Monday, June 15, 2009

Don't freeze life into a solid cube of meaning

While exploring "The Failure of Fundamentalism" in a blog post, Jack Heppner draws on Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul with the quote, "I would define fundamentalism as a defense against the overtones of life, and the richness of imagination."

Paraphrasing Moore’s outlook, Heppner writes, "But our souls crave more than fundamental facts and cookie-cutter molds. They thirst for nuances and overtones, for imagination and heart. Our souls look for meaning behind stories and allusions to the secrets that lie hidden beneath the factual rubble they get covered with. Our souls know instinctively that there is more to reality than statistical data and foolproof boxes in which to store all our experiences."

Heppner then describes his changed approach when reading the Bible: "I no longer feel a need to defend the historical accuracy of every word in each of the gospels, for example. I am free to allow all four writers to draw on the rich pool of memories about Jesus and craft them into unique stories specifically suited for their varied purposes. Even if that means they contradict each other at times. The Bible is a window through which I can see the heart of God and the varied experiences of his people – not an exclusive repository of data that answers every question directly every time."

He may enjoy Moore’s new book, Writing in the Sand: Jesus and the Soul of the Gospels (2009) and Moore’s foreword to Leaving Fundamentalism: Personal Stories (2008), edited by G. Elijah Dann and published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

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