Wednesday, February 03, 2010

God's irascible self

(First a bit of name-dropping.) I once heard Walter Brueggemann preaching at Knox Church in Dunedin and was expecting an academic talk full of words I might or might not understand.

Instead he gave a wonderful and accessible sermon. I've forgotten the content (!), but not the effect.

Jason Goroncy has just posted a copy of 19 theses by Brueggemann on his Per Crucem ad Lucem site (the site's title, by the way, is translated as towards the light by way of the cross on another site, though I'd prefer something as succinct as the original Latin: from Cross to Light). These 'theses' are entitled, A Script to Live (and to die) by.

Brueggemann replaces the commonly-used word, 'worldview,' with 'script,' which is a helpful change, and then points out in the 19 statements how we follow a script in our society of technological, therapeutic, consumer militarism that socialises us all, liberal and conservative. You may or may not agree.

He goes on to say that this script not only makes us unhappy, it is a failure. He then goes on to say that the alternative script is rooted in the Bible and offers a counter to the prevailing script. The key character in the script (and I think he means us to read 'character' as like a character in an ordinary play or film script) is God, the God of the Trinity.

I like what follows in thesis 12:
The ragged, disjunctive, and incoherent quality of the counter-script to which we testify cannot be smoothed or made seamless because when we do that the script gets flattened and domesticated and it becomes a weak echo of the dominant script of technological, consumer militarism. Whereas the dominant script of technological, consumer militarism is all about certitude, privilege, and entitlement this counter-script is not about certitude, privilege, and entitlement. Thus care must be taken to let this script be what it is, which entails letting God be God’s irascible self.

Great stuff! (Photo is of an exhausted Brueggemann after having nailed his 19 theses to a local church door - just kidding!)

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