Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Care to Comment?

I'm reading this book right now, "On Being A Christian" by Hans Kung. It's not a "easy" read, very wordy and lofty, but it's stuff I love, text-bookish, heavy on history and philosophy. The book was written in German. It makes me wish I was back in college and discussing this with a group of peers. There's always a section that comes up that I have to reread two or three or five times. Kung must be the Dennis Miller of German theology! I love the guy.

Here is an example of one of those sections and I'd love to hear what you think of this one-sentence-paragraph:

"Might it not therefore help us to take a longer and more discerning view of day-to-day party politics and thus to get rid of many rigidly held opinions, to be less surprised by young people who merely seem to be worse than ever before, to remain open-minded and not entirely without hope for a new future, so that we can get away from the false alternatives and polarizations of modern society into which we are frequently unwillingly drawn and which present us with numerous unnecessary conflicts?"

If you didn't notice, that is an interrogative sentence.

My answer is a resounding: "Yes."

There are three or four nuggets in there that I can really get behind: (1) Get rid of rigidly held opinions. Yes! (2) Young people only MERELY SEEM to be worse than ever before. I love youth and they're not any more screwed up than I was. Reminds me of the Paul Harvey quote, "In times like these it's good to remember that there have always been times like these!" (3) We must remain open-minded (yes, even as Christians) and we must never lose hope for the future. (4) Polarizations are false and they really do draw me into unnecessary conflicts. I don't want to waste any more time on unnecessary conflicts.

Wow, talk about a juicy and fully-loaded paragraph. Love it! Well, hope one of you comment on the Kung quote.

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Blogger Sharon Genton said...

OK I will bite...

(2) Young people only MERELY SEEM to be worse than ever before. I love youth and they're not any more screwed up than I was. Reminds me of the Paul Harvey quote, "In times like these it's good to remember that there have always been times like these!"

Wow..I could not have read this blog at a more perfect time than tonight! As I struggle through my first teenager..I grasp on to the truth that "I'm not in control" If "I" could survive this age, so can he. My son has a story that is already written. I have to trust that God will be with him the way He was with me. Damn that's hard!

9:57 PM  
Blogger Truth said...

"Nuggets" numbers 1 and 3 are really the same thing: open-minded plurality = good, narrow-minded certainty = bad.

The truth, however, is that there are many things that Scripture indicates we should never, ever waver on. Of course, if your point is that these "nuggets" are applicable to our political worldview only, then that's another issue. I just want to make sure that there's no misunderstanding here - as Christians, we are instructed (frequently and vehemently by Scripture) not to be "open-minded" all the time. Instead, we are to use the discernment given to us by the Holy Spirit. "... that, by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2)

With regard to #4, if you mean polarization as limited to the political realm only, then - while I might disagree with the allegation of the universal falsehood of all polarizing statements - I would still have nothing to say against your position. However, once again, don't let this worldview creep into your Christianity - consistently, Christ uses antitheses (which are, by definition, polarizing!) to make His point throughout the Gospels. So, political polarization? Fine. ALL polarization? Not at all.

Examples of Jesus being polarizing include:
- sheep/goats
- good and faithful servant/I never knew you
- sons of Abraham/sons of the devil

Just want to make sure we're clear where polarization is okay.

2:01 PM  
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