Mind Matters

by Rev. Robert H. Tucker

Number 188
May 17, 1999
(Reprint of the Mind Matters of February 26, 1996)


God is a Verb

Once, blood flowing in the streets, bodies hanging from limbs, and individuals languishing in dark and dank dungeons resulted from people holding unapproved theological opinions. No longer. Today, theology has become so dry in content and so unrelated to everyday life that even at ministers' gatherings the subject is avoided. A core reason for such avoidance came to me from a strange source-Buckminster Fuller.

Fuller wrote that God is "a verb not a noun." Precisely. As a language, static nouns and adjectives dominate the English language. with verbs trailing behind. In contrast, Hebrew and other Middle Eastern languages are verb-centered. Verbs are action. Verbs pull nouns into action, rather than visa versa

"Faith," as commonly used, is a mental and verbal affirmation, such as a 'statement of faith.' Faith, in biblical terms, is tied to actions based on convictions. One's faith is the way one moves into the future even when the future is uncertain and unknown. An entrepreneur starting a company, a couple getting married, a student off to college, and a person joining a church all are living by faith--not mental convictions but convictions-in-action. Each of us lives by faith every time we start the car and every time we enter into a new relationship. Religious faith is a willingness to risk moving into the future believing that God is present both in the act of moving and in the future that entices us. For example, we read that Abraham and Sarah "went out not knowing where they were going." That example of faith--a far cry from the static religious certainty that some seek and others demand--is what gets our blood moving and our feet dancing.

I am certain that my three years of graduate school gave me the ability, theologically, to run circles around Buckminster Fuller. Yet, it was this non-theologically trained person who had a far better grasp of the essential drama of theology than I did.

For God, to me, it seems
is a verb
not a noun,
proper or improper;
is the articulation
not the art
is loving
not the abstraction of love.
Yes, God is a verb,
the most active,
connoting the vast harmonic
reordering of the universe
from unleashed chaos of energy.

Buckminster Fuller built more than one home in which we humans can live.


--Robert H. Tucker
17 May 1999

© Robert H. Tucker, 1999.
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