I Dared to Call Her “Godde”
By Timothy Victor
When I studied systematic theology, we explored the attributes of God in some depth. One of those lecturers noted that the hardest thing to grasp “is not God’s Eternity but God’s Personhood.” I’ve always held that this challenge is increased by the Fall: our relationships are broken. Our relationships with ourselves, nature, others and Godde are all broken. It was then that I first heard the Christian koan, “God is not a person because we are persons; we are persons because God is a Person.”
My commitment is first and foremost to God and second only to any cause or mission. Through a relationship with God everything in my life is “formed,” and so I can apply a number of prefixes to that word. In some situations I am in-formed and in others re-formed. As an individual I am so wrapped up, so enmeshed within the world I live in and its worldview that I don’t see the world as it really exists. I see the world as I’ve been taught to see it. I’m quite aware of my need to have God in-form and re-form my worldview, birthing life into those areas which remain un-formed.
This basic truth has profound implications in my relationship with myself, other people, God, and nature.
On one hand, I’m convinced of the superiority of my worldview and the accomplishments of our civilization; on the other hand I’m deeply aware of the crimes we’ve committed not only toward other persons but also against nature. It seems that even the best desires shared across generations are tainted by dysfunction, incompetent expression, poor implementation, willful stupidity and stubbornness or – in biblical shorthand – sin and sinfulness. And yet my worldview leaves me with a deep appreciation for life, for living and loving relationships.
As an individual I live with a free (and ever more free-er) sense of the adventure of life and have grown to understand that “Life is for living.” But I’m also becoming increasingly aware of our complicity in the destruction of our environment – and this despite our faith.
Early Experiences of God
In retrospect this nuanced sense of the goodness and enjoyment of life and the taint within it stems from a relationship with God. This is a relationship that first started in 1985, when I decided that if what I was experiencing was life then it was certainly not worth living. Unexpectedly God became present to me, promising to give me life and a future. Since then I’ve been journeying with God through life. At first God was noticeable occasionally, a distant and distinct Person offering guidance and presenting me with choices requiring my conscious participation.
It wasn’t till 1991 that it dawned on me that I could respond reciprocally to God, that I could pursue a relationship with God from my side. It took a face-to-face encounter with Jesus to bring this reality home to me … and it was with some disgust that I discovered not only that Jesus was very much alive and real but that he was synonymous with the God I’d experienced way back in ’85.
The period of 1991-95 I spent four years bumping up against the unhealthy Christian theology I’d inherited while trying to develop a healthy theology by studying in preparation for a career in ministry. But it wasn’t until my exposure to the notion of the Father Heart of God, therewith changing my language and practices, that I received much needed healing.
The Father Heart of God
I was introduced to the notion of the Father Heart of God and to the idea of intimacy with God in 1995. My first reaction was to avoid and object to both: How dare we trivialize God? How dare we treat God like a mere “buddy”? What kind of person would need God to be like a father to them? Surely I was above that?
Turns out I wasn’t and that I most certainly did need to discover the Father Heart of God. The Spirit had led me to a church and a movement prioritizing the Father Heart of God. Though previously God was a distant figure, speaking into and acting in my life, now he moved into my personal space. I could accept the Spirit’s leading and direction, but could I actually experience God’s love?
I started calling him “father,” “dad,” and “daddy.”
I’d grown up with no meaningful father figure in my life, as my father died early on and I hadn’t allowed anyone to fill that relationship. In his wisdom, God had played the safe card with me till that point. Now he got more serious. God was and is a Father and he chose to no longer permit me to avoid it. I don’t believe I’d ever felt so angry, so threatened, so unsafe in all my life. I threw every number of adult tantrums I could imagine, from deliberately sinning to get him to go away, to refusing to open up my heart to him, to criticizing those whose message was essentially that of God’s love and desire for us in the here-and-now. If God was present physically I think at one stage I would’ve pushed him away.
