In no particular order I give you two resources I came across, one a few years ago, the other this past weekend, both well worth your time to read. The first is an instrumental manifesto on the importance of representation through type, and the second is a sort of popularly written philosophical treatise on working as a designer and how one is to operate a design business (with a strong capitalist bent).
Both are excellently well designed, filled with lots of strong arguments for why they hold the positions they hold, and give well founded reasons for these positions. Worth your time to read.
How can one have a principled way of differentiating between Divine Revelation and theological opinion without engaging Tradition?
Or, more polemically stated: How can one claim that the bible (or any document for that matter) is self interpreting, when there is so much disagreement about what it’s contents mean? Are we even supposed to be able to know what it means? Surely, right? So how are we to reconcile disparaging views? Just read, pray, and decide for ourselves?
No. This isn’t a recipe for unity. And, that may not even be how the text tells us we are to find out what it means.
I have been thinking and reading about this for a few weeks now, how we can come to know something from the bible, and I keep on coming back to the absolute necessity of engaging tradition. (Everyone has one. Not everyone is aware of it, or claims to engage one. A mere canon of books in a bible is proof of a tradition.)
One person suggested that its common sense. Something along the lines of “Either you have it or you don’t.” As if, clearly, when you just read it everything makes sense. And whatever doesn’t likely doesn’t matter all that much. But that wasn’t satisfying either.
I’m all for common sense readings. Common sense also tells me though, that it’s difficult to decide and agree upon on what the “common sense” reading of a text may be. So common sense tells me we need more than just common sense. Make no bones about it, I am not pro-tradition. I am way more than that. I am currently incapable conceiving of a way to reading this text, or any text, without one.
So help me out here: explain the logic behind how one can read scripture and claim to understand or to know something from the bible without tradition. Not “give me reasons why tradition is bad”, but positively show me how you can operate without it at all. Because I can’t find any myself. Even if you don’t hold that position, give it a shot.
I remember a time when text messaging first came on the scene. Not the date or time, but the general feeling surrounding text messaging as an idea, as a social communication concept. I was sure it was a dumb idea. There was no way people would text. Why would you? It seemed so foreign, like suggesting someone start communicating via Tele-sonic-mind-waves. That sounded so stupid. Not only was it not going to overtake verbal communication on the phone, but it wouldn’t even catch a start. No way, no how.
It was an idea that had absolutely no traction. And then the slow change occurred. Now people barely talk on the phone. Shows you how much we change, and how generally unaware we are of it.
(sidenote: “slow” and “fast” have changed dramatically over the years, so I’ll be setting aside the discussion of what is actually slow and fast)
Your life changes when your habits change. And your habits change in two ways. Fast and loud or slow and quiet. Fast could be like a political coup, with explosions and the like. This likely fades as fast as it grew. Slow is less obvious because it is a habitual change that happens in small increments daily. It is a change that doesn’t remind you of its presence. It likely doesn’t want to either.
Your life changes when your habits change. Slow change is better because it takes time to build up and time to eliminate. And you want change that sticks. If your life changes when your habits change, take time to change your habits. Every day you hit that snooze, delay that morning prayer, or delay changing anything is another day you say “I don’t want that change”. And committing to tomorrow doesn’t count. Unless you are talking about paying rent, showing up to court, or finishing that project for work… wait… no. Committing to tomorrow still doesn’t count.
Think of new years resolutions as habit changers. Think of a Lenten penance as a habit changer. It’s not something you do, its a habit you alter.