Unsaying "God"

David James Duncan speaks of “unsaying God”, that is, apophasis—theology defined by what God is not. God has been badly defined by so many people and so many traditions that we need to strip the baggage away from the name and treat it as we would any other—someone we are getting to know.

I had much the same thought yesterday, then lost it, so I was happy to read it again in God Laughs & Plays. My thought was that I need to return to a childlike curiosity about God, but I need to nuance that. I don’t seek to nor can I approach God as a tabula rasa—I have a lifetime of experience and learning crowding my brain but also informing my intuition. I often say the Christianity is the language I know, so that is the language I use about God. I can, however, discipline myself to approach God with a mindful approach, consciously muting all my preconceptions. How would I think about God if I hadn’t heard all this stuff? I’ll still have unconscious biases and preconceptions, hence the challenge, but I can seek them out and question them. How else can I think about this? What are my options?

It would be both arrogant and foolish to try to discover God without leaning on any existing traditions or thinking—there are a lot of good books (and essays and blogs and sermons and a long list of others) out there waiting to be consulted and critiqued and absorbed. The difference is that now I won’t accept them uncritically but will instead examine them for biases I don’t agree with and perspectives that I do. Hopefully I’ll find ideas I can’t classify one way or the other and have to cogitate and ruminate on until I’ve absorbed or excreted them as well.

Ken Tryon @ArtGeek