What I Can’t Quite Name

Do you believe in the ineffable? Do you think every experience that humans have can be expressed in words? Can we have an awareness of something that transcends ideas and the language we use to express them?

I often sense something that is just beyond my ability to grasp, perhaps something at once subterranean and transcendent. This something has to do with God, and his deep connection to me and to all of us, and this something is related to the incarnation of God in Jesus. The image I have is of a hand reaching down into the unspeakable depths, to the taproot of our collective disorder, and seizing us. In this place a word is spoken that I cannot hear. And yet, I feel its presence, but as fleeting glimpse.

6 Responses to “What I Can’t Quite Name”

  1. Roger Green  

    well, yes. and if one does not, then having a conversation with that person about God tends to be almost always futile.

  2. Simon Jones  

    Okay, this is probably going to sound weird but I can believe in God and the things unseen of our world because of trees!

    I know, I know, I sound like a sandal wearing tree hugging hippy, but just wait a moment before you write off my response as another somewhere-out-there response from Simon.

    I’ve lived with a stonking great bog tree outside my window at almost every place I’ve lived. However, the places where I haven’t had the good fortune to have a big tree outside my window have been unhappy places. I used to think this was all just down to the fact that it’s nice to see trees, right. But then I read an article in some magazine that said that people who are recovering in hospital recover faster when they can see trees from their windows and that crime is greatly reduced in places that have trees along the street and such. Scientists can’t really answer why these and other strange things happen around trees, but they just do. So you see, as silly as it might sound to those theologicalists like Anthony & Co, trees are an example to me that there are things outside of our understanding, beyond our means, and inexpressible by our language.

    Now if you’ll excuse me I must put on my sandals and go to hug the tree outside 🙂

  3. Anthony Velez  

    Simon – You are merely remaining true the roots of your people, insofar as somewhere in English stock are the Celts, among whom were the Druids, who were a priestly/scholarly/judicial class of people who were animistic and thus who believed that the divine was present in nature. They were particularly known for their veneration of sacred trees.

    From a Xian framework, there is the idea that the power of God’s calling forth of creation can be spiritually sensed in the things of creation, and particularly in nature. So, in a sense God is present in creation, not in his essence, but in his energy through which “we live move and have our being.”

    I remember one time cruising around under a big full moon, and being struck by a feeling that I was looking at an act of creation, that in the moon I was seeing the divine word that was active in the process of bring forth the heavenly bodies, the lesser lights of night.

  4. Anthony Velez  

    Roger – I just wanted to affirm your essentially fideistic comment. I am reminded of the notion that the stain glass is made for those inside the Church and that you don’t get its beauty by standing on the outside analyzing it.

  5. K.L.B.  

    My first response was rather long-winded, and perhaps I’ll “dump” it on you in response to something you’ve written, albeit sometime later.

    But shall I tease you, and the other readers?

    I shall.

    It’s about numbers and God. And that’s all I reveal for now.

    In response to your questions, I answer yes, yes and yes.

    Perhaps also, you may be aware that to religious Jews, the “Ineffable Name” refers to YHVH.

    Often, however, words fail us… now, don’t they?

    I recall writing something… well, here it is.

    “I wish you could feel my heart. Then, I wouldn’t have to talk with these crippled words, these feeble letters that cannot express how I feel.”

  6. K.L.B.  

    I made a typo in my previous response, earlier. My answers should have been “yes,” “no,” and “yes,” to your opening questions.

    Thank you for the opportunity to correct this minor faux pas.