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.

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.


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