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.)