Welcome to the second UU Blog Carnival. I was really excited to see the number of people who wrote about the language we use when we talk about spirituality. I had envisioned this somewhat differently than it turned out. I expected that people would pick a word that either worked for them personally or didn’t and talk about their relationship with that word. What I got was a great many posts that looked at the relationship of language and theology on a much deeper level.
This was really great, y'all. I'm really moved at the number of people who rose to the challenge. (That said, a great many people DID rise to the challenge. Enough that it is possible I might have missed someone. Technorati hadn't heard of our tag, either. If I did miss you, please tell me and I will add you as soon as I can, which could be within hours if I'm having a slow day at work. Ditto for broken links or if you feel I didn't describe your post well. I did read all the posts, but I read them somewhat quickly.)
One of my examples to set people thinking was the idea that someone who'd had an unhappy childhood might be weird about the frequently used phrase "God the Father." SC Universalist starts us off with an interesting riff on a Universalist' conception of God, Great Parent!
I've had a hard time convincing Linguist Friend that blog posts aren't supposed to have references. Then Peregrinato comes along and writes a beautiful post, with, of course, references. His post nicely weaves the ideas of God first as a concept and then as a being with whom Peregrinato has a personal relationship. Naming God is really beautiful, thoughtful stuff.
The first sentence of The Blue Chalice's post on this subject made my jaw drop.
I have religious words that move me, but when I translate them to another language they no longer do.
Enrique tells the story of his spiritual development and talks about the words that move him and his desire to share the good news of Unitarian Universalism in Spanish. I hadn't been reading the Blue Chalice often, but the sincerity of Enrique's post really spoke to me. I will be reading his blog in the future. Can Unitarian Universalism be translated?
Sean Parker Dennison describes himself as a "sometimes poet," a phrase that made me smile with affection. His post about the power of language to express our judgment takes a different direction from a lot of the other posts. Language of Love and Reverence points out that language can build walls between people as easily as it can take them down.
I've known Joel Monka since beliefnet and he and I think alike on a lot of issues. So it's no real surprise that he took the approach I had initially envisioned and wrote about a single word and its personal meaning for him. Joel's word was "Thanks" and his post is My favorite word of reverence.
The Happy Feminist's post On being created in God's image has an evangelical commenter praising the concept of inherent worth and dignity in her comments. 'Nuff said.
Pamela Wood Browne shares my background as a liberal Christian and is now a mystic. I'm a humanist, but we both tend to talk about spirituality in terms like "faith-in-something-greater-than-myself." Her essay God Talk has a very poetic style unlike a lot of the writing you will see on the UU blogosphere. Good stuff.
If you haven't been reading Clyde Grubbs' blog recently, you are missing out. All summer, he has been writing really wonderful things (not that he wasn't good before, but I really feel like he's bringing his A game to blogging recently and I am delighted to be able to read in awe some of the things he's writing) and his post The language of reverence isn't just words is no exception. Thanks to LT for mentioning in the comments what the rap on the table meant. CC the word-focussed hadn't a clue.
At Stephanie's Blog Surviving the Workday, she writes about talking about God in feminine language and makes the interesting point that she prefers not to talk at all as she worships. Religious Language Among Us says good things about using feminine terminology for God. And it has a really cool illustration of God fighting a sea serpent. Cool, huh?
Jess worships through music and talks in her post Singing Language about the difference between "simple" hymns and "simplistic" ones. I'm going to have "Dona Nobis Pacem" in my head for a long time now.
Mama G at MomtotheLeft talks about how feminine language for God really doesn’t work for her, making the point that those who use it seem to be trying too hard to make a point. God the Mother? questions the wisdom of getting hung up on terminology.
Indrax writes God is a Metasyntactic Variable about how the word "God" is a short word that stands for a concept that lets us get around the concept of God to talk about greater abstractions. God as "X" in the Algebra that is life. I'm going to have to chew on that one awhile.
Miss Kitty's take on the subject really delighted me. I really like her writing style. She has a pleasing voice and ends this post in a way that had me looking at the screen in silence and thinking for a moment. She talked about being "religiously bilingual" and being pluralistic in our understanding and our capabilities. Speaking the Language of the Living Tradition is a lively and thoughtful post.
As a matter of housekeeping, I think the UU blog carnival needs a host for September and I really hope someone volunteers. Hosting is really fun, I promise. It's a lot like Writing Blog Reviews except you're not really supposed to say snarky things to the people who contribute. Still, it's a good time. Email CK if you're interested, or comment here and I'll pass the word along.
who has that squinty-eyed look common to carnies. But it could just be because she's tired.
Added: Returning's post God . . . Lord . . . Eternal . . . Spirit . . . Hey You . . . It's a thoughtful post that got great comments.