Gendered Images of God: Expansive Language in Voices Together

Voices Together includes diverse images of God. Word, Breath, Rock, Creator, Spirit, Gardener, Everlasting Love, Fiery Force, and many other images of God are not gendered. At the same time, some of the most striking images of God—in new, revised, and retained songs and resources—do use gendered language. Voices Together takes the approach of expanding the images for God beyond those in previous Mennonite hymnals while also retaining familiar images. In the same book, and sometimes even on the same page, God is named with feminine and masculine pronouns, and described with male and female images, among many ungendered metaphors. This document explains how the Mennonite Worship and Song Committee approached expansive language, and specifically gendered images of God, in Voices Together.

The committee recognizes that the choices made in Voices Together will prompt a range of responses—joy, grief, alarm, relief, confusion, and more. Since a variety of approaches to language are used, it is unlikely anyone will be satisfied with every decision. The hymnal is not intended to cater to one person or community, but instead is meant to serve the diversity within Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada by supporting faithful worship that is true to the God we encounter in Scripture, the Anabaptist tradition, and our daily lives.

Includes discussion questions.

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