Sunday, June 3, 2007

Imaginitve Remembering

From Walter Brueggemann's "An Introduction to the Old Testament":

"The liberal Christian's temptation is to accommodate dominant culture until faith despairs. The conservative Christian's temptation is to fashion an absoluteness that stands disconnected from the dominant culture. Neither of these strategies, however, is likely to sustain the church in its mission. More likely, we may learn from and with Jews the sustaining power of imaginative remembering, the ongoing lively process of traditioning that is sure to be marked by ideological interest that, in the midst of such distinctiveness, may find fresh closures of reality not ”conformed to this world.” The preaching, teaching, and study of Torah is in order to ’set one’s heart’ differently, to trust and fear differently, to align oneself with an alternative account of the world. All this Israel fashioned and practiced— imaginatively resolved, ideolofically driven, inspired beyond interest– under the large, long, fierce voice of Moses. "



Cabe said...

Nice. Did you buy this book too?

Kj said...

no, but maybe now I will. found the reference on sheddy's blog.

Garth said...

Nice quote. Of course, the forced choice between two unappealing paths for religion applies as well to modern Judaism as it does to Christianity.

As a contemporary Jew, I am unable to reconcile myself to the retrograde morality and theology of the orthodoxy, but am turned off by a vagueness of purpose and hollowness of spirit in (lower case 'l') liberal manifestations of Judaism, which abandon tradition altogether (remember that terrible Yom Kipur service we went to on the Lower East Side?).

Kj said...

I definately remember that Yom Kipur, and what was so sad (or what I was wanting) was that so much of it was really beautiful, but it completely lacked meaning. it was hollow- on the day that's almost impossable to strip meaning from.

What I love about Brueggeman's quote, is the naming of how the scriptures "set one's heart differently" and the idea of what will we align with- I've been thinking a lot about what Christians today align themselves with- and in general, how diametrically opposite those things are to what Jesus aligned with.

And i love the idea of imaginative remembering, because it gives weight, fullness and life to the ideas contained in tradition- not hollow ritual, but engaged, conitnued fulfilment of an ever expanding narrative of redemption and reconciliation- or more Old testament appropriate- Deliverence- that we still live out the Exodus today- that's why it's important.

Garth said...

Indeed: through all the evolutions and revolutions that have occured, all the disagreements we have in matters of theology, liturgy, ritual and the law, we (and here I speak of the various and divergent strains of Judaism and Christianity) still share these texts, which-to borrow Brueggeman's eloquent phraseology-we imaginatively remember, and which do indeed set our hearts differently, and change the way we see ourselves and the world around us.

Jen HW said...

I have nothing smart to add. :-) But I just wanted to say thanks for sharing this passage, and having this conversation on a blog so I can eavesdrop. :-) It speaks to some questions I've been mulling over the past several months.

Love you, Kj. And you too, Garth.

Kj said...

please blog, if you're not already. I need your voice!