Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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For some Christians, apparently “God”'s pronouns are now They, Them, and Theirs.

“God Loves You As They Made You,” says the signboard in front of one neighborhood church that I drove past recently.

(Of course, eagerness to embrace the latest cultural trends has long been a strong signifier of the conceptual hollowness of so much contemporary American religion—pagan as well as Christian. Somehow, I can't help but suspect that God/They isn't going to age well.)

Divine gender has, of course, long been an issue for those poor impoverished souls who worship only one god. (Let those of us blessed with more feel no sense of smugness here, though: the question of divine “gender” is as active a theological category for thinking polytheists as it is for the thoughtful monotheist.)

In some ways, God/They could be construed as faithful to certain streams of Biblical tradition. The most common by-name for Yahwéh in the Hebrew Bible is Elohím, an undeniably plural noun (it's the anomalous plural of eloáh) usually (although not always) paired with a singular verb. The mental disconnect between the two—similar to the feeling that you get when someone says “a scissors”—is nicely paralleled by the (let's just admit it, stylistically inelegant) singular “they.”

I do wonder how God/They Christians deal with their traditional liturgical and scriptural texts. Is “God” a “They” there, too? How about Jesus? Is he also a they?

Still, it's hard to deny that God/They can't help but smack of polytheism which, while it warms the cockles of my pagan heart, must surely set the teeth of an awful lot of conservative One-God folk on edge.

God/They? Fine with me. Call it the “creeping polytheization” of American religion, and gods speed the day.

Gender-fluid divinity. Coming soon to a church near you.





Votive figurines (images of the god Ba'al?)

Tyre, Lebanon

circa 1200 bce





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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Jamie
    Jamie Monday, 16 May 2022

    Mr. Posch,

    Yeah, hard pass on one scissor or one pant leg. Good point.

    We know that Christian conservatives get triggered by the whole pronoun thing anyway. Big 'G' God will always be a He, just like conservative Christian women should always be subordinate to their husbands.

    The things are inextricably linked, which is why (in my opinion) right-wing Protestants also go out of their freakin' minds when they see devotion to the Virgin Mary.

    They say She's really Isis in disguise, and who can blame them? She's even got the legit star crown!

    Theological differences, my pinkie finger. They actually fear Her power.

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Tuesday, 17 May 2022

    I received an update from drivethrurpg about a supplement for the Runequest about a new book called "The Six Paths" about the six main genders in Heortling society. How well will conservatives react when they discover a game that lets players choose any one of six genders? Not too well I suspect.

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