Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Not Embarrassed to Talk about God

A while back I posted a blog about Dorothy Day - but didn't mention one of her most intriguing thoughts: "If I have achieved anything in my life, it is because I have not been embarrassed to talk about God."

Christians talk about lots of things, and even express their admiration for their church or a mission activity (or occasionally even the preacher!) quite readily. But do we say much about God?

In yet another blog a while back, I shared my jittery concern with the state and future of faith, echoing the sentiments of Kenda Creasy Dean (Almost Christian) who says we aren't against God at all, but our faith is not very robust - and God rarely is thought of or mentioned. She says that for the life of faith to be vital, we need to talk, and listen, and listen and talk, about God with others.

Can we begin a few conversations about God? The fear, I know, is we will embarrass ourselves, or somebody else; I don't have a scintillating story, or Frankly I'm confused about God, or I know a little about the Bible but not much - or conversely we might turn the volume up too high, with I had a vision of heaven, or Jesus spoke to me just a few minutes ago, or I've learned to pray constantly even during tedious business meetings.

Maybe our God talk is like children's coloring: there may be lines but they don't really matter, and all drawings are lovely. We say something about our sense of God, our wonderments, the shadows and the light - and it gives someone else permission to share, and we hear ourselves and others saying something about God. Say you're confused; I'll guarantee you your listener is too. Say something positive you've felt or known; your listener probably needs a glimmer of hope. Probably, what God wants most is quite simply to be spoken of, to be noticed, to be a topic of some importance.

At our Church we're planning a modern day Revival early in January (watch for details): one goal will be to free us up to say something about God, and to listen to others, to grow together.

Maybe we practice over dinner, or on the phone, or in an email... Dorothy Day, after all, achieved a fair amount simply because she was never embarrassed to speak of God.


  1. My problem is when I try to talk about God, people equate that with "the Church." Then they go off on how terrible "the Church" is. Sometimes I use the term "spirituality" to differentiate between God and God's human institution.

  2. Seems there are two audiences who ask me to talk about God. One is the receptive group of believers who table talk or salute with "God is good" "Lift it up in prayer" type affirmations. Although we share our interpretation of scripture, we don't go deeply into what we personally believe is the nature of his goodness or interest in our prayers. Within that group, I might quote what others say/write about who God is. The other audience, a close friend and non-believer, is is a technology genius. He studies science for leisure. I agree with him that I can offer no scientific proof. I say I honestly choose to believe and try to live that faith.
    The closer God for me is the Holy Spirit, that third leg who gets only passing respect. He is not so far away as God or so ancient a teacher as Christ. As a spirit, I can do more than just believe, I can sense the presence and a personality, a power.

  3. I've grown weary of talking about God with (close-minded) people who are sure that they know all the answers.

    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts...." - Bertrand Russell

    I'd much prefer to discuss God with people who are not sure about the answers.

  4. Talking about God with others has always helped me find God in others.

  5. I am sure that God is here with me. I have known this since I was a teenager. I had a difficult decision to make, and I heard God speak to me as clearly as the voice of a person in the room with me. This solidified my faith. I struggle with talking about God because i have friends who are Chrisitan, Jewish, Unitarian- some may be agnostic or atheist. I struggle with whether Jesus is the only way to salvation? I can't believe, for example, that my Jewish friends would not receive salvation- this dilemma keeps from being able to discuss my faith openly. I am conflicted about this point.

  6. In Jan of 2008 I lost my 20 year old daughter in a car accident. I only got through that with God's help. I know it sounds corny, but if I didn't have God in my life then I don't know what I would have done. Since then I have thought about a lot of things and one of the things that came to me was not being afraid to talk about God and what He has done in my life. He was not ashamed to come to me when I really needed Him so I should not be ashamed of Him. Although this has been the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with I have learned a lot about myself and others. I believe this is answered prayer.