Thursday, August 12, 2010

God As Narrative. Deep......

Yes, this is the fourth post this week. School starts next week, and then life will be a bit busier (or at least feel busier), so I want to get some stuff in before then.

One is another "book review". Well, not actually a review. The book is The End of Education by Neil Postman. Here's the review: it's great. Kind of deep, but great. I could probably write a long series of posts about the book -- and may -- because it was so thought-provoking.

By the way, when he talks about the "end" of education, he's not talking about education ceasing to exist. He's talking about the goal or purpose of education -- as in the phrase, "the ends justify the means." His main thesis is that we spend all of our time talking about the means in education and don't talk enough about the end. And he's right.

So, so many rich ideas in this book. But I want to share today his notion of our need for "a god to serve". By god, he doesn't mean God. He means, well, a great narrative -- probably the closest synonym I can think of is worldview. The stories we tell ourselves about what is true about ourselves, the world, life, etc. . . the stories that give (or don't give) meaning and purpose and direction to things. And as he says, we all need a god to serve -- a storyline that explains not just how, but why.

He then goes into discussion of many such "gods" that have failed our society over the years, particularly in education, and to suggest some more appropriate "gods" or narratives that would serve us better. Again, he's not talking about any kind of deity here. But I was struck with the idea of the god we serve being a narrative. And the fact that Jesus, God-in-the-flesh, was called The Word. The idea that God (our God, the deity), in his beyond-our-comprehension complexity, could be conceived by us in terms of narrative.

When we serve God, we are not simply serving a person (although he is a person). We are "serving" (or living our lives in terms of the truth of) a narrative (or story/explanation of everything). God, in his very nature, is the explanation. God, in his very nature, gives purpose and meaning and direction for all things. He doesn't just give us the narrative. He IS the narrative -- the Word.

Yeah, I told you. Deep. Actually, that is more deep and obscure than anything Postman says in the book, so don't let my weird thoughts scare you away from reading it. There's a lot more I'd like to write about from the book, but it's due back at the library soon. So, you may luck out- this may be the end of my deep thoughts. :) Then again, I'm considering ordering my own copy . . .


Ona Marae said...

hmmmmm....i may have to read that one. I agree with God as narrative also, with it being one way we understand God, not the only way though. God is big enough for many metaphors, to put it poorly, and narrative is a good one. I'll have to think about that some more.

So what gods have failed society in education, by the way? I'm curious now....don't make me go and read the book!

GJK said...

I hope to get to that, Ms. Ona! ;)