Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The God Thing, part 1

"I am no longer comfortable using the word 'God'," the speaker said from the pulpit. The speaker in question was the minister of the small town Unitarian Universalist Church that my family attended during most of my childhood.

Although I can't pinpoint the exact date of this remark, made in the context of the minister's Sunday sermon, I would place the day somewhere in the range of 1973 - 1974, years when I was embarked on my own spiritual-religious search (though I'm not so sure I used the word "spiritual" back then).

I was sitting in the congregation with my father, the member of our family most apt to attend church in those days. And I was not pleased.

I was not at all pleased with the minister's remark.

Perhaps he went on in his sermon to discuss the "death of God movement" in theology, or to offer other ways of imagining a meaningful source and power in the universe without using the word "God". If he did, it was lost on me, too subtle for my thinking at that time. All I remember was that one line: "I am no longer comfortable using the word 'God'."

"Well, thanks a heap," I can imagine thinking to myself. "I came here looking for someone to help me understand God. You're no help at all!"

These days I have a lot of sympathy for that statement that bugged me so much thirty-something years ago. Perhaps for different reasons, I find myself largely happy to avoid the G-word altogether. I don't seem to miss it or need it.

And life is just so much simpler that way.

(to be continued)


Gail Dawson said...

I'm really looking forward to your next installment on this. Bonhoeffer had some similar thoughts. . .

Sukie Curtis said...

Hi, Gail! Good to hear from you! A little light topic for summer, right? I don't know how many installments there will be; guess I just have to keep going and I'll find out!