Sunday, January 13, 2008

thoughts from the first week of class

Our first day of class with Dr Condit last Thursday was inspirational in a lot of ways. A lot of the ideas we talked about in class (and will this semester) have serious significance for a religious perspective. This week Dr Condit explained her general purpose/framework for the class, and we discussed part of Walter Ong’s The Presence of the Word. Celeste was explaining the way the entire intellectual tradition (Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Derrida etc) is obsessed with figuring out the meaning of things. What if our central question was not “what do words mean” (especially now that Derrida has demonstrated that meaning is never static)? What if instead, we asked “What do words do” and “How do they relate us to each other?”

This change of orientation, I think, would also transform the way we approach Christianity, the Bible, and worship. Instead of interrogating the Bible for rules, we would ask how it relates us to God and its characters and each other. Instead of expecting to “get something out” of a church service, we would arrive expecting to DO something, to enact a relationship. If Christianity was presented not as a set of propositions we assent to for salvation, but instead as a set of relationships that we appreciate, and try to fulfill, how would it change the way we live? How would it change the way we talked to others about faith?


Stephanie said...

I love your insight! I think that we as Westerners tend to use the Bible as a check off list for what to do and not to do. (Am I being good enough?) When really, none of that is going to get us anywhere really, b/c we can't save ourselves. I agree that if we shift our focus to our relationship with God, things would look very different. If we stopped using the Bible as a rule book and instead consider it as God's tool for revealing Himself to us, our faith would probably look noticably different.

Rachel said...

We talked about this very same thing today in class! (We got there for a different reason, of course.) There is so much dispute about the word "justice" in Romans and what it means for justification, salvation, etc. Cuneo argued that we have to see salvation as less of a legal transaction and more of a relationship, like a marriage. It takes a lot of work to make a good marriage...same thing with our spiritual life. I have a feeling that if we stopped arguing about how we got saved and just started loving our neighbor as ourselves we would be a lot better off.

Joyce said...

::waves:: I mentioned you again.