I just recently posted this on Rockridge Forums which is holding a series of discussions with religious progressives online on how to engage issues of faith and the public arena. There's a lot of good posts to read though. It's worth checking out and participating in. Here's my contribution to the discussion:
I think a helpful way to approach the question of how the idea of God is framed is to first ask the question: what is the major problem/s of human existence? Usually a religious answer is in response to a human problem, so how we frame this problem will provide a context by which various religious answers can be offered and evaluated.
In the western religious tradition this usually has revolved around the question of salvation..how can I be transformed in ways in which I cannot transform myself, how can I be saved from the destructive propensities of life and pointed to the best possible? If we take this as a way of approaching the problem, than we might ask what operates in the world to do just that?
By locating this saving activity in the world, we make it a public issue (which I think is an issue for liberals, how to take religious claims seriously when we're fighting over competing private revelations)...that is, it calls not for a revealed answer but for an open inquiry into what conditions, forces seem to operate which transforms human existence to the better.
It's a naturalized account that opens this issue for all, not just for this or that religion. It means that everything from biology to economics to education to various religions can have resources to bear on investigating what acts in a transformative manner and how do we best relate ourself to such a reality/ies
God in such an account becomes an evaluation of those forces which make for transformation, for good (which was one of the categories Lakoff gives us to consider). In such an account God is not an object but rather a way of talking about that which acts to transform human life and therefore calls for or solicits a religious response, perhaps of gratitude, piety, a giving one's self to such saving work.
In this way religious faith is not as much determined by particular religious forms as much as it is by a certain self giving to forces which work to save, transform human existence (in this sense some of the most religiously faithful people I know are atheists who are working for change and a better society).
There's a number of routes to take with the issue of progressives and religious faith, but I think this route is particularily fruitful in that when religion is naturalized we can get rid of some of the barriers, exclusivity which demarcates religion from other areas of life..it opens up the religious question to the non theist and theist alike.