This morning I attended a service where the word god was used repeatedly. However, because I had just finished reading and rereading The beginning … Creativity by Gordon D. Kaufman (a Harvard University professor at their school of Divinity for thirty years), a book dedicated to a sophisticated analysis of the word god, the historical development of the concept and its present usage in postmodern society, I was disturbed by the word god as used in the sermon.
The word god was used as if there were some higher amalgam of a human male and a female forming a multisexual being, or non-sexual construction of one, or an LGBT blend of some sort, but definitely sexed and queer. In the context, this was mind-stretching, even for me, who often declares I will listen to anything for a while, to the point of my breaking from reality, and then it bent over the edge of my flexibility when we were required to offer a propitiating song-prayer to this strange amorphous being by physically doing some strange kind of arm-waving singing-prayer. Yes, it was as weird as it sounds to see a couple of hundred people flapping their arms in the air over their heads while singing to some amorphously sexed god.
I support personal rights and free speech to the extreme by most people’s standards, and I was an active participant in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement of the 1960s, and I fully support this person’s right to stand in front of me and say and do what she did … but I can’t believe intellectually or in my heart the existence of the god that was being asked to solve our human problems.
I am willing to listen to people’s statements no matter how contradictory they are to my personal beliefs, but I am unwilling to say and act as if I believe them, and I find it offensive when people insist that I sign their documents where I publicly proclaim that I do support their political agenda. That didn’t happen at this meeting, but it did happen a couple of months ago, much to my chagrin, and I was required to leave that meeting.
God speaks to us in mysterious ways, claims Gordon Kaufman.