Wide Spot: an internal opening created by the convergence of heart and word.

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

Wide Spot: Set the Table

If I had five bucks for every time I’ve heard someone grieve over feeling like they don’t belong, I could spend a month in Costa Rica with money left over. I don’t want to denigrate the sincere yearning for community. Many of us lack friends who are willing to hear the longing of our hearts. …

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The Destroyer

I look out my window through a haze of choking smoke. Over 33 million acres have burned in Canada and we’re just halfway through the forest fire season. It’s not an unreasonable question to ask where (the hell) G*d is in all this mess. There’s been a Destroyer lurking in every pantheon since the dawn …

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Reader Reflections

  1. You have my attention, Therese, i’ve been wrestling with the destructive side of God/nature for a long time. It scares…

  2. Thank you, Therese! I have found these last 6+ weeks to be such an intense time of unease. But still…

  3. “God saves us from nothing and stands with us in all things.” Yes! As I age, the truth of this…

  4. Response to “The Destroyer” This writing “hits home” to me. While wrestling with how to deal with the destruction going…