Embodying the Way August 3, 2009Posted by Matt in Christian Beliefs.
Tags: I am the way, Jesus, Marcus Borg, metaphor, scripture
From Marcus Borg’s Reading the Bible Again for the First Time.
Regarding the passage from John 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.”
In short, for John the way or path of Jesus is the path of death and resurrection understood as a metaphor for the religious life. That way – the path of dying to an old way of being and being born into a new way of being – is the only way to God. … The way of Jesus is a universal way, known to many who have never heard of Jesus.
The way of Jesus is thus not a set of beliefs about Jesus. That we ever thought it was is strange, when one thinks about it – as if one entered new life by believing certain things to be true, or as if the only people who can be saved are those who know the word “Jesus.” Thinking that way virtually amounts to salvation by syllables. Rather, the way of Jesus is the way of death and resurrection – the path of transition and transformation from an old way of being to a new way of being.
Finally, the language of incarnation, so central to John, is crucial in understanding the threefold affirmation of this verse: Jesus is not only “the way,” but also “the truth, and the life.” Incarnation means embodiment. Jesus is the way – Jesus is what the way embodied in a person looks like. Jesus is the truth – Jesus is what the truth embodied in a person looks like. Jesus is the life – Jesus is what life (real life) embodied in a person looks like. Taking Jesus seriously is not about a set of beliefs but about a person in whom we see embodied the way, the truth, and the life.
Deconstructing Jesus – pt.2 February 21, 2008Posted by Matt in deconstruction, philosophy, postmodernism, religion.
Tags: Christianity, deconstruction, Derrida, language, metaphor, postmodernism, relativism
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Thank you, everyone, for your great comments on the last entry.
Yesterday, we took a cursory glance at Derrida’s claim that, “there is nothing outside the text,” and its implications that language is the filter through which we see the world. Language, then, is not simply what is actually written or spoken, rather it is the interpretations of our life experiences. The interpretations themselves may be of actual events or objects, but, the only way that we, as humans, have to express them is through the avenue of metaphor.
A simple example would be in your view of some concrete object. I look at my shirt and I see the color red. Waves of light are emitted from the sun, they bounce off my shirt and into my eye. My brain then instantly takes that snapshot of what it sees and compares it to prior knowledge, coming up with various descriptive words – one of which is “red.” I then unconsciously make a comparison with other “red” things I’ve looked at before in my life and think, “my shirt is red like a fire truck.” The only way for us to truly experience something is through a sort of comparative analysis that is usually done deep in the recesses of our brain. But, not everyone shares the same metaphors. Another person may look at my shirt and say to themselves, “his shirt is red like a stoplight,” or “his shirt is red like the barn near the house I grew up in.” The interpretations are not and can not be incorrect in this example (well, if say my shirt is blue then you may want to see a doctor), rather they are just based on prior knowledge gained from some life experience.
Thus, our interpretations are always based on some prior knowledge and experience.
Nobody has the same prior knowledge and experience.
Then, everyone has a different interpretation.
Therefore the “text” metaphor of our lives is relative to the individual.
Next: The Undeconstructible