Truth is only truth inside the story in which it is told.

Emotion is the raw material of rationality.

Culture is the emotion of a society.

Emotions are the physical manifestation of story.

Community is more basic than individuality.

Truth is not relativistic; truth is relativtastic!

A body is not made up of parts; the body is the precondition necessary for a part to be what it is.

Before we are a person, we are the product of a people.

Feeling vs Fixing

At the heart of the gospel message is God’s choice of feeling over fixing. To feel alongside someone is the heart of empathy and the prerequisite for connection. To fix is the clearest sign that we think we are in control of the outcome and can make things right on our own. Empathy changes lives. Self help reinforces loneliness.

One of the greatest downfalls of most modern evangelical forms of Christianity is the radical emphasis on salvation as God’s clear and unmistakable effort to fix all that has gone wrong in the world. While it is true and significant to see the hope that things are not as they will always be, to focus on fixing rather than feeling is to miss the very heart of the gospel message.

In scripture and over the course of history, we see that God did not choose to simply fix the world in the blink of an eye. God chose to feel with us; to take on flesh and dwell among us; to join us in the deepest pit and say “Me too.” The bible itself is the clearest evidence we could hope to find that God is a feeler, not a fixer. What we find in scripture is not a simple reminder of how God fixed everything in the blink of an eye. We find reminder after reminder that God is with us through every season of life, and God will be faithful to the very end.

Story is the shape of culture. Culture is the emotion of community. Community is the birthplace of individuality. Individuality is the acceptance and rejection of the stories we are given. The stories we are given are the shape of our emotion. Emotion is the raw material of life. Life is the intersection of story, culture, community, individuality, and emotion.

Faith and reason are not opposed. Faith is the context in which reason is capable of operating. Faith is more a lens handed down than it is a decision we can make. This is not to say that the faith which is given to make me what I am is determinant of of who I will always be; nor is it to say that there is an I who exists apart from the stories that have written me. The point is simply to say that the agency capable of reason is neither separable from nor determined by the lens of faith that is already given.

Perhaps the main reason so many modern Christians fall away from the church is because they have fallen out of love with God. The radical emphasis on knowledge is a manifestation of our gnostic tendencies to seek out information about God rather than to experience and share the pervasive love of God. As in any relationship, love does not deepen by finding out any amount of information. Love only develops as trust deepens and emotional intimacy grows.