(9.40) You & God: Theophany


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From the desk of Rabbi Brian

You & God: Theophany

The word “theophany” comes from the
Greek words Theo (“God”) and phainein (“to show oneself”). Theophany
means an appearance of or revelation by God. Theophany is related to
the word “epiphany” which literally (and similarly) means a
manifestation of God but has come to mean a leap in understanding.
premier and classic example of a theophany is the encounter Moses had
with the burning bush as recorded in Exodus 3 in the Bible.
don’t know anyone for whom God has appeared so clearly. And, I doubt
that you either know anyone for whom this has happened or that you have
had this type of experience yourself.
And, although people
constantly hope to see a miracle that will give them the answers and
direction they’re searching for – it hardly ever works that way. (The)
God (of your understanding) is not going to break character with your
understanding of God – otherwise, (the) God (of your understanding)
wouldn’t be the God of your understanding.
For example, if you don’t
believe that God would or could speak to you out of flaming shrubbery,
you probably won’t experience that type of theophany.
So, if
(the) God (of your understanding) wouldn’t alter reality in a dramatic
way to give you messages, how might this communication occur?

That’s the big question.
people, when they don’t get revelation in a way they assume they
should, substitute a reliable authority’s notion of what God wants from
them. (And there is nothing wrong with that – that is why we hire and
respect experts.) There are plenty of organized religious traditions
that espouse beautiful notions of what it is that God wants. (For
example, in the Bible, in Micah 6:8, the answer of what it is that God
wants is summarized as, “Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly
with your God.”)
Another opinion regarding the apparent lack of
God revelation of God’s self in a burning bush is to assume that God
doesn’t mean to or care to make contact.
I don’t think that’s the case.
Wonderful other options exist.
And that’s what this newsletter is for – helping you as an adult find and be with (the) God (of your understanding).
This week’s spiritual-religious advice: think more about what (the) God (of your understanding) wants from you.

With love,

Rabbi Brian

Rabbi Brian

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