Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Father-Mother Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to World Events and Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Father-Mother Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to World Events and Daily Life

Article excerpt

Time was, the duties of nurturing, cherishing, and comforting were carried out primarily by mothers. People inclined to identify those activities as having divine origins can make an easy connection between motherhood and God; God as Mother makes sense in this line of reasoning. After all, a human mother expresses nurturing in her mothering.

Time was, also, when courage, strength, protecting, and providing were seen mostly as within a father's sphere. Identifying those qualities spiritually also points to a source in God. God as Father is a natural conclusion. After all, a human father expresses protecting in his fathering.

But the time is now long past when nurturing and cherishing were considered uniquely and exclusively female, or that protecting and providing for a family were seen as uniquely and exclusively male activities. With the role switching that has occurred in many societies in recent decades-which has included the widespread entry of women into the workplace and the rise of the single-parent family-old cliches no longer hold. Lines that once clearly divided male-female responsibilities in a two-parent family have become blurred. In many families those lines have ceased to exist at all. Qualities once connected with "father" or with "mother" are no longer easily compartmentalized.

So now, what of God? What of divine motherhood and fatherhood? If the characteristics of human parents have become so fluid, do the terms Mother and Father still tell us anything unique about the nature of God?

Yes! Both Father and Mother as names for God tell us that we all can trace our source to God. It is practical and invaluable for us to know God as both Father and Mother.

Even though these terms for God are distinct, they are also inescapably linked. Yes, humanly there are many fatherless households. And there are some motherless households. But divinely, there is no Father without Mother because God is one, not two. And it is together that these two distinct-yet-synonymous terms for God are often used by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science. …

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