A few days ago, the Episcopal Church's Convention approved the use of an expansive-language version of Rite II Eucharistic prayers.
Those who know me are aware that I am socially liberal as it comes and yet I find the need of transforming our language and perhaps the very essence of Christian theology a step too far. I always thought words are poetry and whatever they are, they platonically represent something else and certainly whatever the word everyone should identify with them and feel included, even if that word is mankind, especially in the context of worshipping an ever-loving God.
There is also the fact that, for centuries, the Episcopal Church's most outstanding success has been that of adapting a traditional form of Christianity, with its musical, liturgical, theological patrimony and to turn it into one of the most welcoming branches of the Anglican Communion, without changing its orthodox ethos.
I always had words of praise for its successes, but this time I feel the need to speak out, our Christian essence as a branch of the Catholic and Apostolic Church is unchangeable, that is unquestionable.
Yes, God is genderless, but didn't his Son teach us to pray the Lord's Prayer? I assure you the original Greek versions in Matthew and Luke do not change that nature. As a high church Anglican, I also tend to interpret Scripture not only through itself but also through Tradition and Reason; yet the Gospel of John gives us the clearest example of God's unchanging and unchangeable nature: Jesus is the Son of God sent from God the Father (John 8:34-38, John 10:35-39) and especially the Trinity as being composed of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (John 14:15.21). Of course Matthew (28:19) also asks us to go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Language is important, breaking continuity in this manner may cause a gateway process that could lead to heterodoxy, where is the limit once you push it? It is changing the nature of the Trinity, what stops the Church from going Unitarian! Why not include holy women and holy men in Anglican worship in the Americas? Perhaps by giving relevance to the Blessed Virgin Mary? She who became a tabernacle for Christ, she who was under the Cross at Christ's final sacrifice, she who witnessed the resurrection and ascension, she the first before the apostles to receive the Spirit at Pentecost.
I worry that the American Church might lose contact with reality and just experiment with religion by applying very first world problems to much simpler questions; the new gender-less liturgies will also be translated in French and Spanish, but how will these different socio-economic congregations take this sudden change of the traditional way they've always seen God? They might just think it's just rich whites with too much time playing around, but why do it with religion? Last but not least, as a native Italian speaker, I can tell you, Romance languages just do not do genderless language, it just doesn't work.
Being inclusive is about facts, not language, only privileged people with lots of free time and who treat "others" as a social pastime think it is. Welcoming and including people of all genders equally should not have any impact at all on the essence of God's nature, we should not be insecure before our God, a Lord of all. For example, isn't feminism about challenging unequal salaries, domestic abuse, sexism of various forms rather than this? I have spoken to various friends in the Episcopal Church, most of them think this is a silly decision, so my question is: who gets elected to the General Convention's roll? Is this inclusivity, exclusivity?
God made himself incarnate in his Son Jesus Christ and bestowed his grace on us through the Spirit, we were all redeemed by Christ equally, for we are all made in his own image and we are all equal in his eyes, that's all it matters.