Saturday, July 1, 2017

Visions of God

This week I plan to write a short story about a woman who teaches Animation at a for-profit art school.  It will be about a research oriented, facts-based, very cerebral person who starts having dreams about God--God always looks the same, like a female quilter (I think she'll look like a frumpy, middle-aged woman, because if I made her Indian or African-American, that might be stereotypical).  God will tell her to repair the frayed fabric, and the main character won't be sure of what to do exactly.

On Thursday, I decided to work in Mepkin Abbey.  The main character will have a friend who is like me:  a Lutheran married woman who loves monasteries and celebrates saints' feast days.  The friend will invite the main character to join her at Mepkin Abbey to talk about the dreams she's been having.

I've been thinking about how we think about God for a long time now.  In college, I spent lots of time thinking about how society might change if we viewed God as female.  But what kind of female?

If we view God as a kind grandmother, that's not as upsetting to the status quo as if we view God as a fierce warrior.  God as a mother bird sheltering us under her wing--that's a fairly standard response to a request for female imagery of God.  But God in her studio, working so intently that she forgets to feed the children--we don't see that vision very often, or ever.

Now I'm trying to enlarge my vision of God even further, but moving beyond an anthropomorphic picture of God doesn't come naturally to me.  I've tried thinking of God as a physical force like gravity or electricity or ocean waves.  I've tried using animal imagery or plant imagery when I think of God.  These ideas don't come naturally.

I realize that people who have always viewed God as Father have a similar struggle when trying to think of God as non-male.  I try to have sympathy.

Lately, as humans have expanded our idea of gender, as we try to move beyond a binary idea of gender, I've been trying to think of God as more fluid too.  Our view of God as Trinitarian, as 3 in 1, helps here.  Many of us have always viewed God as unfixed, although we might not have realized that we've been thinking that way.

What would happen if we could unmoor our minds from visions of God that we've already had?

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