Monday, June 23, 2008

Historical criticism, theology, faith, and power

James Crossley gives a very interesting post on his recent presentation about the Pope's book on Jesus of Nazareth.

Given some scathing dialogue recently on the Synoptic-L list which I occasionally read in detail, it was very nice to read Crossley in a more relaxed setting.

But that apart, I have been thinking that there is a very simple statement that puts these difficult tensions - HJ-theology-faith-power-and love (does love change everything?) together. And his post suggested to me that I write down that minimalist statement.

We are born seeking power.
We think God must be powerful.
When God becomes like us, we see that
God does not seek power the way we do.
If I pay attention to the power of water, powerful because it seeks the lowest place, then from this tradition of the Tao, I can also see that I must change my mind about what God is really like.

Personally, I think this change of mind must stop me from judging others - though I do draw the line at violence, exploitation, and injustice. But these classes of behaviour are generally clear examples of abuse of power. When the time is right, I think the right judgment will be evident - then we need to decide what we bind and what we loose. The other side of power is of course institutional self-preservation. Sometimes the institution is too fearful to change.

If we cannot express our criticism with the mind of love, then we need to examine our assumptions about what is right. Yes James, love changes everything, beginning with our argumentative nature.

No comments: