Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Spiritual Rhythms of Life for Today

False memories make a difference for God, the self, and the other. To remember truly is to remember God and to remember God is to make an effort to remember what is true. Remembering well is remembering justly for the sake of the other. And God would have us do this, both as victim and victimizer.

4 comments:

Shannon said...

I was discussing this recently with a friend - the importance of working at redeeming our memories (or our past selves). Frequently we think our only real responsibility, as Christians, is for the present. It seems, however, that our interpretation of past experiences, and God's role in them, is crucial for our thinking and behaviour in the present. Of course, if this is true, then it also raises the question of how we should approach redemption of our future selves.

Greg said...

Shannon,
Thanks. So true that the Christian perspective is often a more narrowly present one that puts insufficient weight on the past and the future, although sometimes the present tends to be avoided by hanging on to the past or projecting into the future. A holistic view that incorporates the three would be more biblical and lead, I believe, to a better understanding of God, self, other, and world.

abigail said...

I like the idea of "remembering God" and agree that "to remember God is to make an effort to remember what is true" however, I wonder how much of "what is true" has to do with necessarily getting the "real" memory of an event right.

To me, the notion of a "false memory" seems like an oxymoron. If you remember it; you remember it. If someone else remembers it differently, the do. It seems to me that past events are only accessible through memory or other subjective 'documentation' rending the the possibility of 'false' or 'true' memory a little problematic.

On the flip side, this notion of remembering God and that being an access to truth (in some way that is different from 'real events of the past'), I think is helpful in getting out of the "postmodern" trap.

In some ways, Shannon, I think redeeming our past selves can involve a 're-imagining' of our past. How do we fit that with "false memory"?

(and thanks for the Fb link)

Greg said...

Abigail,
Thanks. Good insights. I agree in one sense that to remember is to remember. The act of remembering, however, doesn't get us very far. Might false memories or true memories have something to do with the referent of what is being remembered and not merely the act of remembering?

You're right that this will be subjective, but what's new? And why should memory or subjectivity necessarily render a true or false recounting entirely problematic? One would hope for the possibility of being a reliable narrator. In some cases at least, what we remember can have some verification factor attached to it as what once was.

To re-imagine our past is an essential, but to remember it as truly as possible is crucial for doing so redemptively.