Oddly enough, I discovered that I wasn’t alone in this objection. More Christians than not were against the idea of experiencing God, of hearing from God, of including the Spirit along with his gifts of prophecy, healing and hospitality in the doing of church. But the Spirit did not let me keep company with them. I increasingly moved away from those who’d “mentored me” in the faith and I spent more and more time with a community of people who enjoyed worship and made time and space in their doing of small groups and church to wait on God.
I finally opened up to God one day in church. It was that church’s custom to worship after church was over, to spend time waiting on God, expressing their heartfelt desire for him and wanting him to connect tangibly with them. It had become my custom to stay for these sessions, to likewise express my desire for God and for his presence. I raised my arms in worship, one of my first genuinely expressive moves, and suddenly got “held.”
I was rooted to the spot.
God had embraced me.
Someone got up at the front of the church and began to speak, saying that there was someone here whom God loved and was hugging. He proceeded to describe my process of avoiding God and my pain in my relationship with my father, and how my Father wanted to love me and heal me and make me whole.
Rooted on the spot, I wept.
And God shifted something in me. I can’t tell you exactly what as I was “changed,” made more whole. But I do know that my relationships have been different ever since. I’ve been much more compassionate and considerate and much less judgmental.
I can now express my love to him and receive his love for me. Since then I’ve been able to recognize his presence, voice, and will, and hence become more able to join him in what he is doing, preaching with the expectation that God is present in Person to back up my claims about his love with his loving presence and activities.
For a season I really grew and enjoyed both life and ministry more and more. I started a prophetic evangelism project and worked as an urban missionary for several years alongside being involved in a local church. As is often the case in relationships, as much with our spouses as with God, I allowed the relationship to plateau. The business of ministry and the need to professionally relate to God meant that in my off-time I spent less and less time with God. In 2006 I got married, took a three-month sabbatical, and simply never went back to ministry. It was the right time to do that. I was looking to re-discover God, to love him more, to enter a deeper walk with his Spirit. I was internally dry spiritually and frustrated with the ins and outs of ministry. In retrospect I’d entered the metaphorical desert of faith and the long dark night of the soul.
The Mother Heart of Goddess
Shortly after leaving the church and my prophetic-evangelism I felt the Spirit urge me to speak to God in the feminine, to replace “he” with “she,” “him” with “her” and “God” with “Goddess.” And so, in 2006, I started a journey of discovering the Mother Heart of Goddess. Where I’d discovered that God’s feeling toward me is as a father to his children I now started discovering that Goddess’ feelings for me were akin to that of a mother for her child.
With no Christians around me and no church to offend (in an official capacity that is), I chose to adopt a change of language, allowing myself to discover what this would mean. I chose to do this out of obedience to the Spirit of Goddess in order to break through toward a new and deeper understanding of – and relationship with – Goddess.
As an individual I’d grown up not only without a significant father figure but also with an abusive and neglectful mother figure. Where I’d experienced the absence of a father I’d experienced the tyranny and abuse, verbal and emotional and physical, of a mentally unhealthy mother.
Fortunately by this stage I as more aware of the need for personal growth than in my younger years. After much internal deliberation I decided to refer to God in the feminine for a year and see what emerged. I didn’t change my practice out of theological conviction, out of reaction, or through joining a particular cause. I simply did so because of the Spirit’s leading.
However, calling her “mother,” “mom,” “mommy” and “Goddess” presented a lot of internal stress and a number of challenges in relationship with others.
At first this was incredibly uncomfortable. It was awkward; it felt wrong and it made me uncomfortable. In retrospect I remembered that this was exactly the same experience I had in embracing the Fatherhood of God. To call him “father,” “dad” or “daddy” made everything in me squirm. Now, once again I was going through the same thing.
By calling her “mother,” “mom” and “mommy” I became a child again and experienced tons of anger, frustration and fear. I pushed against Goddess. I resented her presence. I squirmed out of her embrace. I rejected her. All the time I kept telling myself that these were irrational feelings, that Goddess was safe and to be trusted.
And so I discovered that I didn’t trust her, that I didn’t truly love her, that I was not comfortable in her presence. But should she not be the Person I really love and trust?
This was the same cycle as embracing the Father Heart of God, just repeated with a further journey toward intimacy.
