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September 12, 2006



Good conversation Troy..I know there's gonna be a few times I missed your points, so call me out there..

On Brueggemann here..McClure takes on postliberalism, narrative theology and any other construction based on a dialectic understanding of scripture in which a centrifugal text creates and nurtures identity. In this understanding, the text’s “saying” becomes tamed as the “said” and the wild and uncontrollable nature of scripture that actually erases identity is lost. McClure argues that the contemporary need is not to gain an identity through which we can protest hegemony but is actually a loss of position and identity. The text continually acts to erase identities, even its own identity in turning us to the other.

On the temptation to avoid this othering and “begin to reposition oneself firmly within the odd linguistic world of the ‘said’ of biblical language…When this happens, however, we stand the chance of losing, once again, this essential wild and alien quality of the scripture as an approach to the other. We can begin to assume that the Bible is servant to our theological dialectics, our rituals of self-transformation: of orientation, disorientation, reorientation. It serves a convenient conversional and incorporating purpose_that is, to bump us off center, only so that we can be recentered by nesting ourselves in the Bible’s linguistic, catechetical, institutional, albeit alternative reality web. This is, however, too domestic and therapeutic ultimately for the word of the Lord.”

Thus, for McClure, there is a need not to form identities as the text is not centrifugal in nature but centripetal. The preacher (he is specifically writing about preaching) is othered by the text. And here I where I think art comes into to play. In the same way (and I know jack about art so Im just speculating here), art is in some ways centripetal, othering. Art leads to a loss of identity. And I wonder whether art within some type of provisional, loose Christian framework works alongside the text to turn us to the other.

“The hard part here is the Barthian move to Word to define the reformed experience of Christ-revealed through the text seems to require we place art within word.”

Indeed! and I like your move to Newbigin here! (Then again I pretty much always like moves to Newbigin!)

“In this, because of the collapse of narrative and practice plus the missiological view of Jesus' Incarnation as an interruptive re-texting event”

I like the collapse of narrative and practice and the idea of the threefold holism. However, I wonder about the Incarnation as a re-texting event. Well, actually, that’s probably where I still fall in line but Im trying to keep this thought about the other in tension. Was the incarnation about texting or about untexting? About forming a new identity that can be solidified or about ripping away identities? Jesus emptied identity, let labels and powers fall away.

“My current take on this otherness approach is that it is hard to land missiologically with it (to give shape to our art).”

Yeah, that is the rub. Here is where I’m at right now. The missio Dei is about being invited in to God’s mission to the world in order to be immediately sent out. That is, it is defining identity by the loss of that identity, a coming inward to be erased and turned to the other. I like to play with different imageries for this conversion; baptism of course, death to self in some way, etc. But any identity that is formed by accepting the call to the missio Dei can only be manifested or even described in the real practices of turning to the other. It is in some way an erasure identity.

So in some way it is not participating in countertestimony that appropriates the language of the hegemony against the hegemony nor in new interpretations or orientations continually experienced. Rather, it is a new language, if we can even speak of language, because the language is an inseparable dimension from this erasure identity. Perhaps though, we can call this art? A new way of speaking, being, living, etc., that is above the double bind rhetoric/counter-rhetoric.



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