Author Topic: feedback requested: How do you experience God?  (Read 2131 times)

John, an Unlikely Pastor

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feedback requested: How do you experience God?
« on: January 17, 2013, 04:42:34 PM »
We're working in Fairmont, Minnesota toward a shared Lenten Series entitled Come to Your Senses: A Lenten Journey with God.
A possible theme verse is, The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 NIV
I'm wondering how other people experience God through all five senses. I am most curious about the way you sense God in tangible ways through touch, taste, sight, hearing, and smell. <
What has been your experience: How do you sense God?
What stories are you aware of that explore an experience of God's presence?
I am also very curious what scripture you point to as you explain experiences of God's tangible--incarnate--activity in the world.
thanks for your input. Pax, John.
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Dadoo

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Re: feedback requested: How do you experience God?
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2013, 05:05:36 PM »
We're working in Fairmont, Minnesota toward a shared Lenten Series entitled Come to Your Senses: A Lenten Journey with God.
A possible theme verse is, The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 NIV
I'm wondering how other people experience God through all five senses. I am most curious about the way you sense God in tangible ways through touch, taste, sight, hearing, and smell. <
What has been your experience: How do you sense God?
What stories are you aware of that explore an experience of God's presence?
I am also very curious what scripture you point to as you explain experiences of God's tangible--incarnate--activity in the world.
thanks for your input. Pax, John.

I experience God in ever so many ways, John, but I am never sure it is God. BUT, you and I would certainly agree that there are instances involving bread and wine and water that are 100% true, physical encounters with the risen Jesus Christ, the Son. If I had a choice what to preach on in that series, I would go after the sacraments.
Peter Kruse

Diversity and tolerance are very complex concepts. Rigid conformity is needed to ensure their full realization. - Mike Adams

John, an Unlikely Pastor

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Re: feedback requested: How do you experience God?
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2013, 05:15:59 PM »
I experience God in ever so many ways, John, but I am never sure it is God. BUT, you and I would certainly agree that there are instances involving bread and wine and water that are 100% true, physical encounters with the risen Jesus Christ, the Son. If I had a choice what to preach on in that series, I would go after the sacraments.
You are so right about the uncertainty if we are 100% for sure of our experiences of God being God beyond the Word and Sacraments where we know by faith that it is God and no other.  I certainly do see your point about the sacraments as a key point of tangibly experiencing God.
In my Roman Catholic childhood we often sang a song based on Psalm 34:8 "Taste and see the goodness of the Lord" on the way to commune.  It's no accident that Christ offers himself to us so tangibly.
thanks for the thoughts and any others you might care to share.
Pax, John
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Johan Bergfest

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Re: feedback requested: How do you experience God?
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2013, 05:26:16 PM »
I agree that we tangibly experience Christ in the Sacraments.

I also believe that we are called to see the face of Christ in the face of our neighbors - especially neighbors in need of our love.  It would be a bit sanctimonious to suggest that we experience Christ, ourselves, when we act on opportunities to love our neighbor.  However, I think we experience Christ in our awareness of genuine acts of kindness by others.

John, an Unlikely Pastor

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Re: feedback requested: How do you experience God?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2013, 05:32:28 PM »
It would be a bit sanctimonious to suggest that we experience Christ, ourselves, when we act on opportunities to love our neighbor.  However, I think we experience Christ in our awareness of genuine acts of kindness by others.
Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46 really lays out a case that serving our neighbors is tangibly serving him--but I guess that's no guarantee that we will recognize Jesus there in our neighbors in need.  It is clear thought that we are serving him by helping.
thanks for the thoughts or any others you might have to offer, John
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Michael Slusser

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Re: feedback requested: How do you experience God?
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2013, 05:50:21 PM »
I am also very curious what scripture you point to as you explain experiences of God's tangible--incarnate--activity in the world.
thanks for your input. Pax, John.

That sounds like a premise for a great Lenten program!

I believe that you can find excellent scriptures for each of the five senses, including for some of them cautionary texts appropriate to a penitential season. If you go six weeks, there are texts on what is beyond our senses, perhaps starting with 1 Cor. 2.9-10.

Touch, for instance: Mark 7.32-34 and other texts where Jesus lays his hands upon them and they are healed; Mark 5:30 and parallels on healing by contact with the fringe of Jesus' cloak; and for a surprise, 2 Kings 13.20-21.

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

John, an Unlikely Pastor

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Re: feedback requested: How do you experience God?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2013, 05:57:02 PM »
I believe that you can find excellent scriptures for each of the five senses, including for some of them cautionary texts appropriate to a penitential season. If you go six weeks, there are texts on what is beyond our senses, perhaps starting with 1 Cor. 2.9-10.

Touch, for instance: Mark 7.32-34 and other texts where Jesus lays his hands upon them and they are healed; Mark 5:30 and parallels on healing by contact with the fringe of Jesus' cloak; and for a surprise, 2 Kings 13.20-21.
Father--
thanks for the insight.  We only have 5 weeks with Ash Wednesday being Ash Wednesday--but I definitely like the idea of faith allowing us to know of something beyond human senses.  that's a great point
pax, John
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readselerttoo

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Re: feedback requested: How do you experience God?
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2013, 06:02:56 PM »
I hesitate to talk about experiences of God in the world because outside of the Scriptures and the place where Jesus' promises to be, one can be duped into believing that God is there when it is the devil.  Even the devil quotes the Scriptures as the temptation story makes clear. 

