Friday, August 12, 2005
Who is the Prince of their own World [system]?
"Finely tuned, systematic categories of Christian thought have too often been imposed deductively upon the Old Testament, thus obscuring its original meaning. In Jewish thinking, however, 'not system but commentary is the legitimate form through which truth is approached.' Because Christians have been overly anxious to systematize Jewish thought, they have left themselves open to misinterpreting the text. In addition, the search for truth can be unsettling, especially if the interpreter is willing to go wherever the text leads him. Seeking to bring forth the meaning of Scripture inductively - which is precisely the task of the commentator - sometimes results in a diversified and fragmented understanding of truth. But it is more honest and wiser to handle the text in this manner than to construct an artificial system that int he end fails to let truth speak clearly in its own terms."
"To be certain of your own existence is the ultimate arrogance." (Daniel Libeskind). The goal of any world system of knowledge or belief is certainty. That we take certainty of our own existence for granted is proof that we all think systematically. God's knowledge of us, and His knowledge of our "very existence," is our humility. Here, when it comes to a question of our actions, we must be "willing to go wherever" God leads us, which may result in actions that appear as "diversified and fragmented." If I am certain of anything, it is that I am dead. We can only be certain of things of the past (things that, in other words, are dead). But our God is the God the living (which means it may not be up to us to know what will happen in any coming moment). So to be the operator of my system is to be certain that I am dead, whereas for God to be the mover of my soul is to be willing to let go of myself as the giver of my life ("if you lose your life, you will gain it"). This very will (to let go) is to find life. Its the glory of the cross, this treasure found that had been hidden.
"My friend, blood shaking my heart
The awful daring of a moment's surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
By this, and this only, we have existed
Which is not to be found in our obituaries"
- T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland
"Let's save the analysis for the afterlife." - my good friend Adam Noble
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