OK just to avoid disappointing anyone this is not going to be a detailed line-by-line analysis of the 1981 number by Journey, although there is probably a need for someone to do that important work on the web sometime soon.
This post series will attempt to dialogue with a few of the things I’ve been reading and listening to lately, that all seem to be shining a light on the same issue. My conversation partners will be people like Diana Butler-Bass, Greg Boyd, Philip Clayton, Richard Beck and hopefully some Harvey Cox. If I can get my head around some apophatic stuff it would be could do include some Rowan Williams in the mix too.
What’s the series going to look at? I want to play around with concepts such as “faith”, “belief”, “knowledge” and “truth”. I don’t particularly want to take this from the philosophical epistemology angle, although there is some useful material there. Instead I want to keep the conversation on a pragmatic and even practical level. My imaginary conversation partners will be the top Sunday School class. If this stuff isn’t helpful to a bunch of smart 15 year olds, then it still needs some further cultural translation.
I’m going to start with an observation by Diana Butler-Bass in her recent Christianity after Religion http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_24?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=christianity+after+religion&sprefix=christianity+after+relig%2Caps%2C288 . She makes the point that our English word “belief” of “believer” has undergone something of a 90 degree etymological twist over the past 600 years or so. The German root “belieben”, makes it more obvious. When the German’s say “Ich liebst du” – “I love you” they are speaking of a mixture of affection and commitment, not intellectual assent. Somehow we have turned the beauty of belief into some cold set of things to be intellectually assented to. The One we believe in, is the one who captivates our hearts, who engages our imagination, who beguiles our wandering will and who sparks joy at the very thought of their presence. Moreover I find I cannot really chose to whom my heart is beholden – what’s going on is far more deep and powerful than any intellectual choice. This is only part of the picture, but a good place to start. So what, or more usefully, whom, do you believe?