In terms of tangibility, don't you thing it is enough to hear Jesus speak his Word to you by means of the Gospel (ie.  Jesus says, red letter words) or in the Sacraments where his Word is connected to tangible things?

And the sheep and goats in Matthew 25 passage don't "see" Jesus when doing or not doing things to the neighbor.  So the tangibility option isn't even an option for sheep or goats in that matter.  It is seen by Jesus (and the Father) but not by the agents.

John, an Unlikely Pastor

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Re: feedback requested: How do you experience God?
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2013, 06:08:48 PM »
the sheep and goats in Matthew 25 passage don't "see" Jesus when doing or not doing things to the neighbor.  So the tangibility option isn't even an option for sheep or goats in that matter.  It is seen by Jesus (and the Father) but not by the agents.
You make a very good point about the people who served Christ in Matthew 25 being unaware of their service; but in no way is in not tangible to feed, house, or clothe those in need.  Mysterious how this works -- Jesus says when we feed the hungry we feed him -- but we don't see him there when we prepare and serve the food, we just see the neighbor in need.
thanks for the solid and constructive input peace, John
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Charles_Austin

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Re: feedback requested: How do you experience God?
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2013, 06:16:57 PM »
Pastor Rahn writes:
I hesitate to talk about experiences of God in the world because outside of the Scriptures and the place where Jesus' promises to be, one can be duped into believing that God is there when it is the devil.  Even the devil quotes the Scriptures as the temptation story makes clear. 
I comment:
And if this leads us into quietism about our experiences of God because we fear we might be wrong; that is not a good thing.

Pastor Rahn writes:
In terms of tangibility, don't you thing it is enough to hear Jesus speak his Word to you by means of the Gospel (ie.  Jesus says, red letter words) or in the Sacraments where his Word is connected to tangible things?
I comment:
Maybe for me. (But not really.) And for those on the margins of the church, or with bad experiences with the church; not only is what you mention not enough, it isn't anything at all.

John, an Unlikely Pastor

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Re: feedback requested: How do you experience God?
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2013, 06:22:49 PM »
And for those on the margins of the church, or with bad experiences with the church; not only is what you mention not enough, it isn't anything at all.
Charles--thanks for the thoughts
I posted these same words with the same title on Newsvine http://unlikelybanter.newsvine.com/_news/2013/01/17/16570207-feedback-requested-how-do-you-experience-god
so far two atheist have come along to say they have had no experience of God.  I replied to both naming some of the experiences that I've seen of God at work.  So far no reply--but I think you have a point that's worth considering as we prepare for this series.  Some will deny that God works through a church that harms others.  Some will equate the church that harms others with God and just want to run in the other direction.  So the challenge to "come to your senses" for an atheist is very real--
thanks and peace to you, John
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Charles_Austin

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Re: feedback requested: How do you experience God?
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2013, 06:40:44 PM »
One of the things I have always thought, John, is that we are to be like Paul and that shrine to the "unknown god." When people sense the transcendent or have those "spiritual" experiences, we should not be quick to deny those experiences, but suggest where those experiences are truly pointing. Then we help them "into" that which is Gospel, that which is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, rather than first taking those things (and our own ways of experiencing Gospel and the Holy Trinity) to them.

John, an Unlikely Pastor

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Re: feedback requested: How do you experience God?
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2013, 06:50:47 PM »
One of the things I have always thought, John, is that we are to be like Paul and that shrine to the "unknown god." When people sense the transcendent or have those "spiritual" experiences, we should not be quick to deny those experiences, but suggest where those experiences are truly pointing. Then we help them "into" that which is Gospel, that which is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, rather than first taking those things (and our own ways of experiencing Gospel and the Holy Trinity) to them.
I am now collecting atheist comments on Newsvine.  up to 6 atheists now
Great point and great scripture to tie it together. 
thanks, John
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J. Eriksson

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Re: feedback requested: How do you experience God?
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2013, 08:50:27 PM »
Briefly:

1. In encountering/thinking about/ musing on the fact that He has created me and all that exists given me my body and soul, home and family etc. things to do like shovel snow, listen to music, discover new things, waste time
2. In the wonder of being forgiven and knowing that I am forgiven very often when I screw up in big and small ways. and when I do waste time.
3. In worship...
4. In dealing with /interacting with people I am called to love....but possibly do not like.

best
james
I'm not a pastor.  Please don't call me one.

Charles_Austin

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Re: feedback requested: How do you experience God?
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2013, 09:07:52 PM »
Two "experiences" of God.
1. The library of Rosary College (now Dominican University), River Forest, Illinois. The nuns can be heard singing Vespers from the chapel down the hall. I am reading through Paul Tillich, struggling as a young seminarian with the intricacies of systematic theology. But somehow in that setting of sight and sound and mind, I realize what a glorious and mystical and wondrous discipline I have chosen when I entered seminary.

2. Zermatt, Switzerland, a bright, sunny day in February, the Matterhorn clearly visible. My son and I exit the Gornergrat train and put on our skis. As we begin one of the most spectacular days of skiing ever, in that incredibly beautiful setting, I have a sense of the wonder, beauty and glory of creation that has trumped almost every other "spiritual" moment in my life. Something of that moment returned when I was again in Zermatt two summers ago. It wasn't ski season; but surrounded by the majesty of the alps, there was "something" transcendent.