Before We Begin
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Let’s Get Started!
Let’s talk about God. That simple, huh?
- Where did God come from?
- There are over 100 names for God used in the Torah – Why?
- The God of the Bible is an evolving God, yet eternally the same. This is a God that walks with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, but seemed absent to modern Jewish history. In other words, where’s God when you need Him/Her/Them?
- How can we have moments where God is so close to us, and then moments where God feels so far away?
- Is there a God, anyway? And what do my beliefs about this question say about me?
What do you think now?
Take a look at this chart. Where do you see yourself on here. Why?
Or to put it another way (pardon the gruffness)…
So what’s Judaism’s answer?
There are different understandings of God in Jewish thought. Dang it!
Have a look at these texts, as well as the chart showing different thinkers/genres of theological thinking. You may want to print this booklet and lay the chart pages out, as they are a little hard to read.
Consider using that first page to write God an email. What would it say? What would you even think to talk to God about? Who is this God, anyway?
Read the rest of the booklet. Now ask yourself:
- What works for you in this booklet? What texts or ideas do you relate to?
- What makes sense and does not?
- Has anything you read changed or reaffirmed how you view God?
The Rabbi’s Answer
My own personal thoughts…take them with a grain of kosher salt 😉
I am a gnostic theist. I believe that God is a lived experience. I live this experience which I choose to call God because that is the best word for it that I have in my limited vocabulary. Some people use other words. Judaism is fine with that. And the varieties of religious experiences that exist on this earth seem to back that up.
Since God for me is a lived experience, I have no emotional connection to a God who is either distant from me, or near me, answering prayers or being silent to me. God is not detached from my reality, swooping in on occasion. I am not part of a three tiered universe with a God who is “up there.” Maybe the Jedis were right — the Force, and what-have-you.
Bonus: a few things worth exploring if you have time.
No worries if not.
Let’s begin with The History of God by Karen Armstrong. This playlist should take about an hour an a half. While not solely about Judaism, it’s good to see the progression of God over several religions.
The Walking With God series by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, a Conservative rabbinical college, has some excellent articles. Find what interests you.