9) I feel closest to God when… I’m actually spending intentional time in spiritual disciplines. And when I’m writing.
10) My earliest experiences and memories of church are… The church in Missouri. Sunday school, Wednesday nights. Also visiting other churches with my parents.
11) My more recent experiences of church are… I’ve written about them. A friend posted a link on that ubiquitous social networking site that was an open letter for churches about visitors. While I fully understood what the writer was saying, I think visiting churches is just hard. When I was visiting churches, smaller churches were better about visitors (because you were obvious), but visiting is just tough. Breaking in anywhere that has established rituals is hard. I think our church (read, our pastor) does a better job than many of explaining what is happening and what one might/should do, but there are still iffy moments for visitors as I was reminded when my mom and her friend met us at church last week. Anyway… I really love our church services and I feel like I miss out when I’m gone and that’s a pretty new thing for me. I have loved church before, but not so much the worship service.
12) My favorite images of or names for God are… I don’t think in images, so I don’t really have an image of God. There is no “grandfather in the sky” image to get over or anything like that. I kind of love the discussion of images of Jesus in Talladega Nights (This is a Will Ferrel movie, so it’s a little salty, but there’s something there. I recommend stopping when the prayer is over).
Names for God I’ve been thinking about a lot. I grew up with “Father” and “Lord” and that’s about it. I don’t know that there is anything inherently wrong with either designation when one is not limited to them, though they might be problematic for some individuals. I like God of ____. God of Life, God of Love, God of Joy, God of Hope, etc. It’s a way I can meet God where I am and, I hope, move toward God. But mostly, right now, I hold on to the very simple designation, Holy One.