God Reflected: Metaphors for Life

God Reflected: Metaphors for Life

by Flora Keshgegian


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When a loved one dies, somebody inevitably says the death wasGod's will. The same claim is made when a person is cured ofcancer. In a war, both sides often argue that they are carrying outGod's will. Faithful people search for God's will for their lives,especially when they are faced with a decision, such as which jobto take or whether to have another child. What is meant by God'swill? How does God act? What is the character of the God whosewill is expressed in and through our lives? This book answers thesequestions in relation to a broadly Christian perspective.

Based on the traditional premise that everything we assert aboutGod is metaphorical, this wonderfully written book presents arange of ways to imagine the nature of God and of God's powerand will: from a personal but distant God who is fully in chargeand in control, through more gentle and engaged images of God,and ultimately to a non-personal view of God as the energy forlife in the universe. Each perspective offers distinct images forGod and for the way in which God's will operates; each is assessedfor its strengths and weaknesses. With deep insight and clear,inspiring writing, Keshgegian ultimately offers a way to imagineGod and power that redefines the whole idea of God's will.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780800662547
Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
Publication date: 02/27/2008
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.25(d)

About the Author

Flora A. Keshgegian is a theologian and ordained Episcopal priest. Her book Time for Hope (Continuum) was awarded the 2005 Trinity Prize. She has taught at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, and Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Table of Contents

Preface     vii
Introduction: Seeking God's Will     1
When Bad Things Happen     2
God's Will for the World     4
"God Willing"     6
The Flow of the Book     8
God the Metaphor: Imaging God     11
How We Know and Imagine God     15
Metaphor and Language     18
The Metaphor of God's Will     22
Theology as Truth     24
Language for God     26
Lord and Master: God the All Powerful Monarch     29
God the Monarch     30
God in the Superlative     32
The Scope of God's Will     33
Freedom and Chance     36
Sin and Grace     37
God's Goodness and Love     38
God as Liberator     41
God as Magician     43
Prayer and Worship of the Lord and Master     44
The Strengths of This Metaphor     46
The Limitations of This Metaphor     47
Father Knows Best: God the Patriarch     51
Patriarchal Families     51
Patriarchal Households     54
God as Patriarch     56
God Creates and Orders     58
God Directsand Controls     59
God's Providence     60
God Judges and Punishes     61
God Is Merciful     63
Prayer to God the Patriarch     65
The Strengths of This Metaphor     66
The Limitations of This Metaphor     67
The Prodigal Son Revisited: God the Merciful Father     69
God's Mercy Reigns Supreme     70
Amazing Grace     73
Dependency     75
Compensatory Love     76
The Lengths to which God Will Go for Us     79
All that God Does for Us     81
Conforming Our Will to God's Own     82
The Strengths of This Metaphor     83
The Limitations of This Metaphor     84
Friendly Persuasion: God the Nurturing Parent     87
Biblical Sources     89
God Changes     91
In and through Relationship     94
God the Nurturing Parent     95
God as Teacher and Coach     100
A Spirit of Cooperation     101
The Strengths of This Metaphor     103
The Limitations of This Metaphor     104
Your Pain Is My Pain: God Suffers and Consoles     107
A Tale of Two Gods      109
A Tale of Two Persons of God     111
A Tale of Suffering: Is It One?     112
God Suffers with Us     113
God Is Compassion     117
Presence in Absence     119
The God Who Hears Our Cries     121
The Strengths of This Metaphor     122
The Limitations of This Metaphor     124
All Will Be Well     126
Power with Us: God in Relation     127
Enter the Web     129
God in Here     132
Panentheism     134
The Relational God     135
Reimagining Relation     136
God's Will in Relation     140
Relating to the God of Relation     141
The Strengths of This Metaphor     142
The Limitations of This Metaphor     144
Power in Us: God as Energy for Life     147
What Is Real     148
From Essence to Energy     151
Divine Energy rather than Will     154
Immanence and Transcendence     154
Beyond Moral Dualism     156
Energy as Power     158
Prayer and Worship     161
Metaphoric Play     164
The Strengths of This Metaphor      165
The Limitations of This Metaphor     167
Epilogue: For the Living: Reimaging God     169
Discernment     171
Cultural Context and Discernment     172
Prayer and Action     174
The Power of God and Our Power     175
Notes     177
For Further Reading     179
Index     183\

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