Tell me about your God.

Imagining the Divine is proving harder than I first imagined it to be. Like so many other things to do with this whole ‘religion’ caper, the simplistic assumptions that I made initially have proven to be invalid.

How can we talk about ‘God’ in ways that make sense? In ways that enable conversation and indeed thought, to move forward rather than to just peter out for want of a graspable framework of comprehension?

Yes, God is often understood to be a father, and the old man with a beard is the first image that many of us embrace. But the Bible also describes God as a mother, a rock, a burning bush…

We are obviously using our own, incomplete understandings to explain something unlimited. I tell my children that my idea of God is the ‘whole universe’, but to be honest I have no idea what that really means.

While reading ‘Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity’ I found a set of questions that New Testament scholar John Dominic Crossan suggests Christians could think about.

1. What is the character of your God? (what are you imagining when you think about God?)

2.What is the content of your faith? (what do you believe in?)

3. What is the function of your church? (What do you come together for?)

4. What is the purpose of your worship? (If you’ve said that you come together to worship, then why? How does God want to be worshipped?)

I’d love to hear your take on these questions. Do the answers come easily, or do they open up new avenues of exploration?.

(If you are an Atheist or Agnostic, it would be interesting to hear what you think people of faith believe in, in relation to these questions.)

13 thoughts on “Tell me about your God.

  1. 1. God is Love, His character is revealed in the Bible. Man was created in God’s image. Our minds cannot comprehend and grasp the true awesomeness of God but when the Holy Spirit dwells in you and you read the bible, God is revealed in a manner that can give us some understanding.
    2. I believe in God, the creator of all. I believe there is only one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ.
    3. The function of the church is to come together in love and unity. To support and bear one another’s burdens and to reach out to others through being Christ’s hands and feet on this earth and helping others and sharing His love for all mankind. To gather together and learn from one another and worship in unity.
    4.God, who created all things is worthy of our worship. When we worship Him, He gives us so much more in return. His love comes back to us. He wants to be worshiped in Spirit and in Truth.

    You have some very great questions. I pray God reveal the Truth to you.

  2. God looks out at the universe through everyone’s eyes. God knows everything, yet is ignorant about everything (as no God worthy of the title would merely be omniscient), and so is filled with wonder.

    Sometimes God ponders whether She exists at all. In fact, now and then She is obsessed by the question, hoping for certainty, yet without ever finding a satisfactory answer, for the simple reason that certainty and uncertainty go together like light and dark. And so She becomes agnostic about herself, all the while still manifesting the universe through the awarenesses of us all.

    Uncertainty and doubt aren’t problems to be solved; they’re powerful perspectives in their own right.

    Why is this quest so compelling? True, it’s fascinating to think about, and the question itself can enlarge our viewpoints. But endless speculation becomes an obsession, and suddenly we are Captain Ahab, sailing in search of the White Whale. Adrift, we seek any port in a storm, making out reefs to be docks, and we founder on our fears.

    The larger issues, then, are: “Why do I have to know?” and “Can I live with doubt?” These are queries worthy of a Creator.

  3. 1. God is a great big alien being who is beyond our comprehension. nevertheless, we can glean something of his character through his creation, principally the universe and humanity. But we can know him better when he takes the initiative and shows himself to us, through all sorts of experiences and most of all in Jesus. So we know him to be loving and tender, but sometimes tough.

    2. The main content of my faith is the life and teachings of Jesus, developed through thinking, reading and praying for the Spirit’s guidance. We are called to join Jesus in making the world a better place, sharing the good news that Jesus is putting things right, and caring for those who need it.

    3. I think most churches miss the point a little, but there are many good people there, so by God’s grace the church may yet become what it ought to be – an agent for all the things in #2.

    4. God’s more interested in actions than words. Our true ‘worship’ is to serve God by doing the stuff in #2. We should come together to respond to God’s love, call on his help and strengthen ourselves to serve him and others.

    That’s how I see it.

  4. Pingback: Does God Believe in Herself? « JIM HULL EXPLAINS EVERYTHING … sort of …

  5. God is the unknowable, who preceded this universe, who is in this universe and will endure beyond this universe and yet is entirely knowable and experienced through this universe. God is mystery. God is the universal to which we yearn to fully reconnect. We call the connecting love.
    Faith is that connection is possible. That we are random events in a random set of infinite possibilities. Faith is that the universe exists as part of a greater divine pattern that we are part of and can connect to.
    I would like the function of my church to be to connect people to each other and to God. I am not sure our churches always do that well. We often fail to connect and fail to connect with the people who most need to be connected. This is called being human.
    The purpose of worship is to take time to create a closer connection to God. God doesn’t need our worship to make him/her/it great. Worship for the point of creating spiritual power is something quite different – that belongs in the world of spiritualism and is neither for nor against God. But is not worship in the presence of God. We cannot worship God, we can only worship in the presence of God.
    Thanks for asking those questions. When I sat down, I didn’t think I could answer them. And I am sure I would come up with different answers if I did this tomorrow.

  6. An image that resonates with me as a metaphor for my relationship with God is that of the dreamer and the dream. (I emphasize “metaphor”!) God is, in a sense, “dreaming” the universe. I know this is a common image in Eastern religion but, to my understanding, it is used to illustrate the universe’s illusory nature. For me, God is perfectly capable of “dreaming” a very real universe. But in this context, I am intrinsically and intimately bound with God. I’m “asleep” (not God—okay, it’s an imperfect metaphor) in the sense that I’m mostly unaware that I am constantly—you could say “eternally”—being created in this way. (Just as, when we dream, we are unaware that we are really asleep dreaming and generating our dream-selves.) Yet in life, I more or less have a nagging awareness there’s more to the universe and me than what “I” experience with my physical senses and materially conditioned rationality. It is part of my experience that there is Something More. God is the conceptual placeholder for this unimaginable More that I can carry about in my little bag of me.

    Faith, as stated in Hebrews, is “hope in things unseen”. That doesn’t mean wishful thinking to me. It means acknowledging the intuitive experience of Something More beyond what can be sensed or “seen”. I know I’m not the center of the universe. I know there’s More. And the personal experience of that is both intimate (loving) and infinite (awesome).

    Ideally, the church’s purpose is to lovingly, gently, playfully “awaken” us to our relationship with God. The extent to which we’ve failed at this is the extent to which we are still “asleep”.

    The purpose of worship is the method through which, again ideally, the church functions. It is the process of awakening or at least playing at awakening through stories and rituals. But why? Why worship? Why wake up? Brennan Manning wrote that God created us out of God’s vast delight with the Universe. Each of our lives is a wonderful way through which God can experience God’s eternal creating. How much better if we can be awake with God!

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