Nihilism and the Incanation
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pdf Book on Nihilism

Beyond Nihilism: Towards an Incarnational Humanism

As we move beyond nihilism, we long to see culture reformed, heritage maintained, lives made whole, identities brimming with meaning. From one perspective, we want our full humanity back; we want the big picture on who we are, where we are and what is our potential. We believe this will help us chart our course through late modernity’s sometimes dangerous waters. One senses at times that is like that last section of the climb to Everest; it has us living on the edge.

What is the discourse that can locate this renewal towards wholeness? Is it to be found in the language of incarnational humanism, an ancient tradition with many modern implications? Language is an important means of God’s prophetic engagement with humans, the infinite in communion with the finite, all the while expanding the horizons of the finite. There is a profound significance about the Creator in dialogue with his creature, with his creation. We see this communication writ large in the incarnation; it is astoundingly important and yet often neglected today. How else can we see to engage agape love and the goodness of the divine in the fullest sense? What other hope do we have? The incarnation is a great gift (a bridge) to us humans; it is meant to draw us upwards into a new dimension of life, a new caliber of thinking.

D. Stephen Long does an excellent effort of showing the complexity and nuances of this outlook in his important book Speaking of God.

pdf Book on Nihilism


The certainties which the church has received as a gift require its participation in humanity’s “commom struggle” to attain truth. The human search for truth, which is philosophy’s vocation, is not set in opposition to theology’s reception of truth as gift. What we struggle to understand by reason we also receive by faith. No dichotomy exists between the certainties of faith and the common struggle by human reason to attain truth .... The truths humanity seeks by common reason (philosophy) and the certainties of faith can be placed over against each other such that each illuminates the other and renders it intelligible until the two ultimately become one, which is of course what the incarnation does in reverse. The concretion of the one Person [the Christ] illumines the natures of both divinity and humanity. (D. S. Long, 2009, p. 87)

British hermeneutics philosopher Anthony Thiselton says that the mystery of the incarnation is too profound for human discovery alone; it requires transcendent revelation and interpretation. It is too much to imagine through human reason alone.

Christians claim Jesus as God's Word (divine logos) made flesh, dwelling among us. Here God’s speech is embodied, full-blooded, not flat and lifeless, not reductionistic or atomistic. It is a sign, a communicative action (Kevin Vanhoozer), much more than the mere letters. It is poetic, prophetic, pedagogical, full of spiritual vitality revealed in a tangible historic person. The language of incarnation leverages the world and transforms individuals; it is strategically located within the human story, not a fantasy. The incarnation is the only adequate reply to the challenges of dissolution (loss of connection between word and world). There is much to grapple with.


Christ the creative wisdom of God, and God’s active Word in creation, is enfleshed in the temporal-historical dimension of our world as the concrete Jewish Messiah, Jesus the Christ.... This is the Word through whom all things were made, and the Word hid in the eternal bosom of God, the Word who spoke through the prophets, the Word whose mighty acts defined the history of Israel. In Jesus the Christ this Word has become flesh, and the eternal has become temporal, but without ceasing to be eternal.... In Christ temporality and eternity are conjoined.... In the incarnation, creation, the world, time and history have been taken up into the God-man, who is the center of reality.... Faith and reason are inseparable because their unity is in Christ. (J. Zimmermann, 2012a, pp. 264-5)

 

Language (speech act) starts with creation: God spoke and the heavens, the stars, the seas, the plants and trees and living creatures, man and woman came into existence in abundance. They continue to do so (creatio continua). God’s word was enacted in a particular place and time in history. It makes space for new drama. There is intense presence and place; God has carved out space and time for his presence. When humans are addressed by God (the whole premise of Judeo-Christianity), they are drawn up into a divine dialogue, to reason and commune with their Creator, their ultimate mentor. They are identified and valued. A perlocutionary act is a robust speech act that produces an effect in those addressed through the speaker's utterance. God speech has impact in all of human culture. Theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (Word and Silence) sees the Word of God revealed in three rich and powerful ways: Creation, Scripture, and Incarnation, three different types of language, each powerful in its own right, each complementary to the integrity and impact of the others. The incarnation is God’s megaphone to late modernity with all its challenges, contradictions and struggles.

