Christian Sense-Making and Peace-Making

The Christian call to be transformed by the renewal of minds is a call to re-narrate all aspects of human existence from the standpoint of Christian sense-making. Our challenge is to answer the question, ‘What does it mean for us to understand the world from the standpoint of God actively redeeming humanity through Christ?’ When we state it this way, the issue is not whether this act or that act is permitted for Christians, as if God, the divine taskmaster, cannot tolerate the bungling and compromising efforts of human finitude. (I suspect God is accustomed to this.) That is, the issue is not whether we can participate with government troops in the liberation of a starving people, or even whether we can always be puritanically nonviolent as we work in complex war-torn parts of the world or in business in our home town. There is no question that the space which the church occupies in this world is ‘complex space.’ Nor is it a matter of living in such an extremely bureaucratised world that responsibility rather than faithfulness is a more adequate paradigm of moral self-understanding. Instead the issue is how we can challenge the sense-making of life apart from God in Jesus Christ. The issue is how we can ‘sign’ that ‘the Lamb that was slain’ is the victor through whom all of history has received its intelligibility. The issue is one of re-reading, re-perceiving the world. The basic practical question for us is, ‘What are the opportunities to say that it is the bombs and the tanks that are out of step with what really drives the affairs of this world?’ The move beyond secular reason is not a move that ignores non-theological sense-making; it is rather on that refuses to regard such sense-making as either normative or adequate unless it can be translated into theological sense-making. It is a move that points out the entrapments, the oppression, the seductions, the temptations to which we are all subject. And since ‘all’ includes those who confess Christ as lord, the first moral act for us is an act of confession and repentance. In other words, the first act of sense-making (reason) is an act of faithfulness (ethics). – Echoes of the Word, 98-99

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