Talking about god has never been easy. Augustine, an early Christian theologian, claimed that all our language about God is like babies babbling. The Dominican theologian Thomas Aquinas said everything he had written was “straw.” And the Jewish dictum that we should not even pronounce God’s name certainly has not made the task easier.

In our present community, conversations about God are further complicated by the fact that increasing numbers of people — including spiritual people — resist the idea of God. This ambivalence was reflected in Tikkun’s cautious invitation to write about what “takes the place of what used to be called God.”

Who is the God that we do not believe in? One problem with God-talk is that the conversational partners often assume that everyone means the same thing by the word “God”: the “guy in the sky,” or some more or less nuanced version of...

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