By addressing us in person, God calls us ‘upwards’ into full human being, imago dei, agape love, beings with a higher, denser meaning, image bearers, culture makers, gardeners and artists (Andy Crouch, 2008) responsible agents. This offers a tremendous personal and cultural driver for both the individual good and common good. Many people sense God calling them to be something or someone more that they are (blowing their imagination), perhaps even to launch a journey or follow a quest. That is a sign of being addressed by, encountered by transcendence, by presence. It shows us the more of language and life, the more of our humanity.


New qualitative shape emerges in our identity as we break free of our intense self- absorption. This dialogue with God re-interprets us afresh: we are investigated, challenged, moved and motivated by divine speech. Are we not hard wired for receiving and responding to this speech? Andy Crouch writes, “Making sense of the wonder and the terror of the world is the original human preoccupation. And it is the deepest sense of culture that most clearly distinguishes us from all the rest of creation” (A. Crouch, 2008, p. 24). It is impossible to fully invent or make sense of life-world on our own. On our own, without transcendence, we are left with nihilism, not humanism (John Milbank).


God is speaking. Christ is the conduit of God’s love—the culmination and fulfilment of every philosophical, spiritual and moral aspiration (Colossians 1). The Christ story is the climax of God’s compassionate redemptive interest in humanity. He is God’s infinite goodness embodied, God’s very self. If there is a true possibility for robust human flourishing, it begins when God’s word of love becomes flesh, is embodied in us, is enacted through us and in doing so, a trust is forged once again between the word spoken and the reality to which it speaks (James Davison Hunter, 2010). The divine language is personal and it is absolutely transformative. It offers a renewal of orientation of cosmos to the human.

Christianity is the participation in the life of God and in his presence, a presence as defined by Christ as true human image bearer. The incarnation (John 1:1-5, 14; Colossians 1:15-20) in particular provides a vision and a grounding to restore the late modern broken relationships and cynicism. The Advent, life, teaching, sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ offers a profound new articulation of humanity, an inspiration, a gripping call to life. It poses all sorts of questions.

Transcendent divine goodness is present and accessible in the human sphere through the incarnation. Transcendence does not therefore mean aloofness and indifference, or a burdensome or unreachable standard of perfection, but rather a creative, fruitful engagement with the world (society and its institutions). Transcendent divine goodness takes on an historical and christological determination in order to impact the human moral and cultural world. By reading the moral life through the life of Christ, one cannot espouse a minimalist and juridical conception of a life that merely acts on what is permitted and/or forbidden. We find a moral discourse, a moral life, that makes sense in the light of a Christ who is full of goodness, who incarnates infinite transcendent goodness in human flesh, within space-time. He articulates it historically with integrity. D. S. Long (2001) appeals to the robust moral normativity of the life of Jesus.


In Christian theology, Jesus reveals to us not only who God is but also what it means to be truly human. This true humanity is not something we achieve on our own; it comes to us as a gift ... The reception of this gift contains an ineliminable element of mystery that will always require faith. Jesus in his life, teaching, death and resurrection and ongoing presence in the church and through the Holy Spirit ... orders us towards God. He directs our passions and desires towards that which can finally fulfill them and bring us happiness ... [and] reveal to us what it means to be human. (D.S. Long, 2001, pp. 106-7)


This quality of immanence offers the option of life of the self, lived not autonomously but in cooperation with divine wisdom and goodness. In the incarnation of Jesus Christ, goodness is made accessible, personal and real; it is not left as an abstract unattainable ideal, or a wholly other reality; it is transcendent goodness expressed within the immanent frame. We see this powerfully expressed in the poem by Edwin Muir called “The Incarnate One”.

