Gender Trouble

by Kieran Healy on June 30, 2006

Just before lunch, I had the following conversation on the phone:

[Phone rings]
KH: Kieran Healy.
Woman: Oh, so you are a man.
KH: Uh, yes, I am.
Woman: This is [someone] at the editorial desk of the _New York Times_. We referred to you as a woman yesterday in a post on our _Opinionator_ blog. We’ll change it now.
KH: Oh, OK.
Woman: Thank you. Goodbye.
KH: Goodbye.

The Opinionator is behind the Times Select Paywall, so I haven’t seen the original reference or the corrected one. Someone else told me yesterday is was a quote from the “Brights post”:

Framing God

by Steven Poole on June 30, 2006

The Holy Trinity is getting a makeover:

When referring to the Trinity, most Christians are likely to say “Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.”
But leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) are suggesting some additional designations: “Compassionate Mother, Beloved Child and Life-giving Womb,” or perhaps “Overflowing Font, Living Water, Flowing River.”
Then there’s “Rock, Cornerstone and Temple” and “Rainbow of Promise, Ark of Salvation and Dove of Peace.”
The phrases are among 12 suggested but not mandatory wordings essentially endorsed this month by delegates to the church’s policy-making body to describe a “triune God,” the Christian doctrine of God in three persons.
The Rev. Mark Brewer, senior pastor of Bel Air Presbyterian Church, is among those in the 2.3-million-member denomination unhappy with the additions.
“You might as well put in Huey, Dewey and Louie,” he said.

Some of the other proposed phrases include “Sun, Light and Burning Ray”, or even “Fire That Consumes, Sword That Divides and Storm That Melts Mountains.” This is a reaction to the supposedly “patriarchal” nature of the usual way to express the Trinity. I say, why not? I like the imagistic poetry of the alternatives. It reminds me of the names for movements in Chinese martial arts. How about “White Crane Spreads Its Wings, Green Dragon Emerges from the Water, and Step Back to Ride the Tiger”?