Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Reading" for Relationship, a Quotation from Sandra Schneiders

I'm reading a book by Sandra Schneiders called The Revelatory Text: Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scripture. Schneiders describes scripture as a "text of meeting" with God, rather than as a codification of propositions. Tellingly, I first came across the book in an essay on "Reading for Transformation." I'm sharing a quotation here from it contrasting two ways of understanding the purpose of scripture and the two ways of reading which follow. Of course, as Schneiders would point out, it is not just scripture but the whole world that we can "read" towards this end, that God would meet us in, that God would "self-disclose" through.
If scripture is understood as a repository of divinely revealed true propositions and moral absolutes, then [its use or its demands on us] will appear as an application of those propositions and absolutes, literally understood, to matters theological, missionary, and personal. If [on the other hand] scripture is understood as a sacrament of divine revelation, of God's historical self-disclosure, then [the way to use it or the way that it calls on us] will be understood as the ever-developing guiding influence on our thought and action of an ever-deepening familiarity with God in Jesus. For those seeking absolute norms for knowledge and behavior, the latter position will appear incoherent, unstable, and finally inadequate. For those who realize that the only God worth knowing is a personal God, and that all personal relationships are dialogical and relative, the "uncontrollability" of God's self-revelation is a source of joyful astonishment and an invitation to the unwavering confidence that only a endlessly original love can justify.


living stones said...

That was an encouraging quote, Paul. God is all about relationships. Thank you for posting this.


RC said...

Paul, this is very powerful, very meaningful. I love that we are called into a living relationship with the Scriptures and, most importantly, through them into living relationship with the living God. Thank you for sharing this!

John Orzechowski said...

Beautiful quote. Thanks for sharing. I pray that I might cultivate this communion/communication with God in the text and the world.

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