Given my feminist politics, I have serious reservations about using the term “kingdom.” Not only does it imply a male god, it also hearkens back to an antiquated form of patriarchy, where a male sovereign monarch ruled over powerless subjects. That is hardly a system of government I find promising, so it is certainly not an analogy to the divine I find meaningful. Because this term is so common in the contemporary debate over Christianity and civic engagement, however, I use it out of convenience and simplicity in this chapter. I also fear that avoiding the term “kingdom” would only obscure the sexism that haunts Christian thought.
This objection had never occurred to me before; I’m glad I have smart friends to point these things out to me. I find Kristy’s argument compelling – why do we rely so heavily on the authoritarian male terms for God and the people, animals and things that follow God? While the kingdom of God is a term used in the Bible, it made sense in the context of that culture and it’s first English translation. Today doesn’t the “city of God” and “new earth” language in revelation make more sense for our understanding of how God’s care and plan for the earth and its inhabitants works? Is patriarchal culture so woven into the bible and Christian thought that we have no choice but to take the negative consequences of that language with the good ones?
These are the questions I am most interested in discussion about: are there alternative ways to talk about God and God’s way of thinking, and what are the benefits and costs to Christians of using that language instead?
* These quotation marks are necessary, because they are drawing attention to the term. Ok? Ok.