Saturday, 27 December 2008

Mega grace-reality!

Chris gets so philosophical much goes over my head, but his latest post is fascinating - Christianity is not a meta-narrative. I always thought it was a problem that postmoderns are sceptical of metanarrative. I thought the gospel is a metanarrative: history is in fact a big story with a start and finish. But apparantly that's not what metanarrative is. I think that metanarrative is an abstracted story, an ideal designed to legitimise the practice of a person or group of people. So people are scared of ideals - Communism had a metanarrative, an ideal, and people lived for it, die for it, and control others by it. Fascism too. Christianity? Well, it seems like an ideal. It's got a big story for which people live and die. It can be used to control others. But the difference should be in the direction.

The story of Christianity is not an abstraction into a higher ideal, used to justify action. Rather, it's the original. It's the primary reality. We don't think up a metanarrative: we find ourselves in a meganarrative. We don't use abstractions to control the weak; we find ourselves caught up in Reality in our weakness, in what seems like a story of weakness, and may invite others to share it, knowing that in the end the slaughtered lamb will win the day. This is no dreamed up metanarrative to be scared of. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. This is no idealism. This is reality. Not meta-. Mega!

Would another way to say this be to say that Christianity is the grace-reality, not a meta-narrative?


Chris said...

you've got it! There are a number of nuances, but I just wanted to get the conversation going - just got back from pub so I'm SO glad to find you've picked up the link with grace. I plan to write on that next - insofar as God's big story does motivate by future reward, it's by grace, which humbles and shames "the strong". Wonderful expression - we don't make up a metanarrative, we find ourselves in a meganarrative.

The second part of this is that the gospel of justice in the future kingdom is established by the crucified and risen Jesus - not just true, it's...well, magnificat!

Dave K said...

Beautiful stuff.