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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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Tippett uses her pulpit—both in print and broadcast—to preach the healing power of conversation. "Something magical happens in a real conversation," she writes, "where people bring the clearest words they can muster, and the most natural, to matter and meaning. Paradoxically, what is most personal also lands in other ears as most universal." She says she no longer looks for solutions, systems and overarching themes that "apply to all people and all places." Instead, honoring the humanity of "different others" is her task. Her goal is not to champion a particular worldview, but to "keep sense and virtue and the possibility of healing alive in the middle of the world's complexity."
A commitment to finding the truth in all religious traditions may keep the conversation going, but it can avoid facing the unbridgeable abyss that exists between many religious traditions. The tension for Christians, of course, is that personal experience is not the bedrock of faith, and a focus on first-person narratives may only contribute to the "Sheilaism" or intensive privatization of faith that Robert Bellah warned of back in the '80s. Enamored of mystery, nuance, and questioning even as she finds herself delving into faith systems that are built on certainties and absolutes, Tippett may have chosen a stance that keeps her in a sort of spiritual limbo, where she is ever encouraging of others' accounts of their faith but is left standing on the sidelines of religious experience herself.
Tippett says she has opted for a "clear-eyed faith" that asks her to confront both her own failings and the world's horrors. For her, the Hebrew phrase tikkun olam, to repair the world, is one that holds special resonance. Clearly, listening to others has become a way for Tippett to repair if not save the world—one conversation at a time.
Read it all. I really like Ms. Tippett and her program.
Next entry (above): An interview with Archbishop Mouneer Anis
Previous entry (below): S.C. school-bus incidents: Driving a busload of stress
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