Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy New Year!

More writing from my dad and me below. I'm so excited it's also posted at Emerging Women.

Today, Sunday the 29th of November, we begin another liturgical year. I once met a don (professor) at Oxford University who scheduled his life according to the church’s calendar: its seasons, its saints’ days, and its liturgical hours. He refused to use or even to acknowledge the more arithmetic 12-month, numbered-day, 24-hour-subdivided Julian calendar that most of us follow. Making an appointment with him was difficult, to say the least.
We don’t need to go to the extreme of that Oxford don, but perhaps we might pay a bit more attention to our distinctive, somewhat countercultural church calendar. There could be some pleasantly surprising gifts awaiting us, such as the peace and perspective offered by the Advent Season – the season of the advent or coming of God. It is a season that places our lives in a cosmic context or, greater still, a framework as large as God herself. We won’t find that in our holiday shopping at WalMart, Macy’s, or even Neiman Marcus. It can’t be bought; it can’t be built. It comes only as a love-motivated and grace-saturated blessing.
Let us pray:
Come among us Mothering God, Mothering Christ, Mothering Spirit. As you gave birth to us as the Alpha, the fertile source and beginning of all, so also embrace us at last as the Omega, the welcoming goal and end of all. Come among us Birthing God, Feeding Christ, Nurturing Spirit.
Kim’s response:
My dad wrote this Advent Devotional for the congregation that he and my mother belong to – a mainline denominational church. The thing that struck me was the reference to “God herself”. I have such a gut reaction to that. First, it’s a reaction of – “ahhh, finally”. But then I wonder how much trouble he’ll get in for referring to the mothering nature of God. Finally I wonder why my solution to this quandary has been to keep my God language gender neutral. That definitely feels like a cop out as well, especially in light of the Advent season, a season of expectant waiting and preparation, a season that any mother can relate to as she reflects on the birth of her own child. I am so grateful that my dad has given me the gift of remembering God herself and the wonderful ways in which she has birthed, fed and nurtured me.
Tom Wilkens served for three years as a pastor in Wisconsin and for thirty-one years as a professor of theology at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin. He and his daughter, Kim, have recently co-authored the book, Un-American Activities: Countercultural Themes in Christianity (

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