The Incarnate One

Edwin Muir

The windless northern surge, the sea-gull's scream, And Calvin's kirk crowning the barren brae. I think of Giotto the Tuscan shepherd's dream, Christ, man and creature in their inner day. How could our race betray The Image, and the Incarnate One unmake Who chose this form and fashion for our sake?

The Word made flesh here is made word again A word made word in flourish and arrogant crook. See there King Calvin with his iron pen, And God three angry letters in a book, And there the logical hook On which the Mystery is impaled and bent Into an ideological argument.

There's better gospel in man's natural tongue, And truer sight was theirs outside the Law Who saw the far side of the Cross among The archaic peoples in their ancient awe, In ignorant wonder saw The wooden cross-tree on the bare hillside, Not knowing that there a God suffered and died.

The fleshless word, growing, will bring us down, Pagan and Christian man alike will fall, The auguries say, the white and black and brown, The merry and the sad, theorist, lover, all Invisibly will fall: Abstract calamity, save for those who can Build their cold empire on the abstract man.

A soft breeze stirs and all my thoughts are blown Far out to sea and lost. Yet I know well The bloodless word will battle for its own Invisibly in brain and nerve and cell. The generations tell Their personal tale: the One has far to go Past the mirages and the murdering snow.

 _______________________ 

The incarnation offers a transcendent turn to a new kind of humanism (centered in agape love) as articulated by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who faced the fragmentation, disintegration of self and society in the nihilism (sinister cynicism) of Nazi Germany in the early twentieth century. Relativism definitely led to will to power leadership and truth was subverted by propaganda.


To be realistic, to live authentically in the world and before God, is to live as if the whole of reality has already been drawn up into and held together in Christ.... [It is] a fundamental hermeneutical claim to participate realistically and responsibly in the reconciliation of humanity in Christ. (Bonhoeffer, DBWE, 6: 55, 223)


There is no room for dualism in incarnational thinking/hermeneutic. He came to heal and unify humanity, not to fragment, not to separate faith and reason, body and spirit, natural and supernatural. Incarnation affirms and elevates the whole human, brings heaven and earth together. Jens Zimmermann, a Bonhoeffer specialist, writes (2012a, p. 275): “Bonhoeffer is a Christian humanist because he regards full humanity as the ultimate goal of God’s work in Christ.” Zimmermann has a strong scholarly track record of recovering the language of Christian humanism from its earliest days to the current era (see especially Humanism and Religion: a call for the renewal of western culture. 2012b) Bonhhoeffer’s thought is at the heart of his discourse on humanism.

There is a second aspect of incarnation, beyond Jesus’ particular presence on earth; it is God the Son’s presence in his church today. The church community offers an historical and cultural presence, performance and embodiment of God’s goodness, socially locating divine goodness in a human community and narrative. Christoph Schwöbel (1992, p. 76) notes that divine goodness, a communion of love in itself, “finds its social form in the community of believers as the reconstituted form of life of created and redeemed sociality.” Deceased Cambridge theologian and one of my PhD examiners, D.W. Hardy (2001, p. 75) underlines that the task of the church is to face into “the irreducible density of the goodness that is God in human society.” It is to communicate and mediate, finally to incarnate, this goodness in society. Goodness is empowered in the human theatre and human relationships; it comes as prophetic speech in many forms.

