An excerpt from The Secular Magi by William Loyd Newell:
There are other shapes that God has taken of late. To the fundamentalist, God appears as Text and Certitude, endowing the Moral Majority with the knowledge that God is an ethic that may be held without an asterisk of doubt. To the Charismatics, God is Joy and spiritual gifts. To both there is an immediacy and accessibility to God. For both, though, God is not in the hurly-burly of life, but comes to where we live far away in our deepest, remotest self, far removed from the ego. This God is not a God of political movement involved with changing people’s lives through changing the people and the processes by which they live to better their lot and bring about the eschatological community. To these people, God is not communitarian or here as we are here. Transcendence brings us beyond all that, as if it’s not good enough for God or us. It’s the world as evil and a God not desirous of being tarnished by it or allowing us to be so that they see.
And to the social gospelers, God is Justice. As such, God is one who lives in but, more, among us. This God roots the more easily among liberal Protestants and those Catholics who hew to lines drawn by papal teachings on social justice. This God brings anger before the peace of justice. This God demands community by paradoxically splitting the unjust social compacts of the past. This is a God of the poor and demands that we give them preference over the rich. This makes Protestants of the classic Calvinist and Lutheran stripe nervous. God is not choosing the middle class, but prefers the poor. Upper-class Catholics, steeped in the noblesse oblige school of medieval spiritually see no God here at all. They see only meddlesome popes and do-gooder bishops manipulated by Jesuits who are too eager to “mullaize” their religion. This brings dis-ease and primes of future peace and justice.
To Catholic mystics, God appears as the Consoler–sometimes gentle and at others quite disruptive–amid their discernment of spirits. To those Christians bruised by their attempts to meet the demands of postmodernity, God is a refuge found in conservative liturgies and strict constructionism of the Decalogue.
To all God’s sectarian clients, God appears sovereign, but to a more casual observer God appears terribly fragmented, as if God hadn’t yet decided which mask God wants, or is God telling us that all of them are wanted, that that’s the point: that God loves each mask democratically?
Over all these Christian avatars there hovers a silence bespeaking an unquestionably benign Presence, possessed of the infinitely good breeding to change us only when we reject the amnesias of our darknesses and allow God to recall our truest names to us in the striations of our lives. Slowly, quietly, God is reappearing in us and our churches, gathering up the enragements of the epiphanies into the twelve baskets if our diverse apostleships.
God gives the divine in self many names, but the most telling on is The One We Long For.