‘Good, good mother’ – On Mother’s Day, Austin’s new church worships God as a woman
At Austin New Church in Austin, Texas, several parts of last Sunday’s Mother’s Day service featured female pronouns and images of God.
A video shows the worship team altering the chorus of Housefires’ song “Good, Good Father” featuring Pat Barrett. Also during the service, female pronouns for God were used in the recitations of Psalm 23 and the Lord’s Prayer.
Austin New Church describes itself as a progressive community “based on membership, not creed”. Brandon and Jen Hatmakera founded the congregation in 2008 but are no longer mentioned on the church’s website. The couple divorced in 2020, after 27 years of marriage.
New Austin Church: ‘Now we know better than to limit God’
In her message, creative pastor Samantha Beach Kiley says, “We all profess to bear the image of God, but how can we see God in ourselves if we don’t see ourselves in God? If God is only male, if God is only white, what possibilities does that limit for those of us whose identity markers are different? She cites Christena Cleveland’s book “God Is A Black Woman,” about how a “narrow” view of God limits our imagination.
Kiley admitted the topic was intimidating and full of “landmines,” including the risk of “just creating another binary” by calling God a woman.
Of Psalm 23, Kiley says, “David wrote as if God were Father. How could he not?… It was the outermost tree ring of revelation in its time, but now we know better… We learn to read our scriptures with a broader method of interpretation. She adds: “Even when David wrote to God as Father, God was already Mother. God was already both. God was already neither. Even though David couldn’t see it yet.
Kiley was joined by her mother, Nancy Beach, who shared some scriptures that use mothering images for God and Jesus. Then Beach asked, “What if God transcended gender?… How would our image of God and our relationship with God be different and more whole if we could embrace this idea of God as Father and Mother?
“The great systems of faith…have always understood ‘God as a woman’
In his message, Senior Pastor Jason Morriss said that, as vast as God-as-Mother might seem, it’s something “we should always have understood – that God is not contained in the binaries of our symbols. linguistics”. For example, “We have always known that God is relentless in his pursuit…and unconditional in his love. These are the characteristics of motherhood.