An Anti-Totalizing Metanarrative?

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March 14, 2017 by jmw

“The biblical narrative thus addresses our postmodern situation with both compassion and power. But does this metanarrative escape the postmodern charge of totalization and violence? On our analysis, it does far more than that. Far from promoting violence, the story the Scriptures tell contains the resources to shatter totalizing readings, to convert the reader, to align us with God’s purposes of shalom, compassion and justice.

Such transformation is, of course, never guaranteed. It is not a mechanical function of the text, but depends on our response, we who claim this text as canonical. This means that we must be willing for the biblical text to judge our constructions, to call us into question, to convert us. In one sense, then, the charge of totalization addressed to Christianity can only be answered by the concrete, non-totalizing life of actual Christians, the body of Christ who as living epistles (2 Cor. 3:1-3) take up and continue the ministry of Jesus to a suffering and broken world. That is ultimately the only answer that counts. Thus, the point of our articulation of Scripture as non-totalizing and counter-ideological is not simply an apologetic ploy, a pat answer to postmodern objection so we can get back to business as usual. Instead, we tell this liberating story so that the Scripture might be a living resource, contributing to the genuine empowerment of the church in the exercise of its mission in a postmodern world.”

– Richard Middleton and Brian Walsh, Truth is Stranger than It Used To Be


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