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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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← 114 | 115 → Conclusion


Worship provides us with a self-grammar. God’s embodied female images in practices of Christian worship provide worshipping female Christians with a grammar for their identities, demonstrating that the female-woman as God’s image represents God just as the male-man does. Female and male together compose God’s image. Without the other sex, female or male do not represent the whole image of God.

In the first chapter, the importance of embodied female images of God in worship was emphasized because these images provide worshipping female-women with an embodied grammar of the self as the image of God. God prohibits us from making an image of God, yet God permits us to imagine God’s image within the sexuality of female and male. In other words, as female/woman and male/man we are an image of God.

Therefore, if female-women’s bodies and self-grammar become broken, male-men’s bodies and the self-grammar also become broken, because male and female are together partners in the whole image of God, and each grammar arises in relation to the others in the group. When we claim a physiological likeness between God and human beings, one figure of the human bodies’ presentation alone cannot represent God’s body completely in Christian worship, because God’s image (not God) is composed of female and male, as shown in Gen.1:27.

The loss of the female body in embodied worship has restricted the building of a more adequate male-men’s self-grammar in the worship because the self forms in and...

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