365 Names No More

2011.01.05
By

THOUGH IT MAY REINFORCE MY reputation as a non-finisher, I must suspend the 365 Names project.

It just doesn’t feel right to exploit God in the name of ratings.

Like any writer, I am obsessed with being read. If you blog for more than pleasure — for pleasure, yes, but also to Get Your Name Out There, to build a body of work and reinforce or spark a readership also pursued through more traditional publishing fora — freelance writing, say, or fiction — you will find yourself trying to drive traffic. Nothing wrong with that on the face of it, but I’d rather do that on my own merits and not drag the Source Of All Knowing into it.

So the 365 Names project had its genesis in seeing a bunch of other people with year-long projects and wanting to say, “Hey! Me too!” about something. And somehow, that feels wrong given the subject (Subject?) at hand. My intuition tells me that “God is not a fan club.” And if you can’t trust your intuition about God, who can you trust?

I did have fun gathering names, though. So it shouldn’t be a total loss, here they are — far short of 365, though — along with the advance copy I’d already written:

-=-=-=-=-=-

EL SHADDAI is the name used primarily by the Biblical Patriarchs. Scholars differ over whether “Shaddai” is cognate with similar Phoenician or Ugaritic words for mountains, breasts, or the act of sustaining. The last sense seems to best capture the context.

THE BELOVED is most commonly a Sufi term, but not exclusively so. The idea of God as Lover may be outre to some, but the connotation of passion and all-involvement is a powerful one for many mystics (including the author of the Biblical Song of Songs). Some say the challenge of living with the mysterious mind of a spouse is perfect training for living with the mysterious Mind of God.

DESIGN GROUP A friend of Ann’s brought us this term, which was then current among her med-school colleagues. It’s a great way for biology teachers to ride the line between Darwin and religious fundamentalism. Even works if you take Genesis 1:26 literally.

PROVIDENCE literally means “that which provides.” It’s a comfortable and comforting image; God as supplier of necessities. For some reason, it pops up a lot in turn-of-the-20th-Century literature. Perhaps it’s an Industrial Age thing.

THE FORCE is a non-anthropomorphic term, but to a purist like me, so is God. It could be argued that since the Force is created by all living beings, rather than the reverse (at least, the reverse from a mythic perspective) that it should not be included here. But according to dialog from the Star Wars films, the Force does have a particular will and is vital (puntended) for sustaining life. I think The Force is certainly Godlike to the degree that it warrants inclusion.

(Also: EL WAKAN TANKA NOT-TWO GRAND ARCHIECT/MASTERBUILDER ALMIGHTY THE POWER THAT MAKES FOR SALVATION REDEEMER ROCK THE MERCIFUL THE COMPASSIONATE ALLAH LOVE G-D THE ETERNAL is one of the substitute translations for YHVH THE LORD OUR FATHER BRAHMAN/ATMAN? THE HEALER SAVIOR HE WHO WALKS BEHIND THE ROWS LIGHT AIN SOF TAO CREATOR IT THE MYSTERY HASHEM DER AYBISHTER?? MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH LORD OF HOSTS KING KING OF KINGS JHVH-1 GODDESS ERU THE ONE THE VOID MAQOM AHURA MAZDA GREAT SPIRIT SUPREME BEING)

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Dear One, Close One, Inaccessible One — please grant us clarity before we fool lourselves into thinking we’re serving You.

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