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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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Chapter 4. Female Images of God and the Korean Church

← 82 | 83 → Chapter 4


If biblical female images of God are used in worship in the Korean Church, they would not be unfamiliar. The figures of deities in Korean native popular religious traditions have been mostly female, although many of them have been forgotten or marginalized. Most of the female deities have dealt with han1 in daily life, especially female-women’s lives.

As with the myths of the ancient Near East and the religious traditions of ancient Israel, female deities in Korean religious traditions also are relevant to lamentable situations. In the context of Korean native religions, the unique Korean style of lamenting prayer, TongSungGiDo (TSGD), has functioned as the means by which Korean Christians release or discharge their conscious and unconscious han in praying aloud to God. Thus, it is possible that the biblical female images of God would be more actively and effectively used in TSGD, the lamenting prayer, given that almost exclusively female images of God or female divine beings (rather than male) have been invoked in lamentable situations in many religious traditions that we examined in the previous chapters.

This chapter explores the female divine worlds in Korean ancient myths and the ancient native religion, Muism.2 In addition, it traces the origin of TSGD, restoring its genuine identity as lamenting prayer, in order to discover and reconstruct the value of lamenting prayer in the Korean Church so that the emotion of han may be appropriately released. Finally, this chapter incorporates the biblical female images of God into...

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