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A Time for Silence: On Not Speaking About G--

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Thinkstock: NiseriN

If we can’t find a way to speak about G— without smuggling in our political, ideological, and general concerns, then it is time to be silent.

This article first appeared in the Spring/Summer 1999 issue of Spirituality & Health. "I am terrified by what passes among us in these days. Anyone who has barely begun to meditate, if he becomes conscious of words of this kind during his self-recollection, pronounces them forthwith to be the work of God; and convinced that they are so, goes about proclaiming, “God has told me this,” or “I have that answer from God.” But all this is illusion and fancy; such a one has only been speaking of himself. Besides, the desire for these words and the attention they give to them, end by persuading men that all the observations which they address to themselves are the responses of God." - St. John of the Cross, 16th-Century Christian Mystic I find myself increasingly reluctant to utter the great and ancient name, the capitalized noun that is above all other nouns. The cat’s got my theological tongue and won’t let me engage in G — talk. I haven’t become an atheist or anything like that. I still have a wavering trust in the Whence and Whither of Everything, in spite of my temptation to despair in th …

Sam Keen, whose Psychology Today conversations brought Joseph Campbell, Norman O. Brown, and other seminal thinkers to national attention, holds two M.A.s in theology from Harvard and a Princeton Ph.D. in philosophy. His books include the best-seller Fire in the Belly, Hymns to an Unknown God, and his most recent, Learning to Fly: Trapeze – Fear, Trust, and the Joy of Letting Go.


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