My exploration of the Father Heart of God was supported by a number of books. So much wisdom for living is contained in books. Being able to read Floyd McLung1 and Ed Piorek’s2 books on the Father Heart of God enabled me to understand some of the issues and barriers of others also on that journey. Attending Richard Mayberry’s conferences on the Father Heart of God presented opportunity to worship and workshop barriers. Encountering God in the context was simply phenomenal. I found no literature on the Mother Heart of Goddess. By contrast it was a vacuum.
The practice of referring to Godde in the feminine closed a number of conversations and relationships with Christians. A number of Christians responded negatively to my use of language while non-Christians responded favorably.
Where my exploration of the Father Heart of God was understood and encouraged, most Christians were antagonistic toward me for embracing the feminine alongside the masculine. Oddly, the majority of people against the practice were women. It was reported to me that a few Christian leaders I knew personally mused among themselves that I’d adopted a “pagan” or “feminist agenda.” One person even argued that my contributions to online dialogues be removed completely! A number of Christians who felt uncomfortable with the practice admitted in private conversation that they did now know why, it just felt awkward to them. Others openly treated me with contempt, spoke rudely to me and several were openly abusive.
I became increasingly aware of the need some Christians have to preserve the masculinity of God, holding the idea that masculine language is the only God-ordained and permissible manner in which to address Godde. Doing otherwise was seen to undermine the authority of Godde and the church. As such it was considered open rebellion and blasphemy. I even lost long-standing friends through this practice.
And through it all my protest was simply that men and women were created in the image of Godde and that, along with the leading of the Spirit, was all the justification I needed for my practice.
The practice of referring to Godde in the feminine opened a number of conversations with non-Christians. Many responses against Godde are deeply and sub-consciously rooted in masculine images associated with the abuses and failures of the church in history. Feminine language bypassed the model questions and answers associated therewith, allowing for an increased number of conversations around the attitude, nature and present intentions of Godde rather than conversations around God’s future judgmentalism and present distance from history.
Controversy and hostility aside, I personally experienced a lot of growth and healing internally. I now have a better understanding of Godde’s willingness to nurture and encourage and her capacity to do so; which affects me in that I am now able to actually receive these from Godde in my own day-to-day living. What started as a simply changing of language has had enormous ramifications for my experience of Godde. By changing my language – at first to embrace his Fatherness and now her Motherness – I am enriched spiritually in life and this spills over into my relationship with myself, my wife and son, other people, nature and even my work.
Intimacy with Godde
The masculinity and femininity of Godde has proven consistently challenging in my spirituality, but the growth and development has been tremendous. Along the way I’ve discovered that the masculinity of Godde is important to many, a number of whom get pretty irate and defensive when the femininity of Godde enters a discussion. It seems to me that a number of men and women are in fact threatened by the femininity of of Godde. We may acknowledge that men and women are the image of Godde, but this operates as a theological concession with little practical value. This concession is often as impoverished as the concession that we have been charged to care for the earth.
A relationship is supposed to involve growth and vulnerability – intimacy means opening the deepest parts of ourselves to the deepest parts of others. There is a mutual giving and receiving. The relationship is reciprocal, and a relationship with Godde, who is also a Person, involves all the nuances thereof in the everyday doing of spirituality. For those keen to truly and deeply know Godde I trust the Divine Feminine Version (DFV) will contribute to rediscovering authentic masculinity and femininity. May the DFV serve as one resource among many on the femininity of Godde.
I wholeheartedly recommend this as part of a journey toward discovering intimacy with Godde and embracing Godde’s heart for you.
And so, I trust that with me you’ll be able to say that:
“Godde is not a person because we are persons; we are persons because Godde is a Person.”
“Godde is not a father because we are fathers; we are fathers only because he is a Father.”
“Godde is not a mother because we are mothers; we are mothers only because she is a Mother.”
1McLung, Jr., Floyd, The Father Heart of God (Harvest House Publishers), 1985.
2Piorek, Ed, The Father Loves You (Vineyard International Publishing), 1999.
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