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The Challenges of Relating to God (Part 1 of 2)

“Relationship” is the theme of the Psalms: specifically, that most difficult of all relationships, the relationship with God.

What or who is God? Clearly the word “God”, with all of its synonyms and substitutes as they appear in the Psalms, presents a serious problem for many. I find it meaningful and use it freely in my teaching where it seems helpful (although it is absent in Zen language, and Zen is agnostic on the subject of God); but for many people the word “God” evokes parental and judgmental overtones, and even worse, false, meaningless, or even negative piety associated with what they have taken to be their less-than-perfect religious upbringing. IN fact, “God” often seems to militate against exactly what it is supposed to connote: something immense, and ineffable toward which one directs enormous feelings of awe, respect, gratitude, desire, anger, love, resentment, wonder, and so on.

-Norman Fischer from “When You Greet Me I Bow”