I have been pondering seriously the idea of what we “SEE” in our mind’s eye when we think of God and/or Jesus. Do we connect God to being MALE, masculine, man? The New Testament offers almost no physical descriptions and the earliest surviving portraits of Jesus date from about two centuries after his lifetime.
Why do we picture God or Jesus as male? Should we, necessarily? Is it helpful or not? Is it important to God to be thought of as Male?
I want to create a photograph series representing an androgynous: (neither totally male nor female) God/Jesus, but beautiful, long-suffering, kind, generous, strong Jesus that all can relate to.
Why? Because for me and many people, male and female alike, it is destructive and even painful to think of God as male, masculine, or a man. I know Jesus came to earth in the physical body of a male, but there is very little in scripture that talks about his gender or sexual identity (it is actually very benign topic in scripture).
And the way I think of it, Jesus does not fit cleanly into typical masculine and feminine gender roles. Jesus was counter-cultural. He was a man, but then what? … If I am to be able to identify fully with God, who to me drew on both traditionally masculine and feminine emotions and behaviours, ways of thinking, approaches to life, I see that being as “between” woman and man, or if you will genderless.
If males are created in the image of God, then God has male attributes or traditional masculinity; and if females are created in the image of God, then God has female attributes and femininity. But we are uncomfortable with that in traditional Christianity.
God’s personality has attributes of maleness and femaleness. Males and females, created in the image of God, have God-given attributes of maleness and femaleness.
Androgyny is simply the unity of ‘man’ and ‘woman’, ‘male’ and ‘female.’
This changes the typical and peculiar valuing of woman or women and forces one to challenge thinking that assumes that Males have a higher position with God than Females. That man is the starting-point and woman the derivative. To me, an androgynous God is a correction to this one-sided thinking.
Where I have been reading:
This is not to say the person of Jesus was not a man, but was God, is God MALE. And is that important? How you or I “see” God need not be set in stone, need not be declared definitively, need not be harmful as it is now.
I want to blow people’s perceptions and stereotypes of God/Jesus, but I am not sure Blackhawk is ready for that … It is important to me. And I will pursue this project.
I am not certain that the person I have in mind would be willing to model. But I’d like to find out.