The word "God"

This is for a column I occasionally write for our local newspaper:

We use the word “God” so easily and, sometimes, so carelessly. At least I do. In fact, I will often think of God as nothing more than a big projection of myself- full of the same yearnings, desires, wants, needs, disappointments, and prejudices that I have. I think about God in those terms when I am not really thinking about God at all, but about myself.

I can even justify that goofy view of God by cherry-picking in the orchard of the Old Testament. I can always find a verse or two that seems to affirm what I already believe- and want to believe- about proper or improper behaviors- especially of others! I can shout those verses, if I choose to, and shake my finger of shame at all the transgressors. I could even slather a healthy layer of fear on top of my words, so others will be afraid of God, and come to me for safety.

But Jesus didn’t use the word “God” that way, did he? In fact, he most often called God “Abba”- a Middle-Eastern word which means “Daddy.” Jesus didn’t spend near the time I do in making God a projection of himself, as he did in allowing himself to be a reflection of his Abba. He always seemed to be going toward the very people I could find reasons in a book like Leviticus, to stay away from. He didn’t let a word like “God,” covered as it is (and was then, too) in layers of human doctrine, to get between him and his Dad.

When Moses asked God for a real name, God responded, “I am that I am.” The Hebrew word used in that name is also translated as Being : “I am being.” I like that name a lot, because it gives me the opportunity to experience God’s Image- God’s Being- in many more ways than I get to experience it when I’m looking in a mirror. I get to see God (our Abba, too) in the Continuing Creation around me, as God continues being. It even allows me to see God’s Being in you!

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