Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sam

So in the books rather than the movies, it's Sam who says, He knows what he's supposed to do. He's just afraid to do it.

Well. As Stephen King says, what a rejection means to a writer is, I actually got something out the door (otherwise, of course, no one else could have rejected my work).

More to come on this front for me.

Amazingly, when Jesus took his turn to ask the intellectuals critiquing him in the temple during the last week of his life, he did not ask them about their authority or right to do what they were saying and doing. Even though all their questions to him were insinuations that he did not have the right to say or do what he was doing. So it's all the more interesting that when it was his turn to ask a question, he asks the same sort of question: who am I, and where am I within my rights given who I am, to say or do X or Y? It's a rhetorical move, in multiple directions, of course. He shows that this very question, in a less nasty and tactical key, is in fact a good question. He shows that he himself has given real thought to this--he isn't just riding along on the crest of events, or just randomly picking up justifications for what he's doing as he goes along. And he shows that they haven't really penetrated very far into the critical issues about authority. Sorting out what town and family "real" authority is authorized to come from solves only the population distribution problem. Figuring out what real authority is and what it's for--which is taken for granted by Jesus's opponents, as is typical--is a much harder issue. And then, the kicker question, am I the sort of person to exercise this sort of authority?

I wonder about my own, of course. I make, and have made, no pretense to being without sin, let alone without temptation. People in my own community have, many of them, an idea, general to specific, as to what those are, as do my accountability partners scattered across the country. I find that Dawn and I do have some amount of some kinds of authority with some people, whether we would have it or not. Some of that is based on experience, some on competency, some on qualifications, some on role or position. Jesus's question is, okay, fine, so that's the case. How much of which of these are true to me given who I really am? What kind and amount of authority accrues to me in virtue of the sort of person I actually am? By definition, this is the kind that I cannot be pharisaically hypocritical about, which may be why it is so important. After all, if I claim authority based not on a skill or role but on who I am, then that just is what it is with people. I cannot fake who I am with others: to them I am who I am to them.

This may seem a rather high-falutin' version of what would Jesus do. But more and more I find myself wrestling with What would Jesus be? If you want to say that this is because I'm an INTJ, so be it. In any case, we'll see what comes of it.

In the meantime, Holy Week will be full of decisions this year: work, school, home. Hm.

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