God is here Reimagining the Divine

Toba Spitzer

Book - 2022

"Toba Spitzer's God Is Here is a thoughtful exploration of the idea of God and how we can reconsider the deity through metaphors and daily practices."--

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296.311/Spitzer
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2nd Floor New Shelf 296.311/Spitzer (NEW SHELF) Due Jul 14, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Religious materials
Published
New York : St. Martin's Essentials 2022.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
290 pages ; 20 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN
9781250764492
1250764491
Main Author
Toba Spitzer (author)
  • Metaphorically speaking
  • The God metaphor
  • Drinking from God
  • How awesome is this place
  • If you truly listen
  • Rock of my heart
  • The God-cloud
  • Holy fire
  • Becoming
  • The material world
  • The End and the Beginning.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Massachusetts rabbi Spitzer offers a deceptively simple approach to finding the spiritual in everyday life. While she founds much of her insight on the the first five books of the Hebrew Bible as well as on Talmudic learnings from sages, and sprinkles myriad Hebrew terms and definitions throughout, Spitzer makes it clear that her writings are non-ecumenical, applicable to any human searching for a higher spirit as a life guide. She makes use of metaphor, explaining that beings make sense of reality and the world through metaphor and that religion, in turn, offers a viewpoint of the world and formulates truths about it through these metaphors. Spirituality, Spitzer insists, is about how we act and who we are—the key to her exposition. The rest of her thoughts center on nine metaphors: God, water, a sense of place, sound/silence, rock (shelter/refuge), clouds, fire, becoming, and the material world. Sound, for instance, is a way to connect. A handful of exercises demonstrating her precepts follow every chapter—for sound, her examples are being alone with yourself, listening, and experiencing silence. Poetic and thought provoking, Spitzer's good, wise counsel for forging a meaningful life describes a faith anyone can believe in. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Massachusetts rabbi Spitzer offers a deceptively simple approach to finding the spiritual in everyday life. While she founds much of her insight on the the first five books of the Hebrew Bible as well as on Talmudic learnings from sages, and sprinkles myriad Hebrew terms and definitions throughout, Spitzer makes it clear that her writings are non-ecumenical, applicable to any human searching for a higher spirit as a life guide. She makes use of metaphor, explaining that beings make sense of reality and the world through metaphor and that religion, in turn, offers a viewpoint of the world and formulates truths about it through these metaphors. Spirituality, Spitzer insists, is about how we act and who we are—the key to her exposition. The rest of her thoughts center on nine metaphors: God, water, a sense of place, sound/silence, rock (shelter/refuge), clouds, fire, becoming, and the material world. Sound, for instance, is a way to connect. A handful of exercises demonstrating her precepts follow every chapter—for sound, her examples are being alone with yourself, listening, and experiencing silence. Poetic and thought provoking, Spitzer's good, wise counsel for forging a meaningful life describes a faith anyone can believe in. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Spitzer, a congregational rabbi, examines metaphors and broadens popular conceptions of God in her uneven debut. She notes that many find the traditional notion of God as "Someone or Something that we're told is both all-powerful and all-good" difficult to reconcile with the existence of evil and suffering. In response, the author proffers several metaphors for God—including rock, water, voice, fire, cloud, and electricity—intended to expand how one thinks about God and appeal to those turned off by conventional understandings of a higher power. In unpacking scriptural comparisons of God, Spitzer reveals, for instance, how a reference to God as the "Rock of Ages" highlights God's eternal nature, and "Fount of Living Waters" speaks to God's capacity to provide spiritual sustenance. The author also weaves in less expected sources, including Black American civil rights history and personal anecdotes such as her father's kayaking obsession and the death of her partner due to cancer. Despite ostensibly writing for those troubled by theodicy, Spitzer offers little to address that paradox, and the platitudes she does offer ("We can never really predict the future") fall flat. Though wide-ranging and imaginative, this doesn't live up to its own ambitious goals. (Mar.