Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fun with Theology

I had a fun thought today about one of Thich Nhat Hanh's fourteen precepts of the Order of Interbeing. This happened in my Biblical Spirituality class. I will quote the precept as follows. If you can guess what I did to it, please do. At the end of the post you'll see whether you guessed right! This is from the book Peace is Every Step.
2. Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice non-attachment from views in order to be open to receive others' viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.
Now, laying aside the fact that I actually have a fair amount of agreement with the "truth is found in life" part, and I do actually respect the idea of dialog between viewpoints and worldviews (though not necessarily Nhat Hanh's idea of dialog), I felt like being mean today, so I wrote something in my book that I'll share at the end.

I'm also going to complain about ridiculously epic course titles in theology.

"Poets/Prophets/Divas/Divines." Name for a course being taught next semester on, I believe, the prophetic and wisdom traditions in the Old Testament. Compare with the NT course offered, "Jesus' Ministry in Gospels."

"Revelation, Reason, Reform: 800-1600." Name for a course going right now about the reformation. For the record I've taken two classes from this professor already, and he's awesome--but his class titles have all contained at least one colon.

"Sages, Singers and Songwriters."
"The Life and Work of Augustine of Hippo." Same guy as R,R,R. I don't remember what but there was more in this title.
"The Drama of Modern Christianity." There was more in this title too.
"Biblical Spirituality: Saints and Sinners on a Journey with God."

Anyway, I'm not putting down any of these professors as professors. They're all what I like to call "smart people." Their class titles are just so epic.

Anyway, here's what I did to poor Mr. Nhat Hanh. I should probably feel bad about this, but I don't.
2. Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. [Except math.] Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice non-attachment from views in order to be open to receive others' viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.
Now I'm going to do some more.
2. Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. [Except math.] Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. [Except when your present view is that you shouldn't be bound to your present view.] Learn and practice non-attachment from views in order to be open to receive others' viewpoints. [Unless those others' viewpoints are that you should be attached.] Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. [As said before, I like this. I agree with this.] Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.[I agree with this too. Maybe not quite the way it's meant, but I do agree.]
This is me getting out the stuff that I hold inside, for the most part, during class. Also, since when did nonviolence in all circumstances actually become a realistic moral goal?

1 comment:

llgp said...

Very entertaining, McGee. Maybe you should try your hand at editing the course titles, too!