When I was serving four churches in and around Great Bend, Kansas, I frequently saw a car with a vanity license tag that read “Yahweh”. While I never met the owner of the car, I often wondered if it was intended as a touching tribute – along the lines of “God is my co-pilot” - or if it was sheer hubris that caused that person to affix Almighty God's 'name' to his or her car.

We encounter that name for God most famously in the Old Testament, in the third chapter of the book of Exodus. Moses has noticed a bush that flames without burning. He has turned aside from his sheep to observe this phenomena more closely and hears a voice drafting him to what must have seemed an unlikely, if not impossible, task.

Moses' response to this voice is to ask two very important questions: “Who am I?” and “Who are you?” In his very human ego-centricity, perhaps Moses got the chariot before the horse. Perhaps he should have asked “Who are You?” and only then, “Who am I?”

These two existential questions have been asked through the centuries as we human beings have struggled to understand both our place in the grand scheme of things and our own natures and the nature of the Divine. That struggle is still going on, even in our “secular” culture, and the questions are still being asked.

God's reponse to Moses' first question was the reassurance that despite Moses' shortcomings – and Mose had gone to great lengths to point out those shortcomings as he tried to weasel out of the task before him – God would be with him.

The response to the second question was the enigmatic Yahweh, which we translate as “I Am that I Am”.

Yahweh. I Am that I Am.

You do not have to be Christian or Jewish or even religious to feel a sense of awe at that divine self-identification. Thousands of people, discouraged or embittered by the oh-so-obvious shortcomings of organized religion, will say of themselves “I'm spiritual, but not religious”. Such human self-identification may not exonerate them of any of those shortcomings, but neither does it sever their tenuous grasp of the Divine.

In fact, scientists say that a sense of the Divine is hard-wired into our brains. As much as we would like to absolve ourselves of all responsibility (response-ability) to God, as much as we would like to stand up on our hind legs and shake our fists at whoever or whatever created us, we still find ourselves at a loss to explain our existence and our purpose apart from some creating and sustaining agency.

The truth of the matter is, we cannot define ourselves apart from some sense of BEING. Yahweh, I Am that I Am, is a clear, simple and lucid statement of BEING. To seek to go much further in defining the Divine is merely to pile up words that, being part of our human conventions, are quite inadequate and, at best, serve only to obscure that which we are attempting to describe. At worst, those piles of words are barriers that divide us from others of our kind who use other words to define and other means to relate to that which cannot be delineated or limited.

It might be more meaningful – and it might better serve Yahweh's purposes – for us to ask Moses' first question: Who am I? What would such a question look like? What would the answer(s) be?

I am (You see, you can't really do it without factoring Yahweh in)....

I (that is, me) BE a woman.

I am white.

I am an American.

I am a Christian.

I am a mother.

I am a writer.

I am....

I am not so very different from a man (Okay, there are some differences, but those differences don't make me any less than or any more than a man, just different.)

I am not so very different from a black woman or a brown man or a yellow woman or a red man or....

I am not so very different from a African or an Englishwoman or an Afghanistani....

I am not so very different from a Jew or a Muslim or a Hindi or Buddhist....

I am not so very different from a father or brother or sister or child....

I am not so very different from a President or a charcoal worker or a doctor or a beggar....

And, most importantly, I am not alone. My life has meaning and purpose and while I may feel (and, indeed, may be) inadequate to the task at hand, there are men and women of every color and race, nationality, creed, relationship and occupation that share this life, this meaning, and this purpose with me.

And there's Yahweh. I Am that I Am.

Author's Bio: 

I am a Baby Boomer myself and a newbie internet entrepreneur focusing on the Baby Boomer generation because I spent sixteen years serving as pastor in United Methodist congregations all over Kansas. Those congregations were made up primarily of Baby Boomer or older members, so I have developed some expertise with the Baby Boomer generation. I am now on leave of absence and living in Atchison, Ks. with my thirty-year-old son and two cats. I also help my daughter, also living in Atchison, with three sons, ages 9, 7, and 22 months, while their father is in Afghanistan. My blogs are found at http://www.for-boomers.com.