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Spitzer, a congregational rabbi, examines metaphors and broadens popular conceptions of God in her uneven debut. She notes that many find the traditional notion of God as "Someone or Something that we're told is both all-powerful and all-good" difficult to reconcile with the existence of evil and suffering. In response, the author proffers several metaphors for God—including rock, water, voice, fire, cloud, and electricity—intended to expand how one thinks about God and appeal to those turned off by conventional understandings of a higher power. In unpacking scriptural comparisons of God, Spitzer reveals, for instance, how a reference to God as the "Rock of Ages" highlights God's eternal nature, and "Fount of Living Waters" speaks to God's capacity to provide spiritual sustenance. The author also weaves in less expected sources, including Black American civil rights history and personal anecdotes such as her father's kayaking obsession and the death of her partner due to cancer. Despite ostensibly writing for those troubled by theodicy, Spitzer offers little to address that paradox, and the platitudes she does offer ("We can never really predict the future") fall flat. Though wide-ranging and imaginative, this doesn't live up to its own ambitious goals. (Mar.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"Toba Spitzer's God Is Here is a transformative exploration of the idea of God, offering new paths to experiencing the realm of the sacred. Most of us are hungry for a system of meaning to make sense of our lives, yet traditional religion too often leaves those seeking spiritual sustenance unsatisfied. Rabbi Toba Spitzer understands this problem firsthand, and knows that too often it is traditional ideas of the deity-he's too big, too impersonal, and too unbelievable-that get in the way. In God Is Here, Spitzer argues that whether we believe in God or fervently disbelieve, what we are actually disagreeing about is not God at all, but a metaphor of a Big Powerful Person that limits our understanding and our spiritual lives. Going back to the earliest sources for Judaism as well as Christianity, Spitzer discovers in the Hebrew Bible a rich and varied palette of metaphors for the divine-including Water, Voice, Fire, Rock, Cloud, and even the process of Becoming. She addresses how we can access these ancientmetaphors, as well as those drawn from rabbinic tradition and modern science, to experience holiness in our daily lives and to guide us in challenging times. In the section on water, for instance, she looks at the myriad ways water flows through the Biblical stories of the Israelites and emerges as a powerful metaphor for the divine in the Prophets and Psalms. She invites us to explore what it might mean to "drink from God," or to experience godly justice as something that "rains down" and "flows like a river." Each chapter contains insights from the Bible and teachings from Judaism and other spiritual traditions, accompanied by suggestions for practice to bring alive each of the God metaphors. Rabbi Toba Spitzer has helped many people satisfy their spiritual hunger. With God Is Here she will inspire you to find new and perhaps surprising ways of encountering the divine, right where you are"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Toba Spitzer's God Is Here is a transformative exploration of the idea of God, offering new paths to experiencing the realm of the sacred.Most of us are hungry for a system of meaning to make sense of our lives, yet traditional religion too often leaves those seeking spiritual sustenance unsatisfied. Rabbi Toba Spitzer understands this problem firsthand, and knows that too often it is traditional ideas of the deity—he's too big, too impersonal, and too unbelievable—that get in the way. In God Is Here, Spitzer argues that whether we believe in God or fervently disbelieve, what we are actually disagreeing about is not God at all, but a metaphor of a Big Powerful Person that limits our understanding and our spiritual lives.Going back to the earliest sources for Judaism as well as Christianity, Spitzer discovers in the Hebrew Bible a rich and varied palette of metaphors for the divine—including Water, Voice, Fire, Rock, Cloud, and even the process of Becoming. She addresses how we can access these ancient metaphors, as well as those drawn from rabbinic tradition and modern science, to experience holiness in our daily lives and to guide us in challenging times. In the section on water, for instance, she looks at the myriad ways water flows through the Biblical stories of the Israelites and emerges as a powerful metaphor for the divine in the Prophets and Psalms. She invites us to explore what it might mean to “drink from God,” or to experience godly justice as something that “rains down” and “flows like a river.”Each chapter contains insights from the Bible and teachings from Judaism and other spiritual traditions, accompanied by suggestions for practice to bring alive each of the God metaphors. Rabbi Toba Spitzer has helped many people satisfy their spiritual hunger. With God Is Here she will inspire you to find new and perhaps surprising ways of encountering the divine, right where you are.