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Female Images of God in Christian Worship

In the Spirituality of "TongSungGiDo</I> of the Korean Church


Kim MyungSil

Female Images of God in Christian Worship: In the Spirituality of TongSungGiDo of the Korean Church examines problems that arise from the use of exclusively patriarchal images in modern Christian worship. The author asserts that female images in the Bible could help worshippers find a relationship with God and provide encouragement and comfort in difficult situations. As a Korean Christian, MyungSil Kim explores the possibilities of employing God’s female images in the services of the Korean Church, noting that Korea’s native religions, the ancient religions and Muism, had many female deities unlike patriarchal foreign religions such as Buddhism and Confucianism. These female deities have comforted the Korean people when they experienced han, a distinctive emotion of deep sadness and resentment that is characteristically Korean. TongSungGiDo, the unique Korean prayer style of communal lament, provides an opportune space and time for the consideration of female images in the Bible. MyungSil Kim examines how female images could more effectively function in the context of TongSungGiDo in accordance with traditional practices to express the complementarity among the concepts of han, lament, female images of God, and prayer. This book is strongly grounded on biblical studies, feminist studies, Christian ethics, and religious studies, including principles of inculturation. The volume is a valuable resource to pastors who are sensitive about language justice in worship and to those seeking to explore feminist theology and particularly feminist liturgical studies.
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← vi | vii → Acknowledgments


This book is based on my dissertation for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Liturgical Studies at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. Ruth Duck is an important resource for this book, both through her excellent teaching and academic encouragement at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. Duck has shared with me her liturgical insights and experiences, encouraging me to deal with ethical issues in liturgical language and ritual that they are the primary theological background of this book. I also want to thank Johanna Van Wijk-Bos for working with me. As an Old Testament scholar at Louisville Theological Seminary, she provided the most important biblical references for God’s female images.

I am grateful to many people who have responded to my requests for information. These persons include Ron Anderson who helped me gain access to valuable sources about the relation between God’s image and worshipper’s identity, and the members in the Feminist Liturgy Group of the North American Academy of Liturgy who have commented upon part of the dissertation in final form as well as actively shared their experiences as feminist liturgical scholars.

It might have been impossible to complete this project without the love, care, and prayers of those who have been with me on my academic journey. I shouldn’t miss thanking my colleague David Gambrell, who read this book, giving me grammatical correction. I also owe an enormous debt of gratitude to my family: my husband, SungGap, my mother, sisters and brother for their steady love and...

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