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Clergy's relationship with God: A study of gender differences

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posted on 2023-09-06, 03:25 authored by Margaret Mary Heffernan

This study investigated possible gender differences in clergy's relationship with God, including the godly images they are most likely to hold, the godly traits they are most likely to rely on, and their constructs of how the relationship developed over time. 145 questionnaires were returned across four religious groups: Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Evangelical Protestant, and Reform Jew. There are gender differences among (1) the four factor analyzed images that clergy are most likely to hold of God, (2) clergy's reliance on maternal and paternal godly traits, and (3) how clergy imagine God will respond to them at the boundary of life and death. Gender differences are rarely uniform, as hypothesized. Rather, gender differences, when they occur among clergy, are strongly mitigated and focused by denomination. Denomination was also found to be a more powerful determinant of clergy's retrospective portrayals of spiritual development than either gender or age. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.).



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