Note: this essay was recently published in “Western Friend,” under the title “The Oldest Question.” My thanks to editor Kathy Hyzy for the plug, and the arguably superior title.

For those of you who have already read this essay in Western Friend and are just joining us here, please feel free to look around and check out some of my older posts — in particular the post where I explain what the Generous Grasp is, or one of the pieces nearest to my heart, What Have You Done?

What name shall we call you?

The first term that comes to everyone’s lips is still “God.” It’s an old and respected name, been around for time out of mind, especially in its Latinate variations Deus/Dios/Dio/Dieu. But such an old name has been abused so many times, and made many enemies. After all, it alienates roughly half your children, and “Deus volt!” (“God wills it”) turned loose the Crusades. It is not a name we can lightly set aside, but it bears with it so much weight of cruelty, tyranny, and abuse — this name will always serve us, but always uneasily.

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