12 September 2008

Lighten Our Darkness

This is the first paragraph of the introduction to Douglas John Hall's, Lighten Our Darkness, Toward an Indigenous Theology of the Cross Because we are celebrating the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on Sunday, and because I will be writing more on that in response to some questions I received, I wanted to post this. First, it is a fine paragraph in and of itself. Secondly, the tension between the elements in the paragraph are those present in the cross in so many ways and on so many levels. I hope it will serve to pique interest and also spur some on to meditate on the relation between expectation and experience in the theology of the cross. Perhaps too some will read this book!! Hall is a fine writer, especially on the theology of the cross in terms of the first world and its needs.

[[Human life is a dialogue between expectation and experience. The function of expectation is to deliver us from bondage to the past. When expectation ceases, there occurs what is called, according to the better understanding of it, death. The function of experience is to keep us tied to the life of the body, to history. When experience ceases to make itself heard in the dialogue, the consequence is illusion. Human life is thus a perilous journey between death and illusion. Few are able to reach the end of the journey before they capitulate to one or the other peril. Most people, before their time runs out, are acquainted with both.]]

Some questions for reflection (I will post more if there is interest; give these a shot!):

1) In what ways is the cross built on a clash between experience and expectations/expectancy? Consider all the characters in the passion narratives and all the stages or aspects of the Cross event; (don't forget to include yourself.)

2) When you err (or when you get "off balance" in your life and spirituality) is it on the side of experience or expectancy, optimism or cynicism? How does your faith in the crucified one correct this imbalance?

3) Does our society err on the side of experience (cynicism) or expectancy (optimism)? How is this clear? How would the Gospel "keep our society honest" or serve to rebalance matters?