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Again, I only caught a part of this presentation. Stephen Curkpatrick never fails to give me a bone to take away and gnaw. Stephen has a particular gift with terminology that can, at the same time, irritate and open up fresh pathways of conceptual understanding.

The gist of his presentation was to compare and assess Christology from earlier and more classic “nominative” points of view to more current “vocative” perspectives – “nominative” being the Greek propensity for naming and classifying and “vocative” relating, in Hebrew fashion, to identifying and answering the “call” or “summons” within the phenomena.

My mind wonders to contemplate that, as products of the Enlightenment, the rational processes of our pioneer thinkers may have been very much at home in the nominative, yet there was an ardent passion responding vocatively to that which they named.

I ponder how that tension finds expression in my own circles – how carefully we try to articulate, name and classify the collective elements of our faith, witness and mission and possibly miss that which is vocative within, or at least dilute it with our rush to classify. Of course the other danger is present, that of becoming so ardently passionate over that which calls us that we fail to spend the patience and discipline required to give it the nominative form that enables communication and team-building. I give thanks that the local congregation to which I belong, for the most part, seems to hold the tension nicely.

Stephen left us with some further interesting ponderables:

* “Consider: Jesus Christ exceeds our expectations of the exemplary, representing a unique trajectory in humanity with possibilities we can only engage in faith as response to the vocative word.”
* “Consider: Grace alone is able to redress the human inequalities within love, goodwill, forgiveness, imagination and hope.”
* Consider: the triune story is integral to ecumenical expression of the uniqueness of Christian testimony, identity and mission.

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