Skip to main content

Home away from home

I'm just reading (or rather skipping through) Erich Gruen's excellent book, Diaspora: Jews amidst Greeks and Romans (Harvard, 2002). In it he suggestes there were two ways in which the Jews related to their situation as diaspora, i.e. living being away from their homeland. The first was negative, to think in terms of "exile, a bitter and doleful image, offering a bleak vision that leads either to despair or to a remote reverie of restoration." Or a positive approach, to seek "refuge in a conforting concept: that Jews require no territorial sanctuary or legitimation. They are "the people of the Book." Their homeland resides in the text." (p232) And how did the diapora Jews "make their home in the text"? Well, primarily by meeting regularly with each other, to read and interpret those texts in their diaspora locality (p116).

I think this is an important concept for us Christians given how much pressure, traditional forms of church, and especially the 'sermon' is currently under. As a diaspora ourselves we need to maintain our emphasis on making our home in the text and not the world. We need to ensure that in the desire to do something different we do not lose that diaspora imperative to regularly meet for the reading and interpretation of the text that gives us our identity, that we don't stop being 'people of the Book.'

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Addictive Power of End Times Speculation

The mighty Rhett Snell has picked up his blog again (I wonder how long he'll last this time), check out his theory on why people get so into annoyingly unbiblical end times nonsense.

I think that where codes-and-calendars end times theology is dangerous, is that it can give a sense of false growth. We read a theory online, or hear it from some bible teacher, and we come to think that we have mastered an area of our faith. A bit like levelling up in a computer game, or Popeye after he’s eaten some spinach. At worst, we begin to believe that we’ve taken a step that other Christians have not; that we’ve entered an elite class of Christianity.

The false link between suicide and mental illness

One characteristic of human society is the tendency to keep doing something over and over again despite it not working. One example would be our approach to incarcerating criminals to punish them instead of rehabilitating them, compounding their trauma and making it harder for them to live productive law-abiding lives when they get out. But this is the "common-sense" approach, the intuitive human response to the failings of others, punish them and they wont dare do it again. It has never worked, ever, but let's keep doing it. Secular society is screwed because it cannot comprehend that its vision is blurred by sin and therefore knee-jerk, common sense solutions are usually destructive and counter-productive.

So it is with our response to suicide. To kill yourself must be the response of the weak minded and sick - so the thinking goes - so to combat rising suicide we treat individuals medically. Yet suicide is a perfectly rational response to a world as broken as ours and…

Wars and Rumours of Wars

I write in the morning after the USA 2016 Elections, which featured the historic election of Donald Trump. Apart from my personal interested as a resident of planet Earth at this time, it is interesting to note some of the apocalyptic language emerging in discussions of what this means. Even archaeologists are turning to the medium of prophecy. Hear the word of Tobias Stone,
So I feel it’s all inevitable. I don’t know what it will be, but we are entering a bad phase. It will be unpleasant for those living through it, maybe even will unravel into being hellish and beyond imagination. Humans will come out the other side, recover and move on.  Stone suggests that future historians will be able to draw clear lines from Brexit to Trump to the 3rd World War, or something equally bad. Mind you, just because historians can draw those lines doesn't mean they are here.

Then there is the word of Thom Hartman who is more interested in the domestic fallout than the fallout shelter. 
The last …