thoughts of an old guy


Sensei – I liked what you said . While am not is a position to objectively critique this discussion. I benefit from age in that I have not only watched others make mistakes in the way they have constructed and deconstructed their mental/spiritual worlds but I have a whole raft of patterns of mistakes I have made to look back on that inform my current frame. I am not sure in the deepest sense what I hold about the tradition of the bible but I would like for it to be true. It probably is but just not in the way we have come to think of that word. I too tire of groups using “power” to attempt to “prove” the other to be wrong. Man that approach has been tried and found wanting. I recently read an article about the arguments posited by proponents on all sides of the homosexuality issue. Here is a summary of the article

“At this point, all the players are identifying as victims. According to Oasin, this means that everyone identifies primarily with a social location that permits the person to speak in opposition to power.”

For Example
Liberals believe that African bishops hold a level of power—since, after all, they have risen to the elite status of the episcopacy (the order of bishops).

Conservatives in the U.S. also believe they are being persecuted, since they have lost the trappings of power they once held in the church.

International conservatives feel they lack power, since their explosive numerical growth has not translated into either increased leadership in the global church or financial resources, and they see gays and lesbians as being part of the U.S. power elite.

That is how I see many of the arguments or discussions about the Bible. We all take a social location that allows us the moral or spiritual “high ground” when in fact none of can prove a damm thing about what we believe.

Stage of life play into this as well (maybe). I certainly cared more about this kind of argument when I was younger and now while I am interested and am concerned about the issues Sensei raises (is I do think it matters what we say we believe and think) nevertheless I am still more distant from that struggle (probably more a function of my intellectual laziness in reality) but closer to trying to understand how human being change – Which BTW reminds me that if you have not read the lead article in this months Fast Company called Change or Die – you should – now that will sober you up.

Also I recently ran into Vishal Mangalwadi an Indian intellectual who brings a whole new spin on the role of the bible in the formation of Western culture- read him and then try and think about this stuff – Thanks for letting me swim with the sharks

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  1. Jim – you have hit on some grand themes worth drilling on – here’s a couple of things I want to expand on:

    1. context/point of view in how we engage Christianity and its building blocks (scripture, tradition, how we ‘make meaning’ in this life, the ‘body, mind, soul and strength’ of our embodied existence). Living abroad for 6 years and also traveling quite a bit has only confounded my so-called certainty regarding some foundational position in regard to how scripture is to be ‘read’ – I dont doubt for a minute the power of scripture to direct, transform, convict and redeem lives – what I am continually amazed by (and humbled by) is how expansive the reach of the ‘W/word’ is beyond my ability to predict the where, whence and limit of its event horizon. Reading matthew 25 (sheeps and goats) in Accra, Ghana has forever altered my reading of the text – the farmers I met there saw deeper into the text than I ever could have.

    2. the role of time and, in particular, age in how we approach questions of meaning and how meaning is truly made. I would throw ‘wisdom’ into the ring here. I have sat with folks half my age and been stunned by their insight and have argued with folks twice my age and wondered how in the H-E-double hockey sticks they made it this far in life. Einstein spoke truth regarding the relative nature of time to be sure – I read the scriptures and relate the truth in them in very different ways now that I am a father (especially this week with the birth of my 3rd daughter, Miriam) than when I was an ‘angry young man’ who still packed a comb in his shaving kit (!)

    (BTW – as I write this Bruce Springsteen is on “Storytellers” and walking through the lyrics of “Jesus was an only son” from “Devils and Dust”… as he said “once you have the image of Golgatha in your head, it will haunt you forever…”)

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