I have just reread Michael Morwood’s “Faith, Hope, and a Bird Called George: A Spiritual Fable” and I remain convinced that this book will continue to be a powerful resource for years to come as I struggle to provide pastoral care without resorting to metaphors that point to a theistic deity. My theology has changed so much in recent years and sometimes it is so very tempting to lean on the crutches provided by familiar notions about God that point to an anthropamorphized manipulator who is up there or out there just waiting to intervene in our lives.
Morwood’s enchanting little tome follows the theological quest of Faith, a mature woman in both years and theology who is approaching the final stages of her life and seeks a deeper understanding of what it means to be in relationship with God. No longer content with traditional religious answers, Faith wonders what to do now that she has expanded her understanding of the nature of the Divine beyond the Father-Sky-God toward a panentheistic understanding of God as the “ground of our Being”. During conversations with her cat named Hope and her bird named George, Faith comes to a deeper awareness of her place in the cosmos. With gentle humour and piercing inquisitiveness Faith is encouraged by her curious cat Hope to debate her bird George whose previous owner was a member of the clergy. George’s traditional answers fail to satisfy and as Faith tries to interpret their meaning for her doubting cat, she finds herself moving to a new way of being in the world.
If you find yourself on a journey that sees you questioning traditional interpretations of Christianity, this book will make an excellent companion. Only, be sure to by a couple of copies, for you are sure to want to give it to friends. If you are clergy you’ll just have to buy dozens of copies because this is one of those books you’re going to want to give to all those folks who you encounter who are searching for an approach to faith that does not require them to suspend their understanding of reality in order to trust that God does indeed dwell in, with and through us.