Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What Is This Thing Called God?

My friend and colleague the Rev. Stefan Jonnason recently posted a story to FaceBook about an exchange he overheard in one of the congregations he's served.  This church has a banner that proclaims its historic three-word theology: 


One especially ardant secular humanist approached another person he knew to be of a complimentary mind-set and asked, "Doesn't it drive you crazy to see that banner week after week?"

To which the other person responded, "Oh, you must be reading it wrong.  It's supposed to be read from bottom to top."

I've previously written about this idea that if "God is Love" then "Love is God."  Some folks within the various 12 Step movements have found this a way to make sense of the Higher Power concept.  Others have found that it helps with all sorts of theistic "language of reverence."  Try reading the famous passage on love found in the Christian scriptures -- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 -- replacing the word "love" with the word "God."  Changes the image of God for most people, doesn't it?

Here's another one.  I woke up with it actually.  The song's an old Cole Porter classic, What is This Thing Called Love?  What if the incomperable Sarah Vaugh were singing about God?

In Gassho,

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Transient and Permanent said...

This is pretty close to the theology I was taught growing up in a historically Universalist church. We were given Bibles in Sunday School and there was plenty of God-talk, both liturgically and from the pulpit. We were told that Jesus, as depicted in the Gospels, had two natures: human and divine. When scriptural passages dealt with ethical and mundane matters, one was to understand Jesus as a prophet and teacher. When dealing with ontological or soteriological matters, one was to understand Jesus as a manifestation of God, defined as perfect, transcendent Love. Thus we read passages such as "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light--no one comes to the Father except by me" as perfectly natural and affirming: "[Love] is the Way, the Truth, and the Light--no one [reaches God] except by [Love]." During my childhood I waffled as to whether I believed in a supernatural God (usually on the "no" side), but it made little difference, as the fundamental theology of God as Love could be comfortably affirmed on either side of the fence. This made for very little rancor between committed theists and non-theists in the congregation.

RevWik said...

There is a clarity there, isn't there? Perhaps that's part of the wisdom of the Universalists . . .