling much relieved, he climbed back upon his camel and rode to Bethlehem, in search of the babe who was to be King--I'm sorry, Ruler-- of the Jews Hebrew-Speaking Monotheists.

But really. I've checked the job qualifications for Magus, and basically, due to a lot of first century sexist attitudes, chicks were not--at the time--considered qualified for the job.

On the other hand, chicks did have a lot of important jobs, like Mother of Jesus, Mother of John the Baptist, Extravagant Precious Oil Giver, Harlot, Adulteress--really, when you think about it, the list goes on and on.

Is there anything inherently wrong with calling the Three Wise Men ... men? Is my daughter's self-esteen supposed to be crushed by this? If this is their theory, I fear the Inclusive Language Brigade is worrying in vain; my daughter is really remarkably resilient. It doesn't bother her that kings are male. Really, it doesn't.

And where will this inclusive language nonsense end? I mean, when they start talking about "the Person taken in Adultery," and start calling the Virgin Mary "the Holy Parent," I'm converting. I'm not sure to what, but I'm out of here.

And if I bail--a card-carrying cradle Episcopalian, a church mouse of the deepest dye, what will happen to the less-fanatical members of the congregation? They'll fold their tents and silently steal away.

So, my question is, is the Church, in an attempt not to offend anyone whatsoever, becoming extremely silly? It's a rhetorical question, so I'll answer it. And the answer is "yes."

So all you people who are so hot on Inclusive Language? If you turn the Three Wise Men into "Three Rather Intelligent People, Not That There's Anything Wrong With Being Less-Wisdom- Abled," you're letting the Organized Underground Practitioners of Random Acts of Violence win.

Here endest the religious rant.


  1. If you want to see this taken to truly ridiculous extremes, try a Unitarian Universalist church sometime.


  2. I'm getting all kinds of tingly, in a pious way.


  3. I want to print this out and send this to every earnest do-gooder in Boston.

    Agreed 100%.

  4. i agree with you. however , being roman catholic, i don't think i have to fear this happening in my church anytime soon!

    a delurker

  5. Well nobody can get PC like us Quakers. But I don't have this problem one way or the other. God is a Spirit, and is to be worshipped in the spirit. What need would a spirit have for genitalia?

  6. Generally speaking, I would think a spirit would have no need whatsoever for genitalia--except for those times that the spirit decided to become Incarnate, when genitalia might come in handy.

    Of course, I don't have much use for mine, and the last time I checked, I was corporeal. In fact, I was casting rather a large shadow.

  7. Hmmmm... I am having some trouble finding that passage in the NT wherein Christ needed his genitals.

    Certainly that incarnation was male... he was a "son", after all.

    Of course I was speaking of the incarnation at the top of the chain in its original state.

    Hard to picture God with jock itch...

    Are we... is this, like, getting close to blasphemy?

  8. Maybe you are. (Do Quakers blaspheme? I thought you could say whatever you liked. Just not very much of it. At least, at a Meeting.)

    BTW there's a Feast of the Holy Circumcision, which seems to indicate that yep, the male, human 1/3 of God had genitalia.

    The other 2/3? I'd guess not.

    Of course, for true authority, you'd have to talk to Joke. He knows everything. He teaches Catechism. I tremble with fear at his frown, and kiss up to him big time, because he assures me he can get me out of Purgatory.

  9. Ah well, there it is then, we don't have one of those.

  10. Neither do we. I'm hedging my bets.


Gentle Readers:

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xxx, Poppy.