22 August 2009

unpacking a hidden treasure

After four months, my wife Banu and I appear to have landed at a permanent residence. (But then, I'm forced to ask, is any residence on this planet permanent?) Before moving, I expressed my feelings regarding the practice of packing. In recent days, we have been unpacking. I just happened to have stumbled across a hidden treasure in one of my wife's many boxes of books. It is Eugene Peterson's Leap Over a Wall, published in 1997.

I've just begun reading it, but I've already found a little jewel in this book of reflections on the life of David. Peterson talks about the central role that story plays in the scriptures, and how the story of Jesus is linked to the story of David. He makes the (I would think) non-controversial observation that we have more problems with seeing Jesus as human than as divine. We would rather be "spiritual" than "earthy." Now retired, he has elsewhere spoken of his appointment at Regent College in Vancouver as professor of spiritual theology as an "embarrassing position."

On page 8, he says that "the brisk trafficking in gods and religion through the centuries—our own generation not excepted—provides no evidence that it improves competency in being human. If anything, it has a reverse effect: the more religious activity, the less human competency."

Perhaps he's overstating the point, but who can seriously doubt that hiding behind religious jargonand claiming that God has ordered ushas a way of shutting down meaningful discussion? (Especially when we claim that God has ordered us to do things that are anti-human and anti-love!)

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