Saturday, October 06, 2012

XIV Manchester Talk May 31, 2012

To sum up: we need to reconsider the methodology we use; we need to re-explore our Christian heritage which has to a great extent been lost, experimenting with the two epistemologies model in every aspect of our lives; and we need to incorporate the evidence of contemporary neuro-psychology and Margaret Barker's discoveries about the First Temple liturgy of atonement, which symbolically re-enacted the transfiguration of the mind in order to heal the breach created by the people's destructiveness to the ecology.
Contemporary scholarly methodology is at war with the texts it purports to explicate. It is folly to use a methodology to examine texts that teach contemplation using the very system of thought against which they are written. To use a methodology that demands closure on a text that is leading the reader into infinite openness; to employ a methodology that imposes a single epistemology on texts that are based on two epistemologies working in concert not only destroys them, but also locks the reader into lesser beholdings, into his or her own self-consciousness. This is a recognized problem in philosophy, and if philosophy, then even more ipsa philosophia Christus. As Karmen MacKendrick notes:
We still must use words; we still must draw out the questions that lie within philosophy. It is only that we have learned that we must use philosophy against itself, wrap our words around spaces without words, and leave them wordless, as if they could thus be kept, though we know that we lose them together with ourselves.[1]
McKendrick's words, along with the model I have presented, with its correlations in modern neuro-psychology, and Margaret Barker's discoveries from a former age, suggest that a viable theology for the twenty-first century must be relational and molecular, employing a rationality that may use the linear as a critical tool, but which goes beyond it to its full flowering in the deep mind. To engage such a theology, language generated by the self-conscious mind must continually be sounded, refined and layered in the echo chamber of the deep mind, so that it becomes more truly incarnational.
But how this might be accomplished must remain a topic for another day.

[1] Karmen MacKendrick, Immemorial Silence (New York, 2001), p. 5.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came to the talk in Manchester and I am glad that you have posted it on your blog. I read the whole talk last night and will read it again. Thanks for the talk and the writers you mention in it - I am in the process of reading some of them. I have thought quite a bit about your talk and the word 'behold' and how I might open myself more to the One who engages with both the deep mind and the self-conscious mind. I have a sense that your words flow from time spent in an attitude of receptivity to God. I think that a lot of the life of the general parish church is engaged in the shallows rather than the depths but I would also like to defend the clergy (and many parishioners)because we are often forced into 'busyness' by the demands of 'keeping the show on the road'. I am constantly struggling with the sense that time spent praying or reading (or responding to a very thought provoking talk) is a luxury I can't afford - that I am wasting my time and should be doing something 'useful'. I would appreciate your thoughts about possible ways into silence. I recognize that engaging with God in this way could be transfiguring both for me and for those I am called to behold.

10:24 pm, October 09, 2012  

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