My friends—I call you friends, though I do not know you, though I understand that many of you wish bad things for me and my people, though if I knew each of you as a person, some I would laugh with and share a bowl and some I would greet through gritted teeth, I call you friends. –I call you friends as a sign of my good will, not because we are friends but because I hope your people and my people can live in peace. I call you friends to make us friends. If your tongue has a better word, I do not know it.
My friends, you say you bring me God. God is already here. You know this already. You tell us God is everywhere. God is here. You say that this is true. You therefore bring us knowledge of God, God who is everywhere, God who has always been here. We thank you. We will hear your knowledge of God. And we will give you our knowledge of God. We will exchange our knowledge with your knowledge like fire of two colors, like a flame doubles when divided.
My friends, you say your knowledge of God is true knowledge and our knowledge of God is not-true knowledge. You wish to take our knowledge which is coal away from us and give us yours which is gold. It may be our knowledge is coal and yours is gold. Gold is a useless ornament on a cold night. It is rare, hard to find, requires much labor to become a bauble that burns falsely in flashes. It gives light only when light is not needed, when the sun burns. Its light has no heat, and this is good, because when it burns no heat is needed. Coal is everywhere. It is easy to find. It gives heat to all, requiring no skill or wealth. I am glad our knowledge is coal. Perhaps you come from a place where there is no coal. I am glad your knowledge is gold. When we do not freeze, when we are well fed and watered and well pleased with our lives, we may admire this gold and ask of it what ornament it may add to our wisdom.
We have received already one lump of gold. And it is this: you call God God. This is gold. We call God many names. This is coal. But God has no name. God is beyond naming. This is an ornament to our knowledge.
Before I will receive any more of your gold, please take from me an equal weight of coal in even exchange for this gold.
My friends, you call God "he" and "him." Your eyes see the world as "he" and "him" and "she" and "her." In all persons and all animals and all plants, you see the two of your tongue and so your tongue does not permit a one or a many that is a one or a many but for being a not-two. You must be patient. This is hard to say in the words of your tongue. You see the outside of things. And on this outside you see person as high and all other things as low. We do not see this. If person is the highest of all things, then you say God is a person, forgetting that this saying is a picture. When you see persons, you see man and not-man and you say that man is higher. We do not see this. You forget that this saying is a picture that says more of what you do not know than what you do know. So you say God is a man-person. You look around and you see the world in numbers. You say I am not my wife. You say I am not my children. I am not my people. I am not the earth, the stars, the sky. You say the rivers do not flow through me on their way to the sky. We do not see this. You say God is one. You say God is one-male-person. This is not gold. This is not coal. This is that which is not. This is a stone lifted to smash a bone then tossed aside forever. This is a stone when it is not a stone. What I give you is coal.
You must be patient, my friends. If your tongue has better words to say this, I do not know them. I do not believe it does. This is hard to say in your tongue.