Beyond the label

It is said that when you tell a child the name of a bird he or she no longer sees the bird but only a sparrow, a thrush, a swan. Too often we never see beyond the label. And so it is with religion, with the result that for many the word ‘God’ gets in the way of the reality that lies behind the word. It comes with too much baggage, especially all the anthropomorphic images of God as an elderly gentleman with a long beard seated on a throne! As the great Dominican mystic, Meister Eckhart wrote, ‘God is no thing’.

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5 thoughts on “Beyond the label”

  1. Very true! I love the first sentence about the bird. Naming something gives us a kind of ownership, it is in our filing system, which helps us know and control our world. Knowing with the heart is wordless. I remember how reading Betty Edwards’ ‘Drawing on the right side of the brain’ taught me that in order to see what’s there, you have to quieten the left-side brain that tells you that it knows already and labels it with a word.

  2. I like Elizabeth Halls comment referring to Betty Edwards’ book. Betty also directed our attention to negative space that defined objects not simply by their outline but by the shapes round and beyond them, looking to find wider more inclusive relationships.
    No thing stands alone.

  3. Mark Tully
    What about Martin Buber, “Nothing is apt to mask the face of God so much as religion?” It’s the dedication of Harry Williams autobiography. Harry had to destroy his image of God to come out of the wilderness.

  4. What about Martin Buber, “Nothing is apt to mask the face of God so much as religion?” It’s the dedication of Harry Williams autobiography. Harry had to destroy his image of God to come out of the wilderness.

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