What’s In a Name?
Last winter a neighbor stopped me on my early morning dog walk. He asked why I referred to “The Unnameable” in my newspaper column. He said God had a name, and he told me what that name was.
We humans name things in order to define, understand, and/or control those things. But since we cannot define, understand, or control Infinite Reality, either we shut our mouths forever or resign ourselves to inaccuracy.
I’m resigned to inaccuracy, since I can’t seem to shut up and I don’t have the cojones to assume that I have the final answer. Each of those many, varied, contradictory, confusing, heart-breaking, and inaccurate names for The Holy Infinite reveals something of our longing and our grounding. Each one opens a world of meaning so far beyond the old guy in the bathrobe that my heart sings.
This is my invitation to you: Let’s embark, together, on an unsystematic exploration of the names for the Unnameable, a mutual consideration to see which names reverberate with a deep ring of knowing, and why. I’ll post an essay every few weeks and would love for you to contribute, as well.
Using the text box below, I invite you to submit a short piece about one name of G*d that catches your imagination and tugs at your heart. Please don’t hold back because you feel inexperienced or inarticulate. You may be the one to say it exactly the way someone else needs to hear it. We want to hear from your authentic self.
I won’t limit myself to names found in Christian texts, but they are my core; my Ground, you could say, which will indeed be one of the names that we explore. You are welcome and encouraged to bring your own vocabulary for Mysterium Tremendum to this experiment.
Please keep your essays under 400 words. Using the comment box at the end of my post, below, I invite you to submit a short reflection—either about the post I’ve written or about one name of God that catches your imagination and tugs at your heart. Once you press “submit,” your response will come to me. I will read each submission before it goes public, so don’t worry if it takes a few days to see your thoughts on this website. It goes without saying that we’ll communicate with respect, and out of our own experience.
What’s In a Name
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