Call It Forth

Ultimately, it isn’t really about the words at all. Rev. Davidson Loehr tells a story about a worship class in graduate school, when he was a part of a group of Unitarian and Christian students who had the assignment to create a worship service together. They spent quite a bit of time arguing about words, about how to address the focus of their worship. The Unitarians objected when the Christians wanted to pray to Jesus or to God. The Christians backed off when the Unitarians suggested maybe God and Goddess. The conversation went around and around.

Finally, their professor intervened. Loehr writes:

He glared at us: “And the only thing you have been able to agree on is that you would like the Spirit to be a part of your worship service?”
Yes, we all stammered: “But we don’t know what to call it.”
Still the stern father, he shot us a punishing glance and said three words: “Call it forth!” “Call it forth!” No matter what you choose to call it, he explained, call it forth. Because unless you can call forth the quality of spirit that is rightfully called holy, you don’t have a chance of staging a worship service anyway.

 It is not enough to ask, do you believe in God or not? It is not enough to ask, what do you believe about God? Rather we must ask, what God do you want to call forth into the world? What you call it isn’t so important. Use the word Mystery, or energy or power if you wish. What energy do you want to call forth into the world? What power do you want to call forth into the world?


Despite the transformations I experienced as I wrestled with the images of God and Goddess, I realized that there was a thread running through it that stayed the same: an experience of the power of love. At some point in my life, I realized I wanted to call forth the power of that love into the world.

The words and images we use to describe what we believe and experience are less important than living our faith to the fullest, testing it in practice, calling it forth into our community, for the benefit of all. When we live our faith to the fullest, then the real God will stand up in our midst.

And so I will ask you to consider: what kind of power will you call forth into the world? What do you hold in your heart and your hands? 

Quote from “Call it Forth: Religion for Atheists” by Davidson Loehr (in Religious Humanism, Volume XXXIV, #1 & 2, Winter/Spring 2000)
Photo by Margy Dowzer


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s