Earlier this month i recieved an email asking me to explain why i use the terms He and She when referring to God in my posts. ( I know this is a big issue with people) I thought it was such a good question that i decided to post my answer for all.
You ask a very good question. As to enlightening you ;-) I can only give you my motives why I use the masculine and feminine pronoun when talking about God. It is not my intent to imply that God is female, or male for that matter.
The English language simply does not provide a genderless description other than "IT". Coming from a Christian frame of reference, I cannot use the genderless term "it" to refer to God. Stylistically, I don't like the s/he mixing either. It seems to reduce both terms to a meaningless word that does not evoke our mental maps. My solution is to alternate using he and she to talk about God.
The simple answer is that I use it as a literary tool to shake the mental image of God in the mind of my readers.
Why do I feel it is necessary to do that?
When we think of God in the terms of gender we exclude attributes of God that are best described by the opposing gender. A mono-gender view of God cannot adequately describe the God of the Christian Bible. His self-revelation was contained in the social language of Her day. God never revealed Himself as "I AM HE" or "I AM SHE" God choose simply "I AM" as Her name when Moses asked God to provide a name to tell Israel.
For me the problem arises when we think of a Spiritual being in our human terms of gender and relationships. God is not human nor is He physical, as we understand it. We share the image of God yet in our human arrogance think that our image can be fully understood and adequately represents Her. It cannot. It is a shadow and symbolic representation of God. Our mental and linguistic representations of God simply strip the mystery from God at best. At its worst, our symbols inadvertently deify man and reduce God to an image (mental picture) created by us. The Old Testament calls that idolatry.
Our language is the reflection of thought and idea and serves as a symbolic analogy that helps us to understand the character and nature of a being that is transcendent. For me, the paradox remains. God is transcendent yet chose to reveal Himself and be known by Her people regardless of our propensity to get stuck in the symbols of language. This resulted in a social encoding of God who is Spirit and has no gender as we understand it.
The subsequent written account of God (the Bible) was done in a patriarchal society where the social encoding was masculine. Women were barely accorded any legal rights above property at that time and were excluded from literature, the arts, political and social power. It is this engendered view of God that I seek to decenter. You will notice that I never speak of Christ with the female pronoun. Jesus, as a historical figure, was male.
It would be inappropriate to refer to the Christ in female terms as the Christian understanding of Jesus is that He is God incarnated in male form. In my mind there is no special significance in the gender of Christ. If the roles were reversed and the Israelite community was matriarchal when God revealed Himself then God would be encoded in feminine terms and Christ would have been a woman.
God is Spirit and exists apart from our experience of gender and the resulting social gender roles. My issue is with the limitations of the English language and how we have socially encoded God. Therefore I shake the social encoding of God as male to circumvent our culturally conditioned mental image of God.