Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

God as Sweetheart

Just received my latest e-mail news from The Center for Progressive Christianity (TCPC). In it is an article about God. It is called God and Progressive Christianity by Gene Marchall. It touches on what we have been talking about here. Here is the beginning of the article:

Progressive Christians are achieving great clarity about the historical development of the Bible and about viewing biblical passages in a metaphorical rather than a literal way. Using the word "God," however, continues to be an area of unclarity and outright confusion.

It is, I believe, helpful to begin with H. Richard Niebuhr's insight that the word "God" is a devotional word, much like the word "sweetheart." "Sweetheart" points to a particular person, but it also expresses a quality of relationship. Similarly, the word "God" includes the meanings of loyalty, commitment, trust, friendship, and passionate devotion. At the same time, "God," as used in the Bible, points to an actual experience, an actual encounter with, how shall we say it, the Ground of our Being; the Mystery, Depth, and Greatness of our lives; Final Reality; Reality as a Whole; the Mystery that will not go away.

He adds later on...

Paul Tillich, Rudolf Bultmann, H. Richard Niebuhr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and many other great theologians all reject viewing God as a thing or a person. They reject literalism in all its subtle forms. When we use personal language to talk about God, we are talking mythically about our own personal relationship with that Infinite EVERYTHING-NESS that cannot be contained within any human imagery, personal or impersonal.
Great article. I would love to hear your thoughts...