Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 3, 2nd Take

Weird!  I came back to make a quick post about Phyllis Tickle's book, The Words of Jesus: A Gospel of the Sayings of Our Lord, and noticed that the post I had made a bit earlier tonight never posted!  It has been eaten up by the internet!

I'm taking it as a sign that what I was posting didn't really need to be read. I'll take it as a hint from the fates that it's better not to say such things in this forum.  Now, you're curious aren't you? Ok, so maybe not!

I'm thoroughly enjoying Tickle's writing.  I think this is the first time I've read her.  Last year at the Christianity 21 Conference she stole my heart.  She was witty, sharp, on target, and sweet.  It was a real pleasure to listen to her speak--especially with Sarcastic Lutheran!

I'm not even a third of the way through so I'm not offering a book review--rather I'm encouraging you to pick it up and read it for yourself. 

So here is what I fell in love with yesterday afternoon:
...That in addition to the approaches of the literal and the metaphorical camps there is a third way of knowing the Scriptures.  There is --for want of a better word--actualness.  There is interior to Scripture a holiness that is subject neither to literalness nor to metaphorical translation, but rather is the irreducible, ineluctable cohesian of it.  The holiness of Scripture is its actualness, its unsplitable state; and conversely, the actual existence or pith or vitality of Scripture is its holiness.  That is, by assuming an interior rather than an exterior point of view in considering Scripture, I became persuaded by two things:  the bald-faced truth of it and the impossibility of ever, in time, receiving its full meaning.
Actualness acknowledges that Scripture is not literal and neither is it merely metaphorical--rather it is more than both of those.  It is seeking the heart of Scripture--taking it as it is even when it's something as radical and awful as Jesus saying to love your enemies.    Jesus was constantly saying things that we water down and suggest that he didn't quite mean them the way it sounds and yet some people like Phyllis Tickle, Shane Clairborne, Jim Wallis, and many others would argue that Jesus did say what he meant.  Jesus did mean for us to give up our stuff and follow him.  Yet, it does not mean that God literally crafted and created and breathed life into creation in 7 days, nor 7 days that signify some other strange and magical mathematical formulation that makes sense to some other folks.  It is what it is...God crafted, created, and breathed life into our world in ways in which are deep and rich with meaning beyond what we see and understand at first glance.

Actualness (according to Tickle) is what Jesus was when he healed on the Sabbath to the dismay of the Pharisees.  Jesus says he did not come to destroy the law but to make it come to life more fully--this is what Tickle describes in this book.  It's beautiful.  It's not terribly new int he scheme and histories of Christianity but for those of us in this time and place it can be thought of as cutting edge.

Getting to the heart of it without watering it down--accepting the Scriptures with what they say and going even further, delving more deeply into their meaning so that we can more fully understand.

I'm tired and my thoughts are a bit discombobulated.  Please check out Tickle's book you won't regret it!  (r perhaps you might but that's your problem!  :)

1 comment:

Mompriest said...

well, now I want to get her book and read it. thanks!