Because I come from, and have remained in, a Christ centered tradition, most of the time I picture God as Jesus, and specifically the crucified Jesus. Already, you probably have an image in your mind of the crucified Jesus as you read this and odds are it's different than mine.
In our Introduction to Theology class in my first year at seminary, our professor showed us a painting. Let me first warn you though, this image may be offensive to you, and/or may not be suitable for children, and contains partial nudity. Click here if you'd still like to see it.
Not what you were expecting was it? The first time I saw this image I was appalled...I was insulted...I was disgusted...but...I grew.
Many things have changed me over the past few years. I have grown and been stretched in ways that I would have never thought possible.
Is the above image my new way of seeing God? Absolutely not!
However, what I realized was that my way of imagining God does not have to be your way of imagining God. Your way of imagining God does not have to be my way of imagining God.
AND, all of our ways of imagining God can bring something valuable to the table. That is what my professor was trying to get across to us.
I don't expect you to answer my first question any differently now, but what I hope for is that we can welcome all answers to the table. I believe our image of God will be all the more richer for it. And maybe, just maybe, we will more easily see the image of God in others, no matter how different they are, and act accordingly.