We know various meanings -- perhaps none of them sounding quite right to us -- for phrases like "The Kingdom of God" or "The World of God."

Could people find a better sense, at this point, in a phrase like 'The Activity of God'?

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Oh, some people like you better in a box,
better in a box,
better in a box.

Some people like you better in a box,and there they think they've got you!

I started thinking about that, and wondering, "Hmm, do we really need a new catch phrase like 'personal relationship' and 'born again' and [lately] 'not a religion'?"

If everybody started using 'Activity of God' as just another word -- instead of a 'what'! -- as happens with all those other words that used to mean something -- then what's the point?

How can more people find the 'What'?

I'm not sure we understand the words we use now.    We certainly don't agree on what they mean and that probably goes back to the Tower of Babel.  I think adding more words would add more divisions in the body.

We understand words so well as we understand what they point to. Sometimes the words themselves provide a hint where and how to look.

God being described as 'The Ground of Being' -- a perfectly good description of the background role God assumes in much of our life -- but no substitute for seeing what it says: that God is the very reality in which our life takes place, truly the only available 'place' it could be taking place in. For someone who doesn't understand it, it's noise. The same is true of any description we could have.

The legend of Babel doesn't just indicate mutual incomprehension; it also describes the creation of different languages in which to say different things more adequately...

Likewise, disagreeing on the meaning of words does sometimes lead to strife -- but it can also work to enlarge our understanding of things we'd thought a word didn't say.

"Divisions in the body." I like Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi's description of different religions as functioning as different 'organs' in humanity's spiritual body... and sometimes divisions could be a good thing even in our own Quaker body -- I wouldn't want to be rid of either the LiberalFriendist or the Conservative brands, myself. Their separation leaves them free to develop without excess internal strife; and their interaction has been rather fruitful in many ways.

Back to my original question... Is the phrase "Activity of God" potentially fruitful? Does it suggest a more accurate lens for thinking about what God is doing in-and-with the world?

I don't know.  What if we are something that God does in His spare time?  What if He's more like a painter who when he finishes one masterpiece paints over it for his next?  Being all powerful He must find constant challenges to be content with who He is.  Maybe that's where we come in?  Does God multitask?  Of course He does.  But to what extent?  What else is he working on? 

Do we really want to know?  Do we even want to go there?  Maybe if we don't understand that we are less than a worm as David says we should.  After all we are told we are the apple of His eye but what is His rose?  His favorite meat or vegetable?  How truly insignificant are we?

s



James C Schultz said:

I don't know.  What if we are something that God does in His spare time?  What if He's more like a painter who when he finishes one masterpiece paints over it for his next?  Being all powerful He must find constant challenges to be content with who He is.  Maybe that's where we come in?  Does God multitask?  Of course He does.  But to what extent?  What else is he working on? 

Do we really want to know?  Do we even want to go there?  Maybe if we don't understand that we are less than a worm as David says we should.  After all we are told we are the apple of His eye but what is His rose?  His favorite meat or vegetable?  How truly insignificant are we?

Hey, all we need is the spare time we get, right? "Without limit" implies 'plenty-of-whatever' we might need.

Trying to think about even some of what God might be doing elsewhere would probably boggle my mind more than it is.

The problem I see isn't about imagining all the potential Otherstuff God probably does --

It's that people generally look around them, don't see anything that looks like a 'Kingdom' of God or even a democracy.

But if, instead, you look for God to be taking a hand here and there, isn't that what we need to see?

But maybe  this is God's 7th day, his day of rest?  Then He isn't doing anything and it's all up to us and the Angels - both the good and bad.  Please don't forget this is a discussion.  I don't necessarily believe this is the case.  We are discussing how helpful it would be to describe things in terms of the Activity of God.

God is permitted to violate the Sabbath to save human life -- even if He's Jewish -- and in any case, that's a rule for us, for our benefit.

It's like this: There are all sorts of human activities in which God is noticeably not taking a leadership role. Has not been honestly invited, would be told to bug out if God did interfere in anybody doing what they wanted. Consider business, government, even religion.

At the same time, all sorts of things happen in people's lives that indicate that God is on the job, that even though everything people imagine to be power -- seems to be going to the Devil, life is in fact happening exactly as it's supposed to.

If people were more aware of this, were inviting and welcoming it to happen more noticeably, would this place start looking more like that Kingdom?

But I think God works by invitation.  That is probably part of the prayer conundrum.  Without prayer God leaves us alone to our own devices.  Then He has all these other rules that determine which prayers He has decided He will not answer, such as not violating Free Will.

Yes, that's why encouraging people to be more inviting would be a good thing.

Maybe it isn't so much of a conundrum; people like to think they've got some control of outcomes; they just aren't all that good about choosing them.

As for 'all those rules' as to which prayers God will answer -- People come up with sets of rules but I think the minimal set is two:

1) No logical impossibilities

&

2) Nothing that would really be harmful if granted. (No violations of other people's free will, no gross interference without invitation, nor unduly upsetting anyone's sense of living in a reasonably predictable place -- unless things get so bad that having the sky split wide open would start sounding like a good thing...)

Thanks for the discussion.  I have enjoyed it.

The phrase born again is misunderstood because the meaning behind it is lost. The phrase itself no longer points beyond itself, much like an idol. To be born again in Christ is to enter into new life, wherein the conscious is anchored in and the conscience is informed directly (without the mediation of outward forms) by the Spirit itself. It is the inspired life rather than the expired life of a conscious anchored in and  conscience informed by outward forms. Born Again is the direct experience of a change in the very nature of consciousnesss, so that, in the Presence and illumination of Christ we increase and  know our measure eternal consciousness. Being born again is the knowledge and experience of Christ daily in all things and circumstances in our activities within this world.

Sorry Keith.  We will have to agree to disagree on that.

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