Like Catching Water in a Net: Human Attempts to Describe the Divine
By: Val Webb (author)Hardback
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The recent spate of God bashers - Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris - have received their own thumping in the secular press, most notably Dawkins in "Harper's", the "London Review of Books", and the "New York Review of Books". Yet there are very few books on the God phenomenon that one would confidently entrust into the hands of readers who would be hard pressed to describe themselves as either true believers or "cultured despisers of religion". But Val Webb's "Like Catching Water in a Net" is such a book. Like Karen Armstrong in "The History of God" or Jack Miles in "God: A Biography", Webb is not out to prove the existence of a God or the Divine, but to set out intuitions or intimations of the Divine nature and attributes from the stories and poems of the world's religions.Casting her net more widely than Armstrong or Miles, Webb delves deeply into the poetry and sayings of Sufi, Buddhist and Hindu mystics. A microbiologist by early training, she is attuned to the nature religion of the ancient Mesopotamians, their kin the Israelites, and the Aboriginal people of her own beloved Australia.
Raised in the Christian fundamentalist tradition, she poses a critical challenge to the ways in which Christianity has straitjacketed our Western notions of the Divine, here aligning herself with modern "mystics" like William James, Leo Tolstoy and Florence Nightingale. In the final chapter, she shows how the process theology of Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshore, and their contemporary followers, is highly compatible with so many of the traditional notions about God surveyed in the book.
Val Webb is a university lecturer in religion, with a graduate degree in science, a Ph.D. in theology and a passion for encouraging lay people of all faiths, and none, to think critically. She is the author of 7 books, most recently, Florence Nightingale: The Making of a Radical Theologian. Her book John's Message: Good News for the New Millennium was commissioned by the World Methodist Council. Dividing her time between the U.S. and Australia, she teaches every year at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Whitley College in Melbourne.
Introduction: Divine Sounds and Smell; 1. Is Something Out There?; 2. Metaphorically Speaking; 3. The God Who Is Not; 4. To Be or Not to Be?; 5. What's in a Name?; 6. A God for all Reasons and Seasons; 7. Feathers on the Breath of God; 8. Spirit of the World; 9. Nature Speaks; 10. God Is Like...; 11. The Power of the One; 12. Imago Dei; 13. In the Family Way; 14. "Whom Do You Say I Am?"; 15. "The Bible Tells Me So"; 16. "What Is Truth?".
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- ID: 9780826428912
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