To a large extent, followers of the Crucified and Risen One are insiders; they who do the will of God, which is to follow Jesus. Being an insider though means, at least, that one should have a more pronounced awareness of a trust and suspicion dynamic and a clearer picture as to where these are to be oriented. What I’m hoping to get at is this. If one is following Jesus, one is a trusting insider. Yet, there is a possibility that a trusting insider might be lulled into a false sense of security and assume that this status gives he/she the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This trusting insider, however, unaware of the essential and necessary dialogue between trust and suspicion may be surprised when he/she finds out that trust has been operating, in this area of life, pretty much and often naively, on its own. If no suspicion of oneself is in play when it comes to following the Christ, one who assumes one is an insider may actually turn out to be an outsider.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Since the knower is always involved in the knowing, there is always a subjective personal dimension to knowledge, yet this does not mean that knowledge is entirely subjective. Rather, it is quasi-subjective, as it must conform to degrees of objectivity\\subjectively objective, especially as represented by the other and the world.
Monday, October 27, 2014
A misrepresentation of selfhood sets off a chain reaction, which pushes us in the direction of seeing ourselves falsely. This type of seeing has grave consequences, but one of the particularly devastating ways it manifests itself is in a meritocracy. That is, setting up our own standards by which to measure ourselves happens all the time. This is just the norm for so many. But such standards can tend to put God in the wrong place, while they also falsify us. God’s standards are not our own. They come to us through creation, cross, and new creation, showing us that freedom is not us being at the center of our lives.
Friday, October 24, 2014
To see shame as a constant threat will throw any good of the self or the world into an unrealistic position. Not a viable trade off. Face shame and try to detect where it’s coming from. Learn to affirm your own safety from your shaming self and be attentive to present contexts and considerations, instead of floating off into the past or the future.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
If scientific facts are the highest court of appeal – we’re in big …. . To deify facts (or anything else for that matter) is to reduce reality, truth, and love. Stories, which may include facts, are a much better resource for finding the path to life in all its complexity and wonder, than merely a set of test tubes.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Atheist Sam Harris argues that facts and values are the same thing (Google his TED talk on morality and science). Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (Tractatus) contends that they have nothing to do with each other. Both exaggerate. One conflates, the other deflates. Facts, says Harris, are scientific and therefore so are values. That’s true in some sense and facts do play a role in some of what we value, but facts and values cannot be collapsed into the same thing. Wittgenstein proposes that values are unspeakable and mystical, and thus completely differ from propositions of natural science as facts. I wager, Harris is reductionistic by putting them together, Wittgenstein by keeping them entirely apart. And reductionism in a holistic world is neither a fact nor a value. Alas, values go beyond facts, since they pertain to courage, trust, love, commitment, and the like, but these types of values may also have a factual ring to them. While it may turn out that the brain can produce such values, the ultimate testing ground for them is not merely scientific analysis, but the laboratory of relationality. A more pertinent illustration of facts and values, therefore, would be to understand they are related and distinct, and then to work out this living tension in the world.
Monday, October 20, 2014
As readers of the scriptural story today we are foreigners to the text and its ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman context, yet we are not excluded from its time, narration, drama, and spherical refraction. The extraordinary possibility of integration, for us to be grafted into the revelatory story of God’s creation and redemptive outpouring of love in Christ, remains a marvel. Renewing people and the earth is part of God’s majestic destiny and fortunately we’re invited to participate in this adventure.
Friday, October 17, 2014
A gift for the other? Self-interest may or may not nullify gift. If SI is interest to please or satisfy the other, then SI becomes OI, and gift is a gift. If SI is in self, to please or satisfy self, then what is given is not a gift.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
The notion that what is true being supposedly narrow and bigoted comes from those who are narrow and bigoted, not from what is true? True, opens up possibilities – where old and new perspectives can be explored. True is an adventure, not dogmatic religious or scientific beliefs. True has an elasticity that is fragile, yet resilient. True goes alongside and beyond love and justice. True is a person and a relation. True is connected to the laboratory of life.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Being, knowledge, nature, interpretation, ethics, and the biblical text have a tendency to operate as monologues closed into separate compartments, but none of them can go it alone. A dialogue between each informer is necessary in order to lead us in a better direction and in so doing, to give us enriched, even sumptuous innovative and truth oriented perspectives and possibilities.
Monday, October 13, 2014
The power of despair is highly significant and provocatively tempting. One of the realities we most desire – to be known – is what we tend to fear. Being known is a dangerous enterprise that challenges our control over ourselves and the other. The risk factor appears so momentous, we retreat and dare not expose who we are. De-relationship though brings us further and further into deception. This direction is often embraced because we assume it’s safer to be unrelated, than it is to connect with the other. Better to deprive ourselves, before we allow anyone else to do it to us. But this is one of the worst forms of attempting to be a self that will ever come across our paths, as it will only produce death. A turn towards an-other, however, while it will no doubt be a challenge, has the possibility of generating life, since life is deeply rooted in real relationships with all their perils and joys.
Friday, October 10, 2014
Love goes beyond justice and justice goes beyond love. Neither can go it alone, nor can one be collapsed into the other. TENSION.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Biblical interpretation, in the best sense of the art and practice, has been rightly focused on God, the text, and the reader. Recently, culture has been fittingly added to this trio, but it seems to me that there is at least one other consideration that will help us better interpret the biblical story; and that is the natural world. If we leave this feature out, our interpretations will be less sufficient and perhaps even more wrong headed than they would be otherwise.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Competing voices float around in us like butterflies on a spring day and are part of being human. Which one’s to listen to as authoritative is an ongoing quest that is connected to trust and suspicion. The bold and cutting voice of inappropriate accusation, condemnation, and guilt that results in self-hate is often so loud that it prevents us from hearing the voice of appropriate freedom, capacity, and encouragement, which results in self-love. Changing how we listen, therefore, is essential to living a well lived life. This shift will not happen through an act of the will alone, although the will may challenge us to listen again. What we’re in desperate need of is a line of appeal that goes beyond our wills and which acknowledges that there are more objective trustworthy criteria available (other, biblical text, and world to mention a few) to heighten the volume of the voice of love that comes to us a precious resource of self-love.
Monday, October 6, 2014
The “how” of human agency in the context of “what is” has monumental significance. Here’s what I’m trying to get at. Let’s consider, for example, that meaningful relationships are a central part of being human. This amounts to the “what is.” But an essential element to consider carefully is “how” we engage relationally. To do so in a self-centered manner will result in self and other defamation, while acting in the realistic configuration of oneself as another will open up possibilities for a more appropriate “how” of relating in healthy and trustworthy ways. The implication of this focus on “how,” highlights the crucial perspective that the ‘guts’ of our relationships really do matter, if we are to be aligned with and tethered to “what is.”