By the Mainline Protestant Team
This week in the Public Square, the subject is GOD. (We like the big questions here at Patheos.) Who or what is God, as defined by the various religions of the world? Along with our excellent Christian perspectives on the elusive concept of the Trinity and a God who is still "in process" in the world, we decided to reach out to a handful of theobloggers (those blogging about God online) for a more personal take on the question. And just to make it a bit more interesting, we decided to launch our first-ever Theoblogger Challenge here at the Mainline Protestant Portal. We invited a dozen bloggers to answer the question: Who/What is God? ... in 100 words or less.
Seven bloggers rose to the challenge, and more than a few said it was not easy to describe God in so few words. Yet the responses were evocative and varied and, in some cases, very personal. Images of God abound -- from God as a caring "Mama" to a sick child, to God as three persons, to God as a blade of grass breaking through a crack in the asphalt. May the responses below inspire your own language about what many call the indescribable. There's room for your comments at the end of the article, but remember -- 100 words or less!
WHO/WHAT IS GOD? ... IN 100 WORDS OR LESS
Christine Valters Paintner, founder anddirector of Abbey of the Arts and a spiritual director based in Seattle, WA
Byron Wade, Vice-Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and a Presbyterian pastor in Raleigh, NC
Robb Harrell, aLutheran pastor serving as a mission re-developer at St. Luke Church (www.storyofgod.org) in Atlanta, GA
Adam Walker Cleaveland, a Minister for Youth and Young Adults at Asbury United Methodist Church in Livermore, CA
Jim Burklo, an ordained United Church of Christ pastor and the Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California
Amy Julia Becker, a writer and a student at Princeton Theological Seminary
Christine Sine, co-founder of Mustard Seed Associates, a network of followers of Jesus seeking to put God's purposes first in their lives
Christine Valters Paintner
The One who pulses through the ancient blood of our ancestors,
and births newness in holy ecstasy.
The ticking of time through each mundane minute,
and the spilling open into eternity's wide expanse.
The long naked branch, black against the winter sky,
and the petaled profusion of spring's blossoming.
The beggar's bowl
and the fountain overflowing.
The aching arms reaching out in lonely longing,
and the tingle of skin against skin in a lovers' tangle.
The One who draws us to the sacred center of the world,
and lures us far beyond the fertile edges of our imagining.
Christine Valters Paintner is the founder and director of Abbey of the Arts, a non-profit ministry integrating contemplative practice with the expressive arts. She is the author of Water, Wind, Earth, & Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements, and co-author of Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Direction and Lectio Divina: Contemplative Awakening and Awareness. Visit her blog here.