What is The God Project?

As Jews we chant the Avot v'Imahot, and we pray:

....God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob,
God of Sarah, God of Rebecca, God of Rachel, and God of Leah...

It would seem that we could cover it by praying to "the God of our ancestors," but Midrash teaches that we pray this way to acknowledge that each patriarch, each matriarch, and each person has a unique and special relationship with God.

One God and as many relationships as there are stars or grains of sand.

The more I meet with people, those who believe in God and those who do not; those who talk with God and those who fear God, the more I wonder about those relationships. And I wonder how many of us have taken the time to think about the personal relationship we have with our God.

So I am collecting stories. My project is called: The God Project. I will share it with you. I am amazed already by the stories I have received.

Tell me please:
Who is the God that you believe in or don't believe in? Is this God male or female? Where does this God live? Does this God hear your prayers? Know about the intimate details of your life? Care about them? Does this God answer you? Direct you? And if so, how?

What were you taught about God as a child? And how has this belief changed, if it has? As you grow older, does your relationship deepen or fade? When did you feel closest to God? When did you feel abandoned, if ever?

How do you pray? Or talk with God? Do you ever question God? Or are you ever angry with God?

I am asking these questions of people of all faiths. Sometimes we allow religion to separate us and alienate us from each other. But the belief in a Divine Being, God for us monotheists, or the non-belief in this Divine Being, but a belief in a Power Greater Than Ourselves, seems to unite us as a whole, as beings of a greater Oneness.

During these times of tension in and on the planet, isn't it comforting to find those things that can unite us in loving kindness and respect for our fellow planet dwellers than looking at those things that divide us and bring us to war.

My hope with The God Project is to seek peace and understanding. Will you contribute your ideas and thoughts to this project? And if you do, please tell me if I can use your name, or if you are contributing anonymously.


Note: Speak up. Send me your thoughts on the glue that holds the world together. You belief in God or non-belief?
Email me at NatureRabbi@gmail.com.
When you do so, let me know if I can attribute your post to you or if you wish to be anonymous. Join me in this project, please.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What or who is God?

Thinking about things: there is no one God--no supreme being directing the happenings around us or answering our prayers. To me, God is the thinking, feeling part in each of us urging us to use our whole being to do the right thing.

The Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

If we all did this, there truly would be a utopia here on earth and the real Messianic Age.


Monday, March 22, 2010

notes from a beautiful spirit

you can see that I 'misheard" the question: had I heard "who" -- I'd have been totally struck...

What is my God? What are My Gods?

That was, to irreligious me, a disbeliever, a non-starter of a question. How could I hold such a question? But even as I was thinking that, I heard a tone in my inner ear. A D-flat from a Chopin piece. Not so much the note, as the memory of hearing it and the knowing what hearing it does to me.

It evokes awe, and wonder; it transports me, it stops the world.

I have sung in enough 'sacred' music in enough churches, temples, cathedrals to have made the connection between the feeling of Chopin's D flat and what I believe the psalms, hymns, requiem masses, prayers, cantatas, and oratorios are meant to evoke.

So what else can evoke such a feeling?

a newborn's fingernail
sunrise on the water
sometimes the scent of lilacs
Sibelius' violin sustenuto
the voice of Vessalina Kasarova
Kathleen Ferrier singing Blow the Wind Southerly
Alvin Ailey's Cry
the leap at the end of Billy Elliott
smell of that body oil I can't find the name of
any Giacometti
Siri by Gino Hollander
the first line of the calm part of Brahm's Alto Rhapsody
a child's hand wrapped around a grownup's finger

So very interesting -- all these from senses -- god?

And from a more thinking place, and 'inner sense' if you will, comes the knowledge of the 'much' that is unknowable - although there seems to be a non-personal universal well of knowledge, of experience, of energy, of spirit that is both part of us and not part of us but available to be dipped into -- and which hints, or teases, at explaining what cannot be accounted for otherwise.

Some things that cannot be known, we sense anyway -- and that suggests the possibility of our being connected in ways we rarely imagine. I am fully open to that imagining.

Here I come as close as I ever have to the idea of a supernatural being, but it is not very close. And so ends my response to the non-starter of a question.


Monday, March 15, 2010

perhaps a non-believer? you be the judge

Is there some form of a Supreme Being, Spirit, or Energy that influences our lives?
Or are we in charge of our own well being?

In the days of my innocence, I prayed for help to achieve goals that were so important to a young boy; "Help me pass my algebra test, God," "Make Loretta fall in love with me," "Don't let me get sick."

Sadly, He rarely came through. As I went through my teenage years, attending synagogue often, saying the prayers for peace and good will to all men over and over again, I realized that we Jews, and Christians, too, have been saying the same prayers for peace and good will for thousands of years.

Is there anybody listening to these prayers?

