In his novel on the life of Saint Francis, Nikos Kazantzakis recounts the story of Francis coming upon an almond tree in midwinter. He says to the tree, "Sister, speak to me about God," and the almond tree bursts into blossom. This blooming, the bringing forth of new life within a bleak and barren winter landscape, is a metaphor that illustrates what all right speech about God does. First, it recognizes the relatedness of all creation. Saint Francis addresses the almond tree as his sister. Second, it calls forth life in those who hear it, even in the midst of bleak and difficult situations. Francis' invitation to the tree causes it to bloom. And the tree's answer to Francis is beautiful and inspiring. Notice that the great saint does not preach to the tree, telling it what he thinks about God. He invites the tree to share its understanding of God, and it does so in a way perfectly suited to its nature.
As wonderful as this example is, speaking about God is dangerous business. A lot is said about, and for, God by people of all political and religious persuasions, and much of what is said creates confusion and suffering. It is easy to use language about God as a kind of bludgeon, a tool to dominate those who differ from us in their views. This leads to two terrible outcomes. First, both those who speak and those who are attacked with aggressive "God language" are spiritually damaged, and any possibility of relationship between them becomes extraordinarily challenging. Second, we hamstring our ability to address profound challenges where spirituality could be helpful. Once we make God into an object of domination (a form of idolatry), we can no longer speak about the Divine in times of extraordinary need without facing cognitive dissonance and the risk of tripping into hypocrisy.
In Zen, we are told not to confuse the finger pointing at the moon with the moon. Language and concepts are often barriers to the realization of enlightenment, which is a direct encounter with reality itself. This encounter occurs not through study or discussion, but through practicing awareness of the present moment. The Reality of God is encountered the same way, through the practice of deep contemplation where we find the love and compassion that then infuses the reality of our relationships. At that point, we are blossoming with life for those with whom we are connected, and we invite the same from them.