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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Two Metaphors for God

Today I simply offer for our consideration a quote from Rabbi Lawrence Kushner as heard on the current "On Being with Krista Tippett."  

There are two ways to understand our relationship with God. I'm going to say right up front that they are both just metaphors, relax. Just metaphors. The first one, picture a big circle and the big circle represents God. And then picture below it a very tiny little circle. And that represents you in the world. And because the big circle is above the little circle, it's naturally hierarchical, and therefore it’s generically masculine and welcome to Western religion. All of Western religions have this thing, “God’s up there and we are down here, and we talk to God and God tells us what to do, blah, blah, blah.”There was a cartoon recently in the New Yorker, it shows two angels ended the guy talking without a beard. And one says to the other, “I just can't take him seriously without the beard anymore.”

…Now I'm going to give you another metaphor. Just another metaphor…Same big circle that represents God but the only difference is is that the little circle that represents you and me is inside the big circle. And that is a more Eastern — it strikes us as a more Eastern model, but.. it's widely available in Western religious tradition as well. And the goal in that model is not to pray to God or have God tell you what to do, but to realize that you have been all along, contrary to all of your illusions, a dimension of the divine, and in moments of heightened spiritual awareness, the boundary line, which is the little circle defining you inside the big circle, momentarily is erased. Momentarily is blurred and it's no longer clear where you end and God begins.

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