Terry Mattingly now contends that in calling attention to the United Church of Christ’s decision to change its creedal criteria for congregational membership to encompass the use of varying terms to identify the First Person of the Trinity (aka God the Father) he was in no way suggesting, implying, or hinting that the denomination was proposing to do away with said Person. He’s totally aware of all the gender neutralizing engaged in by liberal Protestants, and nothing he said should have been taken any other way. But surprisingly, it caused some sparks:
Thus, I brought this topic up for another round in the latest GetReligion podcast (click here to tune in),
just to take another shot at saying clearly what I had briefly said in
the original post. Besides, it’s always interesting to be accused of
saying one thing, when you actually said something else.
Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.
In his original post, Mattingly (like his conservative informant) did nothing to clarify what he (now says he thinks) was really at stake–such that even so experienced a religion reporter as Cathy Grossman concluded that he was allying himself with bloggers who did conclude that the UCC had lopped off one of the Trinity’s heads. TMatt could have written something like the following had he wanted to be helpful rather than provocative, :
In the latest development on the gender-neutral God-talk front, the UCC has made it clear that member congregations do not have to identify the first person of the Trinity as “God the Father.” Mainstream religion reporters think this isn’t worth reporting. Like some disgruntled conservatives in the denomination, I think it’s one linguistic bridge too far, and is worth a story.
But he didn’t, and he wasn’t.