"I, like you, prefer to use one bible translation. Right now that is the NRSV, which I grew up with in my home. I would never use the ESV because it does not use inclusive language- and if you think that inclusive language is a problem then as far as I'm concerned you have no place in the UMC."I understand that many people find inclusive language very important. When I was in seminary, there was a policy that students were to use inclusive language in their writing. It was also expected in my writing for ordination examinations.
When I entered the parish, I was still in seminary mode, and preached from the NRSV, and tried to use inclusive language whenever possible, thinking that everyone was very sensitive about it. What happened surprised me.
In Bible studies or in conversations with people in my church, i found that most people are offended by the use of inclusive language in the Bible. Many female lay persons are insulted that we think they care about the use of inclusive language, as if they are so ultrasensitive they can't handle a generic "he," or that they are not intelligent enough to understand that "man" often means "humankind."
Other Christians have acted as if I'm a sellout because I think the Bible should be politically correct. My District Superintendent always used the NIV in preaching. He even read from it, in all of its masculine language, when he read Scripture before the Bishop's sermon, when she preached at our church.
My conclusion, after much consideration, is that inclusive language in the Bible is a stumbling block to the average lay person. There may be seminary professors that can't live without it. But most people truly do not care.
In response to the statement "and if you think that inclusive language is a problem then as far as I'm concerned you have no place in the UMC," I would say that there are already thousands of ministers who have declined the church signicantly, precisely because things like "inclusive language" were their primary soapboxes.
We only get to pick a few ditches to die in. I'd rather not die in the ditch of "inclusive language," and stand before God and say, "God, do you know how many people realized the evil of using the generic 'he' because of my ministry?"