According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Monday, November 28, 2011

Opening Up the Impossible of Faith's Belief

Invading the Other’s World: “What Are You Thinking?”

by Peter Rollins
November 28, 2011

Discovering Ourselves
through God's Love
There is a question that often comes up in relationships. Indeed even when it does not it is often because the people have had to make an effort not to say it. While it might be asked at any time it is often sprung when two people are sitting quietly together on a given evening. It is, very simply, “What are you thinking?”

There are various possible feelings related to this question, both for the one asking it and the one being asked it. Depending on the dynamic between the two people the question might communicate love, suspicion, frustration or concern. It might feel like a welcome expression of desire or an unwelcome invasion into ones inner world. Indeed it might make one feel deeply frustrated: “how do I know what I am really thinking, I am as in the dark about that as you are!”

One of the things that such a question renders visible however is the way in which the other we are with is also separate from us… other to us. By asking this question we express an explicit desire to bring the others inner world into the room, to render it manifest (although this explicit desire is often a manifestation of an implicit desire – don’t tell me what you are really thinking, tell me something I would like to hear).

Such a question carries with it a certain level of anxiety. For there is always the possibility that what one hears will be something we don’t want to hear,

        “What are you thinking dear?”

        “Oh I was just thinking that I wish you would die horribly and
          leave all your money to me. Would you like a cup of tea honey?”

The anxiety might be minimal (for example if you share a deep connection with your partner), but no matter how deep the relationship the others inner world is no more yours than it is theirs and so you are always in danger of finding something you would find difficult to hear (just as they are). The others inner world is a pulsating, untamed universe that we should only approach with great caution.

This means that we rarely actually answer the question truthfully,

        “What are you thinking dear?”

        “Oh I was just thinking that I wish you would know how much I love you.
          Would you like a cup of tea honey?”

The point, which I have touched on elsewhere, is not that we lie to the other, more fundamentally we often lie to ourselves. Covering over our real desires with things we find more acceptable.

Risking the Impossible Waters of Faith's Reveal
So then “What are you thinking” is a dangerous question, very dangerous. To really ask it, or to actually attempt to answer it, both have the potential of throwing us off course, breaking current patterns and opening up new and scary trajectories.

In a Derridian sense it has the potential of opening us up to the impossible. The possible here being the direction we can predict, the well-lit road we are currently treading, the safe path that is lined with the familiar. The impossible being that which throws a spanner in the works, casting us adrift once more and placing us again onto a narrow, unlit path.

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