Compared to a number of Christchurch residents (and to many, many more Japanese residents) I have the luxury of being able to lift my head above immediate concerns of water, toileting, and power (a large part of power restored Christchurch are nevertheless being asked to conserve power). In that luxury is some space to quietly think. One part of my thinking is about God and the understanding of God which is coming through many different forms of communication through these weeks of grappling with the enormity of nature's destructive power here and in Japan. To an extent I touched on this a few weeks ago by raising the question of 'theodicy.' But right now I am trying to think more directly about God. Who is God? How do we know God and what God is up to in relation to the world as a whole and to me and my loved ones as particular parts of the whole? What does 'know' mean in the previous question (can I know God? How would I know that I know God?)? Then, when I try to speak about God (witness) or speak to God (praise and prayer), what do I say which is truthful of God (the infinite) and understandable for humans (the finite)?
Although my dissatisfaction is a response to some of what I am hearing and reading in these days of locally and globally getting to grips with nature's devastation, I think my dissatisfaction is about my own understanding of God, in which there are too many half-baked ideas such as when things work well God is working in my life (obviously!) and when things are not working well then God's ways are inscrutable (obviously!) ... which seems contradictory. My dissatisfaction leads to questions, but I do not feel I have answers (my soundbites are better than yours ... not)!
Then there is an even vaguer feeling that if I took my own questions seriously they would lead to a need to do some very extensive reading ... Augustine, Calvin immediately spring to mind. But the Psalms would be on the reading list too.
In theology (which is 'talk about God') our doctrine of God is huge. Get that wrong and everything else is wrong.
Or, is all well?