How gendered is Christ?
The idea of God as a woman has been around for quite a long time. It is well enough established, at least in certain circles, that it is common practice at least to not think of God as an unquestionably masculine presence. Similarly, the Holy Spirit is often thought of as being feminine. Christ, it seems, is the one part of the trinity to which we can ascribe a definite gender; he was unquestionably a biological male. The question I have been pondering recently, though, is how archetypally masculine is Christ? Can Jesus be considered a male role model?
He fit the social expectations of the time for a man – he had a trade, he was a leader, his followers were a group of men. To what extent does he set a male role model today, though? As Christians we strive to be Christlike, and I believe that it is equally possible for a woman to achieve that as a man. If we were to make a list of Jesus’ defining characteristics, those which we revere and might seek to emulate, we are hardly presented with a list of typically masculine (or feminine!) virtues, things like compassion can be emulated by either gender. Christ was unquestionably a man, but I don’t know to what extent that is relevant to what he is and means today, some of the most Christlike people I’ve met in my life have been women.
We’ll be discussing interesting questions like this at the Communicating Gender conference in Logumkloster, Denmark, and would love for you to join us.
PrepCom member WSCF Europe Communicating Gender Conference
Supported by the Council of Europe