Over years, I've come to realize that if we want something to happen, we must do it ourselves. There is no Supreme entity that is going to help us achieve that which we want for ourselves and others. If it is good grades, we must study and learn the material. If we want to win the lottery, we must buy tickets. If we want to make the world a better place, then we must be prepared to do our part, no matter how insignificant it is in the whole scheme of things. If we want that promotion, we have to have the knowledge and ability to get it. We are the supreme power in achieving that which happens to us.

If we don't have the power to accomplish that which we want, then Fate will intervene. We, as individuals, don't always have the power of ability to get that which we want. We can't keep an elderly loved one with us forever. We're not equipped to prevent death. We can't always get that promotion because there may be someone better equipped than we. I am reluctant to assign a supreme being to being the determining factor.

Do we have to factor in a reason for something unexplainable happening? Why did he/she die so young and unexpected? Why are there random fatal acts of nature? Why did I turn out the way I did? It happened! Does "why?" always have to have an answer? Life isn't always neat and explainable. It's random. To some, an explanation for the unexplainable is needed for peace of mind. For them, an unexplainable Supreme Being is the answer. Others will go on with their lives, wondering about the randomness of life. Wondering if there is something other than them involved in life's existence. Then there are those individuals who will continue to operate relying only on themselves and their own resources.

Where do I fit? Not sure. I question the "Why?" of Life often. wonder if there could be a Supreme Being. Yet I still believe in the philosophy of, "If you want something, don't count on anybody else to do it for your. Do it yourself." Please don't classify me an an Atheist or Agnostic. Those are beliefs and I am not sure I have any beliefs. I take life as it comes along, determined to make the best of what I have been given, all by myself.

thoughts from a mountain top in north carolina

I believe that what holds us together is our humanity. To me, humanity holds the qualities of not knowing, but being willing to experience, to have the soul take the lead on our journeys and to unfold life in the process. One of the greatest currencies of the soul, to me, is courage, and life and really living take courage. I hold the soul in the divine Female, which I see as not an aspect of God, but holding the vessel of individual yearning for God, for Life, for harmony.

Everyone gets there a different way, and in my life I try to appreciate the many paths. Mostly, I just try to see people for what they strive for and how they accept the power of life to move and alter their direction. In my work reading the soul, I feel honored to see so much courage in this life and others, and doing so has dropped a number of pre-existing beliefs of my own and increased my trust in the unknown. I never know what I am doing, but I try to stay in the question of it and hope for inspiration. More and more, I feel that having a set path is an illusion, but that authenticity lies in the willingness to walk a different way and simultaneously mentoring others who do the same.

I see glimpses of God every now and then, most often when I look into the eyes of my beloved, where I always know God lives. I am moved by great and small acts of humanity, whether it be a simple kindness, competitors helping one another to build a hospice, or the willingness to end separation between people and species, something I believe to be the root of all disease. Having grown up in Civil-Rights era Alabama, I am especially moved by the courage to end racial prejudice and was told by someone wise when I was young that anti-Semitism and Racism were the same thing. To me, God is in these kind of changes, our tenuous but brave actions to question beliefs and act on what we do not know, but what might be possible.

To me, compassion is one of the greatest expressions of courage and one of the most likely ways to bring God to earth. I feel that God deserves compassion as well, as a creator who often has to allow us to learn, to carry on the atrocities of war while He watches in horror. I feel the responsibility to transcend my own skin through compassion, not just to humans, but to other creatures do everything to love and accept us so we "get it". The hardest thing is to not give up, to keep trying, to remain open but not naïve and, no matter what I think, to quiet my mind so that it is never, ever a sure thing.

joel may

Sunday, March 14, 2010

From Radical Judaism

Rethinking God and Tradition, by Arthur Green:

What can it mean to "be religious" in a Jewish context if one does not "believe in God," ......

It means that I still consider the sacred to be the most important and meaningful dimension of human life. "The sacred" refers to an inward, mysterious sense of awesome presence, a reality deeper than the kind we ordinarily experience. Life bears within it the possibility of inner transcendence; the moments when we glimpse it are so rare and powerful that they call upon us to transform the rest of our lives in their wake.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

You ask me to comment on who is my God.

My God is the spirit that moves us to be aware of the miracle of life.
It's the force that makes us want to live fully, find a useful role, serve others, love unconditionally and understand that we need to make the most of our time on this earth.
Prayer helps to find our way.

Louise Brown

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A spiritual seeker

My early upbringing taught me God was a man, sometimes to be feared and you better be good or else! My adult upbringing is to think for myself and I believe God is a spirit of some type who I pray to and who cares about me. After Rabbi Ann's class I saw another light that perhaps Jesus is "godness" like we all are. Still mulling that one over. AND, now I'm thinking that god in me answers my prayers. So-o- much to think about!!

by Maggie Revere