Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Am I closer to right or further to stupid?

A recent post on the postliberal theology group run by my friend Chris Criminger elicited the following response from yours truly.

[Dear so and so:] I am unsure how to read your post. As I understand it, postmodernity, and, really hermeneutics (the philosophy/Athens behind your argument for piety/Jerusalem), gets us to realize our limitations. It makes us aware of the reasons behind why we say things. In the words of N. T. Wright, it makes us be "grown up and nuanced" in our thinking. As I understand it, there is a great difference between Socrates saying, "I know nothing" and a freshman at Seminary saying exactly the same thing.

If you have arrived at Socrates, then I salute you and I hope you will continue to share your thoughts on the way forward for the anemic church in the West; but if you are naively throwing your hat in with the freshman pseudo-sophisticate, then I caution. Then I would say that you may have read some postmodernism (or even, say, some Enlightenment modernism) but that you didn't understand where it was going (namely, right at your own presuppositions). I'd also recommend a book to you: Jens Zimmerman. Recovering Theological Hermeneutics (Baker Academic 2004) In it Zimmerman argues that Christianity is a radically interpretive religion. The Christian cannot escape the "interpretiveness" of life, and cannot cease struggling to interpret his faith to and within the ever-changing context of daily living. It is a thesis with which I heartily agree even as I wish and long for it not to be the case, yearning for the simplicity and rest of simpler times which may never come again.

Therefore, I hardly know how to take your words as you say, "Christianity has but one salvation: Christ Jesus, and him crucified. Our language games obscure his words." Have you stepped outside language? Have you found a presuppositionless place in which to stand? Have you escaped the deep context of culture and class into which you, me, and everyone finds themselves inescapably immersed? If so, please share. No, it is your responsibility to share what you have learned.

; ; ; .