Trade Your God In For A New One

Trade Your God In For A New One (1)

Posted by on Oct 15, 2012 in Trade Your God In For A New One | 8 comments

Different metaphors for God make for very different spiritual journeys. It is an axiom that we become like the god we worship. Worship an angry god; you become angry. Worship a punitive god, you become punitive. Worship a hypocritical god – one who says “love, love love,” but gets his revenge in the end with a sword… and we become hypocritical. So it matters how we imagine God. It matters a lot. Some of my good Christian friends bristle at the idea of “imagining” God. They feel that our scriptures and tradition give us such a clear picture of the ways of God, that there is little left to...

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Trade Your God In For A New One (2)

Posted by on Oct 17, 2012 in Trade Your God In For A New One | 15 comments

All we have to talk about God are metaphors (last post). But God can’t be contained in any construct we can hold in our brains. This dichotomy invites us to revisit one of our most familiar metaphors for God; a “person.” Through the centuries, we Christians have had a somewhat divided mind on this point. On the one hand, at the Council in Nicea (325AD) we decided that God was “one substance, three persons.” Once we used that word, “person,” we couldn’t help but insert into our tradition a deep, visceral sense that God is a person like you and me. We hear the Bible stories...

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Trade Your God In For A New One (3)

Posted by on Oct 19, 2012 in Trade Your God In For A New One | 3 comments

As we heard from Julian of Norwich (last post), when we experience God in and around everything, it changes our spiritual journeys. When we imagine God as a person, a guy who has friends, for example, we teeter in insecurity, wondering if we’ve done what it takes to be one of his friends. How many of us labor away, either trying hard to gain God’s favor or giving up in despair, believing we can never measure up? When we imagine God as a Person, persons have preferences. It is only natural to wonder if he prefers us. Imagining God as a “man with a plan” gets us in trouble as...

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Trade Your God In For A New One (4)

Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in Trade Your God In For A New One | Comments Off on Trade Your God In For A New One (4)

Humility insists we not latch on to any single image of God; even if it is a cherished one. Imagining that we can grasp the un-grasp-able is hubris of the highest order. Nevertheless, that’s what we Christians usually do. We confidently imagine God as a supreme being, out there somewhere, distinct and separate from ourselves. We come to this cherished image honestly. It starts when we are infants; when we realize we are not mother. There is me (characterized by my hunger), and eventually it dawns on us that there is other, at first, defined as breast that satisfies my hunger. Over...

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Trade Your God In For A New One (5)

Posted by on Oct 24, 2012 in Trade Your God In For A New One | 3 comments

In the last post, we saw how we humans evolve to think of God as a being that exists outside of ourselves. It’s a very understandable process, but, as we will see, it’s not the way Jesus, Paul, or many of our saints imagined God. It is a very understandable process through which we conclude that there is me, there is you, there is everything, and now, there is God; all separate; all discreet packages of otherness. As we saw in the last post, Divine Ultimacy being ultimate, it must be bigger than everything. Our Divine framework is one of separateness with God existing outside of everything,...

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Trade Your God In For A New One (6)

Posted by on Oct 26, 2012 in Trade Your God In For A New One | Comments Off on Trade Your God In For A New One (6)

To begin re-imagining God, let’s consider a couple of the absurd things Jesus taught. Love your neighbor with the same passion with which you love yourself. Love your enemies; pray for those who hurt or use you. These words aren’t absurd because they are difficult. Transformative things are by nature, difficult. No. These words are absurd because they are impossible. Let’s go back to the skin-bag assumptions we began with a few posts ago. – I am me… over here… in this bag of skin. – You are you, over there, in your bag. – We exist as discreet packages of...

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