“A darkness has come over Christianity in regard to this matter of renewal. We are so easily contented, so quickly satisfied with a religiosity that makes us appear a little more decent. Yet this cannot be all there is to our faith: Everything, everything must become new. Not just a little taste of something new, but all things new.” – C. F. Blumhardt
Why is it so difficult to be renewed?
I have been thinking about this today and, in particular, after going back to some of my reflections on Paul Ricoeur and his notion of ‘2nd Naiveté’ through the process of narrative identity formation. As Ricoeur notes in Time and Narrative, when we are addressing the notion of ‘self’, it poses the question of ‘who’, as in (1) who is speaking, (2) who is acting, (3) who is recounting about himself or herself?, and (4) who is the moral subject of imputation?. In Ricoeur’s view the self is the speaker, the actor, the narrator, as well as the subject of the imputations of others. Therefore, the structuring of a life experience narrative for integration into a ‘lived life for the good’ involves revisiting actions of the past, and reflecting upon those actions to determine what was learned that is now applicable to the “good life”, which certainly is the aim of the action of ‘reborn’ self, and then ‘pressing forward’ with an assurance of faith. This ‘assurance’ is what Ricoeur terms a ‘2nd Naiveté’ – a return to life after redemption not merely in mind, but also in deed.
If the so-called revolution desired by so many christians numbed to near death in their pews and in front of their reality TV shows is ever to occur – it is not action that we need… but NEW action. A cleansing of the temple, a purging of Caanan, a rubbing of mud in our eyes so that we may finally see. Yet we don’t want renewal it seems… People like being lepers akin to Michael Palin’s rant about being healed and losing his identity in Life of Brian.
More than ever – now is the time to reboot.