Monday, February 13, 2006

Who Put the Dash in GdashD?

Some folk have asked why I often use a dash instead of an “o” in spelling the name G-d, so I thought I would address that here.

I’ve always griped about how we as Christians get freaked when we see/hear the f-bomb, or s-bomb dropped on tv or film or theatre, but have no problem with G-d’s name plaguing the scripts we watch (“Like, oh my g-d, Billy totally likes me.”) The valley girl in the preceding sentence just broke one of the ten commandments; the gun-toting anti-hero who said “get the f**k away from me” didn’t.

Yet, despite my oh-so-righteous judgmentalism, I found my own scripts littered with such phrases, especially the “Oh my…” line. Just came naturally – which I realized was a reflection of my own speech and inner speech life. We are told to not take the Lord’s name carelessly; I didn’t even know I was doing that, which is about as careless as one can get.

In exploring my issue, I was reminded of the notion that the Israelites would leave out the vowels in Jehovah’s name. I decided to try that as an exercise for myself – leaving out the vowel for the name I most associate with G-d. What I found is that it is a pain in the butt, because it means every time I type that word I have to think about it.

Which, I’ve realized, is the point.

And thus relearned a lesson I got years ago when I was looking for a little spiritual renewal. I took the Nazarite oath (promoted by the likes of Paul), thinking that maybe there was some spiritual power to be had in not using a razor or eating grapes. Akin to fasting, I discovered no spiritual power in and of the act itself. What I found instead was my thought life drawing ever closer to G-d.

Because every time my hair got in my eyes, I thought, “I have to get my stupid hair cut, or wait, I can’t because…” and I thought of G-d.

Or every time I went to get a bowl of cereal and had to read the ingredients to see if grape juice was used as a sweetener (you’d be surprised), I’d think of what a pain that was, and “why am I doing this again? Oh, right…” and I would think of G-d.

I could do worse than actually stop and think of G-d.

And someday, when the dash no longer makes me stop and think, I will re-add the “o” to my typing repertoire, and come up with some other trick to help keep me from living a life in vain.

Just my thoughts,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wondered if you were originally Orthodox Jewish. Orthodox Jews use the G-dash-d spelling exclusively.