Outline of Post on the Scripture Session held on 11/24/13
- Previous Week’s [11/17/13] Review
THE FOLLOWING THREE POINTS WILL BE POSTED AFTER THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY. HAVE A SAFE AND HEALTHY ONE. REMEMBER THOSE WHO ARE ALONE WITH NONE TO GATHER WITH, TO CELEBRATE.
- Background to today’s Reading
- Reading: Gen. 33: 18 – 34:31
Previous Week’s [11/17/13] Review
If you read last week’s post you will know that the last part of our conversation addressed the growing cultural conflict over the celebration of Christmas in our economy and in our public square. I had wanted to merely affirm that this conversation revealed what mattered to the group that gathered. Although I intended to move directly to the passage for our consideration, such was not to be the case.
For almost the next half hour we revisited this area of conflict and concern. Here is a selection of concerns, thoughts, observations made by the group presented without comment.
- Not allowing Christmas Carols sung in our schools
- No longer saying the Pledge of Allegiance in our schools
- Stores requiring their employees to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas
- Attempts to take “in God we trust” out of the Pledge of Allegiance and off of our currency
- “They” want Christ out of Christmas
- President Obama requiring that a Christian symbol be covered up at his Georgetown University talk on the economy a couple of years ago.
In reflecting on these remarks, I want to begin by expanding the context of what we have to say to the world in which we actually live. It is that world in all of its concreteness that establishes for better or worse the context of our conversations. Keep in mind I am not talking about our world only but also about THE world whatever we think that world actually is .
Allow me to state the obvious we live in a diverse society that has changed over time. The very make up, the demographics of our [US] society, has changed and the direction of that change is fairly clear. We are becoming more and more diverse. It won’t be long before Europeans will no longer make up the majority of our society which will be the first time in US history. Peoples from South America, Hispanics, and peoples from Asia are growing in number and therefore in their percentage of the whole. The very world in which this growing diversity of people has grown up, moreover, has and is changing at an ever more rapid pace.
The changes are clear in the incredible scientific breakthroughs that have transformed our understanding of the world, the universe, perhaps universes. We live in a global world dominated not by politics but by a global economy. At the same time the global world is, in some ways, becoming a global village due to the impact of our technologies, especially, the Internet and social media. Almost all of our institutions, whether it is the family, education, health, politics, etc., are being strained to a limit raising fundamental questions about their very nature.
Without our hardly knowing it, our very understanding of the past is changing. We are moving from a classical understanding of our culture, our moral norms, our institutions in which there is one correct cultural, one correct set of moral norms, one correct set of institutions to an understanding in the throes of an historical mindedness unevenly understood which is transforming that way of thinking to one rooted in the historically conditioned fact. These are terms that beg for clarification but I must allow the limit of space and time to leave them as mere pointers to a vast, changing, and at times quite unclear world. We are left with questions of which there are contrasting and conflicting answers.
Now to speak of religion, we live in a multi-religious global world. For believers a religious world that emerges out of and heads back to a transcendent God of all that is. For the believer that is the world that God has chosen them to be alive in. It just is. There is no escape. The invitation is rooted in our very existence which is historically conditioned. We live in the US in the 21st c.
So Rosemarie’s telling us to back up our beliefs with facts occurs in the world that I have attempted to merely hint at in the preceding paragraphs. A world that confirms the awesome and awful truth of Faryl’s wonder, what world do I live in, which in turn can be addressed to each human being for we share the actual real world, universe, universes. It is one but our understanding, judging, valuing is hardly one. We lie at the core of the diversity, difference, conflict. It is we who are called to become the one that the universe is but not a one that is simple like God but a one that is diverse like we are. The challenge in backing up our beliefs with facts, is also to find “facts” that support not only our own position but the positions of those who think differently than we do, live in different worlds. That is hard work. It is our work. Fortunately for the Christian believer, it is not our work alone; for THE world in which we live is suffuse with the presence of God the Father, the Son, Jesus the Christ and their Spirit. We are never alone.
For the remainder points in our outline above see my post early next week.
You are invited to respond to these or other questions that might arise within you as you read this passage. Your comments, observations, questions are welcomed. See “comment” link below