Tuesday, October 26, 2010

God as Lover

At Sacred Eros last night, we talked about language, and one of the topics we got onto was language for God. The facilitator mentioned America's Four Gods: What We Say about God--and What That Says about Us and the fact that one model that wasn't present was God as Lover.

One participant mentioned that she was raised Catholic and she thinks many of the greatest saints understood God as Lover. I was dubious/surprised and asked whom she would list. (In my head I thought, "Julian of Norwich? John Donne?")

She listed:
* St. Francis of Assisi
* St. Thérèse of Lisieux
* Thomas Aquinas (I might be remembering this one wrong -- could be another Thomas; edit: though another person has since confirmed his inclusion in this list)
* St. Catherine of Siena
* St. Faustina

The facilitator mentioned Milton.

In conversation today, bff listed:
* Gregory of Nyssa
* Teresa of Ávila

I'm now really curious whom else people might list -- and they don't have to be canonized saints (or even operating within the Christian tradition -- we discussed Sufi mystics a bit last night).

Feel free also to just discuss the concept of God as Lover -- historically, personally, whatever (bff and I discussed nuns as Brides of Christ, for example, which moved into discussion of women's sexuality and self-understandings thereof).

Edit: Running list of mentions by other people:
* Margery Kempe
* Hildegard of Bingen
* St. John of the Cross
* "My Beloved Is Mine and I Am His" by Francis Quarles
* St. Augustine
* Patti Smith
* Mechthild of Magdeburg
* Gertrud of Helfta
* Agnes Blannbekin
* Heinrich Seuse ("who is particularly interesting as one aspect of how he understands his relationship with Christ in terms of a knight serving a lady")
* the "Jesus is my boyfriend" subset of contemporary Christian music
* Robinson Jeffers's "Roan Stallion"

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