Feminist Hymn to the Trinity

I have been a little hesitant to talk about my writing of music that explores a feminine understanding of God, because I am trying to build bridges between progressives and traditionalists, and I don’t want to offend the conservatives out there, nor cause a comments war between theological factions. Also, I am loath to associate myself with some of the more ridiculous strands of feminist and liberal theology (I like to use the phrase “otherwise orthodox”).

Also, I am aware the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church has strictly forbidden use of explicitly feminine language for God in the context of the Liturgy. Please understand that I DO NOT publicly support liturgical innovation or breaking of liturgical law, and therefore do not suggest that Catholic parishes use this hymn in Mass.

That being said, not all of the readers of this blog are Catholic. I know of at least one Lutheran (my first commenter!) and a handful of Episcopalians (talk about diversity!) who might be able to sing this in their Trinity Sunday services. Even the Catholics among you might find the text helpful for personal devotions or para-liturgicals.

That being said, I felt quite inspired to write this two years ago (on Trinity Sunday) and feel now inspired to share it here, regardless of the consequences.

Any parish or worshiping community is welcome to use the text freely. I originally had the tune HOLY MANNA in mind when writing it, but other tunes would work as well. Please include the copyright notice (look down), and PLEASE leave a comment or send a personal email to let me know you are doing it.

4 thoughts on “Feminist Hymn to the Trinity

  1. If the triune formula used in this hymn were to be used in a baptism, would it be valid? If not, why would this be encouraged by any Christian community that has baptism?

    A question that comes to mind is this: “Does this help authentic Christian unity?”

    The first and second stanzas appear to have problems.
    The third stanza seems solid, and I like it.

  2. Thanks for your comments, and your thoughts. (And I’m glad you like at least a third of the text).

    I would say- there isn’t exactly a triune formula used in this hymn, so there is no example being set for invalid baptisms. Anyway- that’s a bit of a straw-man argument, I think. If I wrote a song about, “God our Creator and Jesus our Savior, and the bringer of truth, our help and our guide,” that would be a fine song (maybe) but wouldn’t present a valid baptismal formula either.

    Also, the purpose of any given hymn is not necessarily to “help authentic Christian unity?” We sing for lots of reasons, and lots of congregations/churches/denominations/ecclesiastical-communities sing songs containing theology that others who also call themselves Christian would object to- so I’m not sure that this is a valid (or at least, a helpful) point.

    This may not be the best defense, but I can only say that I felt inspired to write this hymn, and further called to share it (against my better judgement). I do understand that it is problematic (I said as much in my post about it). If I were a choir director at a Catholic parish, I would not program this piece, because my responsibility in that case would be to follow the norms and laws of the Catholic church. Here on my blog, I’m under no such restrictions.

    Thanks again for your thoughts, and I hope you’ll keep reading.

  3. I guess I was thinking specifically about the title: “Hymn to the Trinity” but perhaps the title might be “Hymn to a Trinity” We baptize in the name of the trinity; that is what makes a Christian.

    The imagery in this hymn is a departure of what we have been entrusted to hand on.

    What effects would the singing of this song have on the theological formation of people singing this hymn? Would these effects be ones that a Catholic would desire?

    I’m just curious what fruits you hope to see from the singing of this hymn?

  4. I would call it an expansion, if anything, not a departure.

    As for the effects, or fruits- I would hope that it would help develop an understanding that the God who created us “in the divine image, male and female” is not exclusively male. (I’m aware that this viewpoint is considered heretical by some).

    Plus, I have a hard time imagining a situation where this text would be the only thing someone would sing or hear about God generally or the Trinity in particular. So I think any effects you are imagining are already a bit exaggerated.

    As to, “Would these effects be ones that a Catholic would desire?”

    Well, I imagine that depends on the Catholic. But then, the argument on that point would devolve into what constitutes a “true” or “good” Catholic, and who is the arbiter of that label. I am willing to admit (as I have already done so) where and how this text is not in line with Roman Catholic theology and, very specifically, with RC liturgical law. I’m not really sure how belaboring that point is helpful.

    I’m not foisting it on unsuspecting, innocent children at the 10:30 “Family Mass.” I’m making it available on a mostly-unknown blog, with a mostly well-educated (and, oddly, conservative/traditionalist) readership able to make it’s own decisions about its quality and usefulness.

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