Thursday, July 30, 2009

the sound of clashing symbols

...When you come across something in the Bible that is not immediately clear to you, think of it symbolically. Then listen to the symbol. Rather than tear it apart, looking for its meaning, wait to see what sort of experience it yields. Postmodern faith can be a faith that leads to an experience of the living Christ.
Chuck Smith Jr, There Is A Season, p. 114

I simply find this incredible. Don't worry about what the biblical passage means? Don't do research trying to understand what the passage says?

What, for example, does it mean to think of David and Goliath symbolically? Does thinking of it symbolically mean seeing it as merely something like a Godzilla movie (yes, I'm watching one as I write this)? Godzilla, after all, originated as a symbol of the bad outcomes of the use of nuclear weapons. But would you know that if, say, you areonly saw "Godzilla vs Hedorah (the smog monster)"? If that's all you knew of Godzilla, you'd likely think he was a silly monster with goofy music fighting a big-red-eyed muppet while humans disco-dance and have a Japanese Woodstock.

What does David and Goliath symbolize? The little bringing down the giant? A rather shallow interpretation, if you take the account serious and literal. God's looking out for His people? Better, but if all it is is a symbol, a fairy tale without fairies, then using a fiction to make that claim does take away from the point.

I suspect that the symbolizing is a way of dealing with not-nice things in the Bible, things that are supposedly "offensive" to the modern (postmodern) mind. Like Creation, or Hell, or end-times teachings that don't see people in a positive light.

Or David and Goliath, where a young man uses a sling and stone to floor the giant, and sword to take his head off. Such violence, it must be explained away.

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