Milking The Metaphors is my new literary and theological project. It is an exploration of faith through association with the world we experience. My hope is to express my thoughts in a presentation that is both accessible and relevant. Perhaps through these words readers can find inspiration to express their own faith, in whatever form that may take.
Where I Am Coming From
My thread of faith tends to fall in the lane of emergent Christianity. In general, emerging faith tends to be more inclusive and less dogmatic than some of its spiritual kin. To prepare you, my views might be a little different from those of other Christians you see on television, those who evangelize on the street corners, and those who meet in normal churches on a sunday morning…and I like it that way. Diversity is the spice of life, so I’m trying to do my part in bringing that different voice to my own religion.
I love what symbolism brings to a spiritual conversation. If used properly it can be a verbal painting with nested meanings and interpretations. It can have social and personal implications. Symbolism can open our mind to think in ways we had never considered before. In culture and religion, symbolism has been widely used as an expression of faith. Faith is hope and belief in the unseen and the intangible, but we still need a way for it to be real in our lives. It has long been a part of our faith tradition, from earliest manuscripts to modern practices.
From the beginning of the Judeo-Christian tradition metaphor has been the primary means of communicating faith. Consider the garden of Eden in all its natural beauty and harmony. Consider the different trees, the man, the woman, the snake…and of course the fruit. All of these are amazing representations of spiritual concepts. These will likely be discussed in a future post on this blog.
Sidetrack –> I feel like the message of stories like the Garden of Eden may get a bit lost when some more literal readers take ownership of them. The goal of this story, in my opinion, isn’t to teach us that talking snakes existed. The goal of the story isn’t to teach us that all our problems and struggles can be traced back to a single couple’s consumption of an apple (or pomegranate). It isn’t to teach us that Adam, a literal frist human, was made out of some dirt, it isn’t to teach us that a real woman, Eve, was made from Adam’s rib. All of those things mean something within the context of the allegory…but we miss the point of the allegory of we don’t acknowledge it as such. Not only that but we look quite foolish to non-believers when we speak as if allegory is literal fact.
Back on track –> From the Christian tradition, I put significant value on Jesus’ methods of teaching. Jesus spoke in metaphor consistently when he was speaking of spiritual concepts. Around 50 parables are recording in the 4 gospels. Each are brilliantly descriptive and have amazing depth. Many I’m sure more than one will be discussed here. As a person who attempts to follow the ways of Jesus, what better way to pay homage than to have the same kind of conversations…so that’s what I will attempt to do here.
Please keep in mind that when we use symbolism interpretations will abound. This can be a wonderful occurrence, as long as we acknowledge that before we get into discussions on which is the more beneficial interpretation. As such, no post on this blog will be written with the intent that it be viewed as the one and only valid interpretation. My intent in this context is not to present a scholarly argument for any position. Symbolism and interpretation do not lend themselves easily to such discussions. Please take this into consideration when offering criticisms in comments. We can have debates on a more scholarly level in the comments, but such a shift in approach should be clearly indicated.
Finally, these kinds of topics are better discussed in community rather than in monologue. As such I full heartedly request your thoughtful responses and encourage readers to follow the dialogue each topic brings.
Hope you enjoy!