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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Ethics: Church as Parable

This week we dived into The Church as Parable: Whatever happened to Ethics?, at least the first couple of chapters. Huebner and Schroeder won my heart in the introduction, with the following:

We say that theology must begin with the story of God's revelation in the Bible because only here can we find the real answer to our needs. We are well aware that much tragic violence has been perpetrated in the name of a theology of dominance and power-- even by leaders of the church. However, this is not the fault of beginning with God and the Bible, but the result of misunderstanding the very God that is made known in the biblical story. The God of Jesus Christ is the One whose power is invitation, not dominance, and whose authority is love, not manipulative power. All justification of violence and abuse of human beings in the name of the God of Israel and Jesus is idolatry. Amen. Keep talking, guys. (^_^)

Huebner then goes on in Chapter 2 to discuss the value of theological language in ethical discourse, over and against the psychological language that is generally the jargon employed. I really liked this. I think we avoid using phrases like "righteous living," and "submission to God" because we don't want to sound like a fundamentalist, as less intelligent. Well, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; in a way, its a case of "use it or lose it." If we do not accept, or at least struggle openly with these concepts in ethical expression, we are allowing the world of Christian theology to be coopted and devalued. The reality of Jesus' death and resurrection is part of my "virtue narrative," and both forms and informs my ethical thinking. I am a Christian; why should I be afraid to sound like one?


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