Where in the World is God?

Where in the World is God?


130 Pages


This book has grown out of a twofold concern--to follow the author's quest into the nature of the great Mystery of the universe which we call God, and to share this quest with others who are willing to search for a better approach to God than the one with which most Christian people have been indoctrinated.
Kenneth J. Dale lived much of his life in a culture which was fed by two religious streams: one pantheistic (Japanese Shintoism) and the other atheistic (Buddhism). These caused the author to reflect deeply on the place of the Christians' "Heavenly Father" in such a context. Come on a journey of exploration that moves from the outer bounds of the universe to the inner recesses of the heart.



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Published 02 January 2020
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EAN13 9781725252226
Language English

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Where in the World is God?Where in the World is
Reflections on the Sacred Mystery
Refections on the Sacred Mystery
-Copyright © 2019 Kenneth J. Dale. All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in critical pub
lications or reviews, no part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without prior written
permission from the publisher. Write: Permissions, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 199 W. 8th Ave.,
Suite 3, Eugene, OR 97401.
Resource Publications
An Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers
199 W. 8th Ave., Suite 3
Eugene, OR 97401
paperback isbn: 978-1-7252-5220-2
hardcover isbn: 978-1-7252-5221-9
ebook isbn: 978-1-7252-5222-6
Manufactured in the U.S.A. December 4, 2019This book is dedicated to all
who wonder about GodCONTENTS
Preface | ix Te Fish Pond | 27
Acknowledgments | xi Electromagnetism | 28
Introduction | xiii
Gravity | 29
Endnotes for the Preface and
Light | 30
Introduction | xv
Sound | 31
I. Is A New Paradigm Possible? Spirit | 32
God, Why Are You Hiding? | 3 Aesthetics | 33
Changing Horizons | 4 A Here And Now Encounter | 34
Goodbye To Te “God Up Tere ”| 5 “Body Of God” | 35
A Little Intercultural Interlude | 6 A Flame | 36
Paradoxical, Mystical God | 8 Te Sun | 37
Te Inefable Vs. Te Idol | 9 Energy And Spirit Entwined | 38
New Wine Skins For New Wine | 10 Sexuality | 39
A Radical Shif | 11 Te Mystery Of Consciousness | 40
I Meet God In My Frail Body | 12 Life | 41
Beyond Evolution | 13 “Heavenly Father” | 42
Permission To Question God | 14
III. God As Sacred Mystery
Te Hebrew Experience Of
What Is God? | 45“YHWH” | 15
Te Sacred Mystery | 46Reverence For Life | 16
Te One Beyond Space And Evil—Why? Why Not? | 17
Time | 48Paradoxes Within God | 19
God As “Being Itself ” | 49
Danger Of Imaging God | 20
“Panentheism” | 50
Not In Control But Not Absent | 21
God As Benevolent Universe | 51
II. Metaphors Pointing To God Where In Te World Is God? | 52
On Te Use Of Metaphors | 25 God As “Te More” | 53
Air | 26 God As “Te Other” | 54God As Te Holy One | 55 V. A Biblical Perspective, With
A  M y s tic’s R es p o ns eAwaken To Spirit! | 56
A Song From Te Bible | 87Is God Personal? | 57
Te Invisible God | 88Jesus And His “ Abba” | 58
God—Out-Pouring Love | 89God: Father And Source | 59
Te Eternal Paradox: Transcendence Each Must Find God | 60
Vs. Immanence | 90
Te Impossible Questions | 61
Is God Omnipotent? | 91
Te Deepest Mystery | 62
What Is Te “Image Of God” | 92
IV. A Three-Faced God? Te Lure Of God | 93
Te Trinity—What Is It? | 65 Te Speaking God | 94
What! A Tree-Faced God? | 66 A Forgiving God | 95
God And Jesus | 67 Te Immanent God—“With
Us” | 96Jesus—Not God, But Word Of
God | 69 Te Creating God | 97
Defning Jesus? Impossible! | 70 Hidden In “Light Inaccessible” | 99
A New Christology | 71 “I Don’t Know” | 100
Believing In Jesus Means . . . | 73 Te Embodied God | 101
Historical Mystery, Dive In! | 102
Mysterious History | 74 Te “Earthy” Will Of God | 103
Jesus Of History, Cosmic Christ | 75 Jesus, Template Of Te Kingdom Of
A Second Look At Sacrifce (1) | 76 God | 104
A Second Look At Sacrifce (2) | 77 How Can We Relate To Te
Mystery? | 105Is Christianity Exclusive? | 79
Transformation | 106Pentecost | 81
A Prayer: Touch Me! | 107Ambiguities In Te Spirit (1) | 82
Ambiguities In Te Spirit (2) | 83 Endnotes | 109
Bibliography | 113Te Breath Of God | 84PREFACE
Te writings in this little book are “mini-essays” or “poems,” each one separate and
complete in itself, written at diferent times. I make no claim to being a poet writing as a true
“wordsmith,” but neither have I confned myself to ordinary prose, except in the
introductory pieces at the beginning of each section. Tis model has given me the freedom to
write more freely in suggestive fashion rather than being tied to logical development of
every idea. I request the reader not to read many of them in succession at one sitting; it
will cloy you. But I hope these bits will, in the end, become a bottle of “new wine” with
a sparkle of truth in our search for ways to think about God that are relevant to today’s
Tere are fve sections in this book. Te frst three sections look at God from
