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Reflection Paper II

Reflection Paper II - Reflection Paper II What We Believe...

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Reflection Paper II: What We Believe Affects Our Vocation in Relation to Culture “What we believe affects our vocation in relation to our culture.” (essay prompt) A conclusion I had tentatively drawn prior to this course and feel that it became more tangible and concrete both in reading God’s Long Summer and in the composition of this critique. The book God’s Long Summer by Charles Marsh “follows the lives of five religious persons from the experience of their ‘calling’,” and in doing so, I believe, he attests to the same. In the Introduction Marsh makes the claim: “There are no easy patterns for predicting the way religious ideas govern particular courses of action. Yet there is in each case a theological sense or inner logic in these embodied theologies, and thus there exist patterns specific to the complex interaction of faith and lived experience.” As well as granting an invitation to “contemplate the inner sense of these religious worlds, to seek an understanding of how the social order looks from the various perspectives of faith, both to broaden our knowledge of the civil rights movement and better to discern how images of God continue to inform differing visions of civic life and responsibility” (pg 4) I believe what he is trying to convey in the former statement is due to the diversity of religious interpretations, in this case those of the Bible, it is virtually impossible to utilize religion as dictation of behavior; even less so, as validation. No one person, as a result, will draw the same conclusion without a very explicit “interaction of faith and lived experience.” That is to say, because no one person thinks exactly the same as another, each persons’ interpretation of the text will yield a different “message” that they believe the Bible is trying to convey. Marsh exemplifies his allegation and aids the reader with his request later in the book. First in saying this of Fannie Lou Hamer’s translation as a message of tolerance in chapter one: “In Mrs. Hamer’s way of seeing… her perception was shaped by the utterly straightforward conviction that if Jesus is the one for others, then surely he welcomes all who follow after...Was this not the message of the Gospel?” (pg 45)
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