Christian faith and scripture presupposes we can talk with God.
While this is not consistently applied in tradition, there is an expectation that we can directly address God. Even if that address is through Jesus.
From the first humans in the Garden chatting with a god who walked among them to Jacob wrestling with God on the shores of the Jabbok to Moses on the mountain arguing with a burning bush, humans addressed the divine directly.
And God gave us a given a name to identify and address God:
I Am who I Am.
Which, as names go, is pretty enigmatic.
Everett Fox likes to to highlight the perpetual and the existential in this name. A wordier, but more intellectually consistent translation of the Hebrew might be “I-Will-Be-There-Howsoever-I-Will-Be-There”. This way, God is present with them, will be, and will come in God’s own way.
As God would come as fire and as a cloud. Splitting the waters and crashing the sea upon the Egyptian pursuers. In the wilderness and on a mountain. To be with them in the camp and to lead them on ahead. At night and in the day.
The wisdom of God in Torah is not in some abstract eternal, but a physical presence. GOD was with them, ahead of them, and arising in their need. Not as a superbeing, but as, in Paul Tillich’s words, the ground of being.
What’s in a name?
While our tradition is to call our god simply “God,” it is a word which brings discomfort to me. It feels inaccurate and too general.
Like, going to a support group, and introducing myself:
“Hi, my name is Drew. And I’m a religioholic.”
And have the group respond by saying:
It doesn’t sound right.
“But it’s capitalized, so it’s a proper name now.”
There certainly is complexity to the divine name and why we don’t use it any longer. It is also the reason why I have prefered the articulation of GOD in all caps or G-d the hyphenated. These seem to offer a respect to the tradition which appeals to me.
But I feel a pull toward a new direction at the moment.
Loving and Lifting Up the Underdog
After listening to Peter Rollins talk about the four different approaches to the nature of God, I’m drawn to readdress the way I address God. Both in my life and work.
If what I know about God is that the least are first and we are to observe our God as willing to love the unlovable — to define unlovable as impossible! — then I must reimagine my view of God.
If God’s reflection is found in love of the weak and lifting up the poor, then how do we dare call God mighty and all-powerful? It is not a positive affectation to name God as the one with might, or name God as the one who defeats.
God isn’t a king or a soldier or a warrior or abuser or manipulator.
God isn’t hate and division and separation.
God is love.
So for me, God isn’t God.
If we cannot call God by name, then why give God a false name of human honor?
Why not give God the name of God’s honor? Honoring God the way God honors the poor and the weak and the lost and sick? By lifting them up and calling them the greatest. By flipping all we know upside down.
To reflect the tradition and all its issues while also reflecting the theology God reveals, what if we made one small change?
What if we called God simply god?
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Check out more choices we’re invited to make!