various perspectives. Te fnal fourth and ffh sections are diferent from the frst three in
that, despite questioning and probing, they call on the wisdom of biblical faith.
I am thinking especially of two groups of people as audience for this little book:
those people, especially under the age of thirty-fve, who live on the edge between the
spiritual and the secular, respecting religion but ofen turned of by the church’s blithe
God-talk, feeling more and more at home with the “nones,” and also those who may go
to houses of worship regularly but who nonetheless struggle silently with the real
meaning of God in their life.
A survey of current religious statistics shows a rapid decline in all religious
i ii with a concurrent interest in individual spiritua Tilitys a. larming situation afliation,
in the church is a compelling factor that motivates me to write about God from a new
perspective. Wrestle with me while I share my own deep questions, and new
interpretations that I am fnding helpful.
Note: Even though the Bible speaks of God as male, and even though it makes for awkward
sentences, I try to avoid the gender words, “he, him, his” with reference to God, inasmuch
as God is above and beyond gender.
Kenneth J. Dale, at Pilgrim Place
Claremont, California
Autumn, 2019
John Cobb and his infuential Center for Process Teology have been a big factor in
shaping my theology. I greatly appreciate his words of “orientation” to this book found
on the back cover. I am also deeply grateful for the encouragement of Andrew Taylor,
bishop of Pacifca Synod of the Lutheran Church in America to which I belong and for
his words on the back cover.
I am indebted to those colleagues in the “Doing Teology” group at Pilgrim Place
who have accompanied me on a journey from a narrow to a wider view of God. I cannot
name all of them, but Charles Bayer’s thoughts have been particularly stimulating. I am
grateful to Bob Hurd, Bill Moremen, and John Denham, who gave advice and en- cour
agement along the way, and to Rich Mayfeld for our thought-provoking conversations
and his stimulating critique of my work.
I also owe much to the many authors whose works appear in the Bibliography
section, and to the editors at Wipf and Stock who guided me through the publishing
I constantly think about God, asking, Who is God? What is God? Where is God?
But who is so presumptuous as to write a book describing God, the infnite,
ineffable God? But nevertheless, I want to write a book about God. I am aware of this irony,
and to try to make an objective, accurate “description” of God, is folly, and defnitely not
the purpose of this book. Do not look for “proofs” for the existence of or nature of God.
Te best we can do is share our individual and communal experience of God, and the
belief in God that arises out of that experience.
Knowing how many people hold what I consider inadequate beliefs about God, or
have simply “given up on God” entirely, I feel a deep desire to share my own doubts and
struggles and insights as I have probed the nature of God, which to me is a fundamental
aspect of the spiritual life.
I write these lines being aware of the profound changes taking place in the modern
and post-modern world views with respect to the concept of God. Since the 19th
century, philosophers, theologians, and scientists, such as Friedrich Schleiermacher, Karl
Marx and Charles Darwin overthrew traditional world views. In the early years of the
20th century “death of God” theories—think Altizer, Hamilton, and their popularizer,
John Robinson (Honest to God)—grabbed the attention of many. In one sense, they were
a reprisal of Dietrich Bonhoefer’s earlier call for a “religionless Christianity.” Tese
infuential thinkers make it imperative that Christian theologians and church
professionals be keenly aware of these changes in order to address today’s listeners with a message
that meets their mind-set.
Currently religious thought has rightly turned its energy toward matters of God in
the context of social injustice. Despite there being ample justifcation for that, I still do
not want to neglect the theological foundation for these concerns, which is, I believe,
ultimately the One we call “God” and the way God works in the world.
I am aware that the subject of God can be approached in various ways: looking at
comparative concepts of God in the various religions, or looking at God from the
standpoint of philosophy; i.e. examining the classical ontological, cosmological, or
teleological “proofs,” of the existence of God, or learning from some of the prominent thinkers
iiilisted above. Currently, Fundamentalsts and most Evangelicals totally accept an image
of God as an all-powerful Being existing in a place called heaven, distributing rewards
for the good and punishment for the bad, especially on “Judgment Day.” It’s all “in the
Book” for them, and they resist a questioning attitude.
But, although I am indebted to some of these for helpful insights, I am not writing
from an academic angle, but principally on the basis of my own insights and
experiences. Although I am already on the far end of my “mature years,” I do not apologize for