The reality of better or worse interpretations of texts, God, selves, others, and world will always be with us, but because truth and love matter, we should aim for the better.
Friday, May 30, 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
There is so much confusion today concerning the Role of the reader in narrative. Hope this points us in a better direction. Either the reader has been marginalized – considered an observer – a disinterested party – and thus excluded from the story and its meaning – all the meaning is in the text, or the reader has been glorified - entirely integrated – and therefore understood as merrily floating around in the story as the maker of all the meaning – a reader’s response is not to the meaning, it is the meaning. While it is essential that the reader have a role when reading a story, neither of these options would seem to be fitting. The role of the reader, by contrast, is to imaginatively connect with the characters in the story, the plot, the intention, and the narrative, and to appropriately fill in meaning where invited to do so by the narrator.
Posted by Greg at 9:56 AM
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Lack of commitment seems to permeate the landscape of our culture. Fleeting choices of communication and knowledge allow us to play freely with others. We’re all too frequently motivated or even controlled by a fear of promise, pledge, and obligation. Hurt, rejection, and the risk of being loved combine to re-enforce the notion that death reigns, and we may find ourselves sucked into the vortex of a web of lies. A call for sacrifice may strike us as unattractive. Trust of self and other appears a chimera. Yet, part of a radically transforming work of truth in us is to heighten the level of commitment to God, self, other and world, and to that which is good.
Posted by Greg at 4:05 PM
Monday, May 26, 2014
Our culture of consumerism and self-centeredness holds out great temptations to allow ourselves to be consumed. It’s often so much easier to go with the flow that leads to death, than it is to be agents of life. Let’s remember to be partakers in and messengers of love, redemption, and forgiveness, as we live out the Christian story in the fullest and most meaningful way possible.
Posted by Greg at 8:19 AM
Friday, May 23, 2014
We can find ourselves in the position of coercing ourselves into embracing falsehoods. I’m not saying we’ll always be able to eliminate this destructive tendency, but it can be critiqued and therefore hopefully diminish in its power over us.
Example: 1) Suspicion reigns when it comes to affirming anything good about us and 2) trust is in strong evidence when it comes to denying anything good about us. There is a two-fold deception operating here that sets us up for “no-win” conclusions and all the devastating implications that go with them. Suspicion and trust in this configuration are monologues and monologues falsify. A dialogical perspective, however, that puts us into contact with other informers than ourselves (nature and the biblical text), recognizes that there is a valid place for trust over suspicion in 1) and suspicion over trust in 2) and this will in turn show us there is indeed something good about us and therefore lead in the direction of a truer picture of who we are.
Posted by Greg at 3:11 PM
Thursday, May 22, 2014
The acts of writing and reading are ethical responsibilities.
Posted by Greg at 12:54 PM
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Feelings are so important, though they are not decisive when it comes to knowledge. In order to assess whether feelings are trustworthy or deceptive, it is crucial that they be in dialogue with the rest of we are, including reason and sense observation, so that we have a more holistic perspective. We should not stop, however, at an interpersonal dialogue, as we are obliged to interact with the other, the world, and the biblical text, if we are to have our feelings and the whole of our lives refigured, and to begin to know in the light of being known.
Posted by Greg at 3:14 PM
Monday, May 19, 2014
Improvising is not about doing something entirely new. Think of it this way. To improvise is to join in, to recognize that we are part of a work in progress - something that precedes us. Faithful improvisation is taking what’s already laid down and expanding on it in authentically fresh ways. This holds true for engaging and being engaged by God’s story, which is an invitation to improvise.
Posted by Greg at 8:18 AM
Friday, May 16, 2014
Love is an expression, emotion, and imagining that is comprised of both freedom and restraint at the same time.
Posted by Greg at 10:22 AM
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Humans have a wonderful capacity for self-examination. In spite of this being utterly ignored by some or hyper-embraced by others, it remains a marvel. Why? Well, it should affirm to us that we’re not merely a product of our cultural surroundings, nor are we entirely determined by our environment. In contrast, we are co-creators with the Creator and this has huge implications for our ability to discern things about ourselves and to imaginatively reflect on what we create. Simply fantastic!
Posted by Greg at 12:37 PM
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
We can always affirm or deny a belief in God’s action in the world. If this is the case, the extent to which either of these directions is legitimate will depend on how we evaluate varying degrees of subjectivity and objectivity, since such a process will enable us to have some measure of credibility for claims about the probable or doubtful dimension of God’s involvement. Reliable trust and suspicion in these matters would seem to be a valid goal for us all.
In order to start to move towards reliability, one prominent feature of this type of exploration will be to observe and assess the character, spirituality, and wisdom of the claimer, and to connect that to God, the biblical text, self, other, and world. It’s not a good idea, nor is it an act of love to let someone make it up as they go along (I would wager there can be valid criteria for such a challenge), but neither is it gracious to not consider a claim about what God might be doing. There’s no easy way out of this tension. We’ll have to aim to be responsible and endeavor to live the truth in love, as we interact with each other’s stories and attempt to come to better interpretations of the God who is there.
Posted by Greg at 12:34 PM
Monday, May 12, 2014
Lamentably, the founding stories of our faith are so often entombed in church buildings that lack the presence of God, or in electronic boxes that perpetrate a mindless faith in consumerism. By contrast, the subversive and radical power of the mission, ministry, and person of Jesus illumines the path towards authenticity. Cherish the Gospels, read them diligently, appreciate their relation and distinction, and above all, live their truth in love.
Posted by Greg at 2:51 PM
Friday, May 9, 2014
Telling stories about things that never happened does not make a life or give an identity. Gradually, this making it up as we go along will undo us.
Posted by Greg at 3:28 PM
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Don’t give up on working through your problems. Be aware, Be conscious, Be dependent on God, and Be responsible. Challenge the traditions, push the boundaries, and discover the limits. Take the time you need and try to make sense of your life and the world.
Posted by Greg at 1:52 PM
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Drawing conclusions from solely one perspective is reductionistic. By contrast, Christians want to recognize that reality has to be viewed with eyes open to a multiplicity of intricate angles and variable vistas. Whether climbing a high Alpine peak or walking through a city, much of what we perceive will need to be engaged through a skillful attention to detail that may first escape us. Looking again, perhaps, should be a key feature of the Christian worldview, as it is founded on the exceedingly complex character of the creator God, who loves and cares for the whole of what has been made.
Posted by Greg at 8:51 PM
Monday, May 5, 2014
Having our life story re-narrated from a redemptive perspective won’t make the sordid past go away, but it will provide us with a new way of looking at it and its capacity to negatively impact the present. Redeeming memories, through Christ and the power of the Spirit, is one of the ways we are brought into community with the God who forgives. And in this community we are sheltered, comforted, and loved so that we in turn might shelter, comfort, and love others.