Sunday, July 01, 2007

Clearing the way for a theology of relevance

This post is a follow up to the previous post along with its resulting comments. I'm very happy that such a lively discussion developed, and I need to clear the ground before moving on to give a theological account of relevance.

1) So far, I have been sketching a non-theological, analytical argument about relevance. I, being a theologian, have not been able to keep theological language completely out, but I have attempted to do so.

2) Thanks to Travis' and Tim's comments, I realize that I need to make a distinction between objective and subjective relevance. Objectively, the claims of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are relevant to each and every individual because their lives forever have been determined by the Person and Work of Christ. Subjectively, the claims of the Gospel are relevant only to those people who have the ability (read: have been given the ability) to see themselves as addressed by it. They have made themselves (read: have been made) relevant to the Gospel (they have been changed to see themselves as addressees) and in so doing, the Gospel "has become" subjectively what it always already is, something that matters.

3) Given this, subsuming subjective into objective relevance is something we should avoid for it makes us both less aware of ourselves and less aware of the other. As the Gospel becomes more subjectively relevant to us, it matters more to us; that is, as we come to see ourselves and our lives as being encompassed by this story, then we find that the story has more importance than we thought it did, and because we have been changed to fit the story, we are more open to seeing how the story (in Tim's words) might be shown to be relevant to the people around us. But, to show the Gospel's objective relevance is the same as making space for the change in the other individual that establishes the reciprocal, subjective relevance I was referencing in my last post.

Before moving to a sketched theological account, are there any other clarifications I need to make?

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