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Church council publishes nonsexist Bible readings

The first of three volumes of an ''inclusive language lectionary'' is being published today under the aegis of the National Council of Churches. This collection of scriptural readings is based on the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, although it radically departs from the RSV by changing passages that depict God as male.

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For instance, God as ''Father'' is changed to ''Father and Mother;'' ''Son of God'' to ''children of God;'' and ''brethren'' to ''brothers and sisters.'' These alterations have already sparked controversy within Protestant denominations for which the lectionary is designed.

The Lutheran Church of America questions the accuracy of the lectionary and recommends that its more than 6,000 congregations reject it. Others say it could cause disunity within churches. However, the committee that translated the texts insists that the lectionary is not intended to replace any version of the Bible and that its use is voluntary.

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