Thursday, September 4, 2008

Knowing what I know... I don't know! *A Disclaimer*

Many of you may know that I have a religious degree. People might think that with that type of degree I would be a God expert but I am not. When you go to Divinity School they "deconstruct" your religious world view.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines deconstruction as "A strategy of critical analysis [...] directed towards exposing unquestioned metaphysical assumptions and internal contradictions in philosophical and literary language." Derrida developed the term deconstruction in relation to his critical engagement with phenomenology, structural linguistics, and literature in the 1960s. The term is also related to the traditions of hermeneutics as it works with questions of how texts should be read and interpreted and immanent critique as a deconstruction demonstrates problems or contradictions that are already operating within the deconstructed text.
One of the many things I learned while studying the Gospels is that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John did not actually write those books. They were actually written by unknown writers who had differing political and social motivations. The first canonical gospel written is Mark (c 65-70), which in turn was used as a source for the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Matthew and Luke may have also used a common source, the hypothetical Q document. These first three gospels are called the synoptic gospels because they share a similar view. The last gospel, the gospel of John, presents a very different picture of Jesus and his ministry from the synoptics. The canonical gospels were originally written in Greek.

If you head is swimming and your fingers are in your ears then you know how I felt my first year in seminary. But my point is this... as a seminarian there are things I can surmise about God but nothing I can know for sure. God is mystery. I trust and have faith in God's goodness. I believe in the sacrifice of Christ and his ministry on earth. This gives me hints into God's nature. But I can not know for sure what God thinks about issues that divide us on Earth.

I always go by the measuring stick that God loves the creation. And if God loves like a parent then God loves in spite of our bad behaviors and poor choices. And God wants the best for each of us no matter our political leanings. our gender, our sexual orientation or race. And if I believe this to be true then I too must accept and love. I will leave God to do the judging. That is not my place. And since I have no way of knowing God's criteria other than the Ten Commandments I will hold myself to those and let others do the same. God will take care of it all in the end. Doing it any other way only encourages hate and division which I am sure God is against.

Now let's move onto other realms in life. Politics, socials and economic issues. What do I know. Not much. What do i think? Well I do have some thoughts. They are based on the information above. This is one of the reasons I never got ordained. Who am I to preach each week about God's mystery when I am still trying to wrap my own head around it. This is why I do not debate. I do not like anger and confrontation... does anyone? I have my own truths and I know you have yours. Who am I to knock yours down if they are what holds you up. I like to listen respectfully to others even if I disagree and I hope the same in return. If anger and accusations come into the conversation then there is something else going on. Its defensive. People feel attacked when their beliefs are not shared. And I in no way want others to feel like I am attacking them when I share an opinion.

My "I Miss Bill" bumper sticker got me a hand written note on my windshield. It sure set someones hackles up. Three little words and someone felt threatened enough to sit in the Wal*Mart parking lot, write out a note and leave it for me to find. Is the bumper sticker an invitation to attack me or make assumptions about who I am and what else I believe? I don't think so. I think there is room in this society for opposing views. But knowing what I know, I don't know.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's funny... I don't like debating or confrontation, yet I started that blog. I'm trying to get some people to see people on the other side of the fence as people and understand where they are coming from so we can go about things peacefully. We each have one vote... I just don't know if it is possible.