Reviews | Why we need to start talking about God
As a pastor, I see again and again that in the defining moments in people’s lives – the birth of children, marital struggles, deep losses and disappointments, moral crossroads, facing death – they speak of God and of the spiritual life. In these most tender moments, even those who do not know exactly what they believe cannot avoid the big questions of meaning: who are we, why are we here, why do we believe what we believe, why the beauty and horror exist.
These questions are bubbling up in all of us, often spontaneously. Even when we hum for a mundane week – without consciously thinking about God or the meaning of life or death – we are still motivated in our depths by ultimate questions and assumptions about what is right and wrong, what is. true or false and what makes a good life.
The opening cheer of my weekly church service recognizes the elephant in the room. We start by saying: We are here to talk to God and talk about the things of God. Doing so can be controversial, complex, painful, tricky, and sometimes even a little embarrassing – all of the reasons we avoid talking about religion at cocktail parties. But we always do it because the subject of God and, more broadly, of transcendent truth, is hidden in every title and at every moment of our ordinary life.
This newsletter, like our opening cheer, recognizes the presence of God in the world, believing that God, faith and spirituality remain an important part of our public and private life. I will talk about the habits and practices that shape our lives, the beliefs that drive our imagination, the commitments that guide our souls.
It won’t be the same every week: although the Bible may remain the same, the journal changes every day. And different events and seasons in our lives and in society bring us back to old questions about truth, beauty, and goodness in new ways. In a cultural time when faith is often used as a baton for our political and ideological enemies, we need space to speak of belief and practice with nuance, curiosity and reflection.
So here is my opening cheer. Let’s discuss our deepest questions, our aspirations and loves, the rituals and habits that shape who we are and how we walk the world, week after week.