Beyond what I mentioned yesterday the other thing that struck me during Walter's sermon was his use of the adjective "hormonal" to describe God's pathos in Hosea, the strong and even excessive emotional reactions displayed by God in the book (and elsewhere in the Old Testament, and Walter also pointed to Jesus's weeping over Jerusalem).
Calling God hormonal is risky and subversive language. For a couple of interrelated reasons. First, hormonal is a reference to women and, thus, a description of God in feminine terms. And if that wasn't subversive enough the adjective hormonal is generally a pejorative feminine reference. Outside of medical contexts, calling a woman hormonal isn't a compliment. To call a woman hormonal is to say that she's being excessively emotional and unreasonable.
And this is exactly the meaning Walter had in mind in calling God hormonal. The emotions of God as witnessed in the prophets seem wild, unpredictable and unreasonable. So much so that we recoil and back away. A hormonal God is a passionate and emotional God that can't be tamed by theology or the church. A feminine God who cannot be captured by rationalistic categories and hierarchies of control.
And it's also risky for a man to use this language. In describing God as hormonal Walter is open to the criticism that he's reinforcing a negative stereotype of women. But I actually think the reverse is going on. By connecting a woman's hormones to God Walter is suggesting that there is something essential in the gritty physicality of women that reflects the Imago Dei. The church has always struggled with the bodies of women. The fact that hormonal is a pejorative term reflects this. To call a woman hormonal is to say that her body has taken over her mind--her reason, her judgment, her good sense. To call a woman hormonal is an attempt to shame a woman for having a body and for giving her body a voice. To call a woman hormonal is to reject the truth of the body, particularly the truths incarnated in female bodies.
Women love and think with their bodies. And that may make their love wild, unpredictable and unreasonable. But that's a truth about love. Perhaps the deepest truth the church needs to learn. One of the reasons I don't think the church loves in the crazy, wild, and irrational way Jesus did is because the church has silenced women, particularly the love incarnated in the bodies of woman. You can't learn to love fully if you aren't paying attention to the way women love.
In short, the church isn't hormonal enough.
We need a hormonal church that will step into the risky and passionate love of our hormonal God.