Home > Culture > Like catching water in a net: Human attempts to describe the Divine

Like catching water in a net: Human attempts to describe the Divine

Continuum RRP

Val Webb is a writer, teacher, artist, theologian and scientist who weaves knowledge and experience together as she encourages the reader to open themselves to a myriad of metaphors, symbols and images that reveal the Divine across cultures, religions and centuries. But this is far more than an historical journey. Like catching water in a net invites each one of us to re-image the Divine in ways which are relevant for our contemporary multi-faith contexts, as links and connections, similarities and commonalities in the ways in which God is imaged across religions are explored.

Writing from the ground of her own Christian faith, Webb acknowledges the magnitude of the task “how can one speak of the Divine when every word, every utterance, every picture, every expression falls pitifully short of the task.” Even so, speak she does, beginning with the challenge of “The GOD who is not…”

Webb’s conviction that the Divine Mystery defies description leads her to the claim that God cannot be limited to any one creed. Over and against this position she places the particular claim of Christianity: that this Divine Mystery has been embodied in all its essentialness, once and for all, in a human male form in one small part of the world. Webb proposes that we “hardly have enough information to form a complete image of Jesus, let alone GOD.”

She seeks to address the concern that many name as the reason they are no longer part of a worshipping community: that the God proclaimed from the pulpit is a stumbling block rather than an aid to belief because it asks them to leave their minds in an earlier time.

This book will appeal to those who long for our liturgy, preaching and speaking about God to be freed from (what they experience as) the confining, narrow and lifeless language of Father, King or Lord. It will appeal to people who long to embrace, within the Christian community, the richness of metaphorical language for God which is tied neither to human images nor the Christian story.

Like catching water in a net is an invitation to the journey, to the questions of life, and to the adventure of being fully alive.

Reviewed By Carol Bennett, Assistant General Secretary of the Uniting Church in Queensland