Friday, February 02, 2007

Definition of terms

Last night I had the privilege of visiting a writer's group that I hope to join. They invited me to bring along a chapter of something I'm writing for them to critique, so I brought along the start of a book idea I had—Spiritual Toolbox for Single Parents.

First, it was great to be forced to write with an eye to publication. I really have to thank them for that! Second, the feedback they gave was spot on exactly what I needed to know to improve the text and make it more accessible to the general reader (who happens to be single, a parent, and interested in spirituality).

One especially helpful comment pointed out that I seemed to jump from term to term. In my thousand-word submission, I used the words Spirit, God, Father-Mother, Creator, Love, and the Divine. This comment was very instructive for me, because I tend to assume people will know from the context that all those terms are different words for the same thing. Not so! To one participant, "God" meant something religious, while "Spirit" meant something spiritual. She wasn't sure what I was talking about at what point. The group recommended that I add a section up front in the book where I explain why so many different words.

To me, the different appellations for God (and pretty much anything I'm capitalizing is intended to mean God) present facets of the divine character. Exploring these facets that can allow us to grow closer to Him. Mary Baker Eddy supplies wonderful options in Science and Health. Contemplating one at a time through my spiritual study has given me a rich reservoir of ideas to call on in time of need.

It's like a diamond. Each facet sparkles in its own way, but they're part of one gorgeous whole. "God" to me is the name for the infinite spiritual Being who has an infinite number of facets. Understanding the totality of this Being might be possible in this human realm, and indeed I think certain individuals throughout history have done so. For me, though, wrapping my thought around one facet at a time is enabling me to catch occasional glimpses of the whole.

When I add facets together mentally, for example contemplating both Spirit and Love, I get an even broader concept. When I add in the concepts of infinitude and eternality, or omnipotence and omnipresence, this takes me even further. God is one, and that one is infinite. I am learning to comprehend that infinite One in segments, but the original remains whole.

The other thing to perhaps explain is what God is not, at least to me. God is not a big human. God is not an arbitrary judge. God is not a puppet-master or a chastiser or an aggressive overlord. These limited concepts of the Divine have done a disservice to humanity's spiritual progress and I feel need to be excised from any working definition of God.

God is Love. God is Spirit, Father-Mother, Creator, the Divine. The "is" makes it an equation—God equals these things. So yes, the words are interchangeable, and in my prayer I choose the concept to contemplate that will bring the most light to a given circumstance.

These are my first lispings on this topic, so thanks for reading! I'm so glad for what I learned last night because it's already going to improve my writing significantly.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 2/02/2007 11:04:00 AM, Blogger PtCakes said...

Thank you so much for a the wonderful explanation. Now, instead of being confused by the different terms, my outlook is broadened.

Looking forward to reading more.

At 2/02/2007 11:48:00 AM, Blogger Kate said...

this is so good for all of us who are writing about our experiences with God..all love, kate

At 2/02/2007 04:50:00 PM, Anonymous Heather said...

**One especially helpful comment pointed out that I seemed to jump from term to term. In my thousand-word submission** I've found when explaining Christian Science to someone, I run into this, as well. I keep forgetting that not everyone's concept of God matches mine.

But it's really fascinating to consider, how two people can be discussing God and not have the conversation make sense. That's because both people haven't defined their perception of God. I can say God is good and thus not permit anything to exist which violates His laws, or even create something that is not as good as He is. Yet another person would see that as God can't stand the presence of evil in His sight.

Therefore, I do believe that people as a whole don't reject God. People simply rejection a certain perception of God.

At 2/05/2007 09:43:00 AM, Blogger FatCharlatan said...

Thanks so much for visiting Niblets! We enjoyed reading your work, appreciated your insightful feedback to our own stuff, and look forward to having you as a member! :)

FC (a.k.a Robyn)


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