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God the What?: What Our Metaphors for God Reveal about Our Beliefs in God Paperback


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God the What?: What Our Metaphors for God Reveal about Our Beliefs in God + Seeds of Faith: Practices to Grow a Healthy Spiritual Life
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 162 pages
  • Publisher: Skylight Paths Publishing; Quality Paperback Ed edition (October 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594732515
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594732515
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,176,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Carolyn Jane Bohler is lead pastor at First United Methodist Church in Redlands, California, and former senior pastor at Aldersgate United Methodist Church is Tustin, California. For twenty-one years she was the Emma Sanborn Toussaint Professor of Pastoral Theology and Counseling at United Theological Seminary (Dayton, Ohio), and has also served as editor of the Journal of Pastoral Theology. She is author of Opening to God: Guided Imagery Meditations on Scripture and Prayer on Wings: A Search for Authentic Prayer.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Maxwell Grant on May 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are looking for theology in an genuinely exploratory mode, this is a great book.

Bohler focuses on some of the metaphors we do (or might) use to understand God, rather than on some set of metaphors we "ought" to use. Thus, while there is some attention to the old, familiar images, such as Father, Rock, Divine Potter, etc., the author's deepest and most interesting thinking is in developing new ones: God the Bright Night Light, the Nursing Mother, the Jazz band leader, and as a coach (to name just a few).

There is an ENORMOUSLY helpful checklist in the appendix for individuals or groups to use as a way of clarifying their own metaphors and the theology behind them -- and it asks how strongly you believe each one, which is a significant addition that spurs a lot of discussion.

The checklist alone would be worth the price of the book for the busy pastor or harried group leader scrounging for resources at the last minute.

For more conservative or traditional types, I suspect this may be a bad fit (although I say that as a progressive). God as Divine Mother has to be o.k. for you. (Though the book itself would try to get you thinking about why you have such a stake in one gender over the other. A good question...but not everyone's cup of tea.)

As a way of doing theology, the book's emphasis is squarely on helping people find language for how they're seeing and experiencing God now -- it's based on an inductive, relational, process-oriented way of thinking and shies away from definitive answers.

I'm currently using it for a confirmation class and we've all loved it.

My students feel like they're getting permission to talk about the God they know, and not marching orders about the God they're supposed to believe in.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William W. Zeitler on October 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
If we're talking about God, we HAVE to use metaphors. This book explores various metaphorical ways of trying to understand God, which only helps you be conscious of the metaphors--and the possibly LIMITING metaphors--we use to think about the nature of God.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J Martin Jellinek on March 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
Metaphors are like keys that open our minds to new understandings in insights. This is particularly true when we are dealing with God since man has never been able to directly see or comprehend God. In God the What?, author Bohler makes a very strong case for the importance of metaphor in our discussion about God. How we visualize and talk about the divine greatly influences how we relate to God. The conversations that she inspires are extremely important and open the reader's conscience to new concepts and visions of God. This is an excellent, well written book for anyone who is willing to ask questions and search for answers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Geoff Moran on February 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
Lively and engaging throughout, Carolyn Bohler draws from her life as a seminary professor, a pastor and a mother to give us hundreds of ways to think about God. This is an excellent read for inidividuals and a easy-to-use resource for pastors or small group leaders in churches. Indices of scriptures and metaphors are provided as well as discussion guides and reflective questions. As Prof. John Cobb says, "No book can be more helpful than this in guiding pastors and lay people to come to greater clarity about what they really believe about God."
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