You suggest that the Bible's teachings come "not only in well-stated propositions, but also through brilliant stories and moving poetry." Has the contemporary church been less effective in presenting good stories about marriage than in stating propositions?
I don't know that I would say the church has been great at laying out rules, and I don't think it's actually been very practical. The theological tends to be propositions. The polemical tends to be arguments. The practical uses lots of stories to give you the gist of what a good marriage should be like. Somewhere in Mystery and Manners, Flannery O'Connor was asked to put the basic point of her short story in a nutshell. She said, 'If I could put it in a nutshell, I wouldn't have had to write the story.'
I believe she says a story can't be paraphrased.
Yes, that's right. I think what she means is a story gives you an excess of meaning that no proposition could possibly convey, or even a set of propositions. There's meaning that comes with a narrative that is certainly somewhat propositional—you can put some of it into propositions—but the impact is greater.
On a practical level, the church doesn't do a great job of giving people a vision for what God wants marriage to be.
Read it all.
Posted November 8, 2011 at 5:16 am
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