Friday, August 27, 2010

self-selecting outsiders

Part of the attraction of fundamentalist discourse, and this fundamentalism can be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Marxist, or secularist, is the way it allows partially self-selecting 'outsiders' from mainstream culture (and we are all such partially self-selecting 'outsiders' now) to see themselves as secret 'insiders' with a direct line in to What's Really Going On.

James Alison. Broken Hearts and New Creations. New York: Continuum, 2010. 38.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

being forgiven

Imagine what it is like to be approached by your forgiving victim. It is actually very difficult indeed to spend time thinking about our being approached by our forgiving victim! What is it like to actually undergo being forgiven? We tend to try to resolve this by saying, 'Oh, it's not being forgiven that matters. It's forgiving: I must forgive!' So we work ourselves up into a moral stupor, straining ourselves to 'forgive the bastard!' This then becomes very, very complicated. But in fact the Christian understanding is quite the reverse: it's because we are undergoing being forgiven that we can forgive; and we need to forgive in order to continue undergoing being forgiven. But remember: it's because we are approached by our victim, that we start to be undone. Or in Paul's language: 'even though you were dead in your sins he has made you alive together in Christ.' Someone was approaching you even when you didn't realize there was a problem, so that you begin to discover, 'Oh! So that's what I've been involved in.'

James Alison. Undergoing God: Dispatches from the Scene of a Break-in. New York: Continuum, 2006. 64-65.