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What (or Who) We Talk About When We Talk About God

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Perhaps too dense, but a few grounding ideas about how to go about talking about God from within the Christian tradition. Also, we deconstruct U2's song "Yahweh" to give us a few thoughts

Published in: Spiritual
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What (or Who) We Talk About When We Talk About God

  1. 1. Who We Talk About When We Talk About God
  2. 2. https://youtu.be/3EmrFyt00ck (Acoustic version of U2’s Yahweh)
  3. 3. Gratitude For what are you grateful?
  4. 4. Take these shoes Click-clacking down some dead end street Take these shoes And make them fit Take this shirt Polyester white trash made in nowhere Take this shirt And make it clean, clean Take this soul Stranded in some skin and bones Take this soul And make it sing, sing Yahweh, Yahweh Always pain before a child is born Yahweh, Yahweh Still, I'm waiting for the dawn Take these hands Teach them what to carry Take these hands Don't make a fist, no Take this mouth So quick to criticize Take this mouth Give it a kiss Yahweh, Yahweh Always pain before the child is born Yahweh, Yahweh Still, I'm waiting for the dawn Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up The sun is coming up on the ocean This love is like a drop in the ocean This love is like a drop in the ocean Yahweh, Yahweh Always pain before a child is born Yahweh, tell me now Why the dark before the dawn? Take this city A city should be shining on a hill Take this city If it be your will What no man can own, no man can take Take this heart Take this heart Take this heart And make it break
  5. 5. Question What themes is the song pointing at?
  6. 6. A Few Themes • Redemption • “Polyester white trash made in nowhere… make it clean” • Beauty • “Make it sing” • Ethical Transformation • “Take these hands and teach them what to carry” • Expectation • “Always pain before the child is born” • Politics • “A city should be shining on a hill” • Repentance • “Take this heart and make it break” • Agency • “If it be your will”
  7. 7. Thinking About God is Hard • “The structure of the universe (multiverse) as such” • God is not an object in the universe, rather God is the precondition of there being any structure of the universe at all • This is why, in a certain sense, everyone believes in God – everyone believes the universe has a determinate structure (e.g. hostile or welcoming, ethical or ethically uninterested). The question is: What else can we say about it?
  8. 8. The Moral Law • The Universe is not an obviously moral place – it is generally “red in truth and claw.” • Yet we have this sense that how we behave is important, that there is a “should” at work. • Why? • How can it be that the very impersonal seeming universe could have anything at all to say about morality? How does “is” become “should”?
  9. 9. A Personal God • The Christian tradition so insistent that God is best described in personal terms But Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you”, and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’* He said further, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “I am has sent me to you.” ’ God also said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites, “The Lord,* the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you” Exodus 3:13-15
  10. 10. Talking About God • If God is not an object in the universe able to be scrutinized scientifically, then how can we best search? • In Christianity, there is a strong tradition that says the only way to do it is relationally. Only by trusting in God can we begin to know God. O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him. Psalm 34:8
  11. 11. Problems • Can you have a relationship with God without relating to people too? • Is a “personal” relationship with God an adequate description? • Does God answer prayer? • What does it mean to pray? • What does it mean to “Trust God” • Why keep the Bible? • Does God interfere? What does “interfere” mean here? • Why is God silent? • What kind of “relationship” is it? Is it like a person to person relationship?
  12. 12. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
  13. 13. Go in peace; may you carry God’s Wisdom, speak forth God’s Word, and embody God’s Presence wherever you are. In the name of Christ. Amen.

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