The incarnation, which is all about presence, answers some of the deep issues and problems in our great cultural transition from early to late modernity: affirming speech, the body/the physical, and the self/agency. Virginia sociologist James Davison Hunter formulates an intriguing and constructive theology of faithful presence for the contemporary witness of the church (J.D. Hunter, 2010, pp. 238-54.) God uses this language to communicate to humans within the immanent frame that he identifies with them: his message is the offer of life marked by goodness, peace, truth, beauty, joy, fruitfulness—the shalom of an enriched flourishing. Shalom offers something to society at large (Ibid. p. 228) “a vision of order and harmony, fruitfulness and abundance, wholeness, beauty, joy and well-being.” In this sense, “Christians are to live toward the well-being of others, not just to those in the community of faith, but to all” (Ibid, p. 230). The shalom of God is the presence of God (Ephesians 2:14). Incarnation means that Christians are mandated with bringing this faithful presence to their circle of influence. It is sacrificial agape:


Pursuit, identification, the offer of life through sacrificial love—this is what God’s faithful presence means. It is a quality of commitment that is active, not passive; intentional, not accidental; covenantal, not contractual. In the life of Christ we see how it entailed his complete attention. It was a whole-hearted, not half-hearted; focused and purposeful, nothing desultory about it. His very name, Immanuel, signifies all of this—“God with us”—in our presence. (J.D. Hunter, 2010, p. 243)


It is the in-breaking of new relationships within the framework of the old. It is the potential source of all human callings to meaningful work and contribution. This offers a means to credibly rewrite the story of late modernity in another way.


When the word of all flourishing—defined by the love of Christ—becomes flesh in us, in our relations with others, within the tasks we are given, and within our sphere of influence—absence gives way to presence, and the word we speak to each other and to the world becomes authentic and trustworthy. (Ibid. p. 252)


Thereby, one’s own grappling with identity within this plausibility structure is seen to involve the flourishing of the Other (human and divine), the honoring of the Other, as well as receiving from the Other in mutuality, in a communion of love. The Other changes in significance: from a competitive threat (a potential dominator in the world of will to power and disciplinary practices) in Foucault’s ethics, to an esteemed opportunity of mutuality with unlimited relational potential—complementarity. The Other is highly valued as an end in herself. Life is not about a self-justifying control, remaining alone in self-sufficiency, but in seeking out a communion of love, a healthy vulnerability, interdependency and mutuality, with an ear to the voice of the Other. It is a dialogue laced with agape.

The self, in this case, discovers and constructs within community, with a moral inclusiveness rather than a pursuit of radical autonomy and chronic distrust in radical freedom/individualism and radical choice theory. A. McFadyen (1995) offers a helpful reflection on this point concerning the deceptions and distortions of radical freedom.


The free pursuit of private self-interest has a naturally conflicting form, since the otherness of the individual means their interests must be opposed. One needs freedom from what is other in order to be oneself. Personal centeredness is essential, for autonomy is a private place that has to be protected by fencing it off from the sphere of relation and therefore from the otherness of God and one’s neighbours ... Autonomy is something one has in self-possession, apart from relation to God and others in an exclusive and private orientation on an asocial personal centre ... Freedom and autonomy are had apart from relationship: they inhere within oneself. (A. McFadyen, 1995, p. 35)


Jurgen Habermas problematizes this preoccupation with the autonomy or self-mastery as simply a moment in the process of social interaction, which has often been artificially isolated or privileged:


Both cognitive-instrumental mastery of an objective nature (and society) and a narcissistically overinflated autonomy (in the sense of purposively rational self-assertion) are derivative moments that have been rendered independent from the communicative structures of the lifeworld, that is, from the intersubjectivity of relationships of mutual understanding and relationships of reciprocal recognition. (J. Habermas, 1987, p. 315)


However fragile or imperfect this incarnation of trinitarian goodness appears in Christian community, it is no less profound for the transformation of the self according to a strong transcendence of depth. Human creatures are called upward morally and spiritually to image and give witness to the dynamic being and activity of the triune God. This imaging transforms the moral vision of the self in a dynamic way, and enhances human possibilities for action towards the good of the Other and the good of society. That most poignant image of hope, the Kingdom of God, expresses the relation of free divine love and loving human freedom together in depicting the ultimate purpose of God’s action as the perfected community of love with his creation. (C. Schwöbel, 1995, p. 80)

This entails a transcendent moral turn for the self, beyond reductionism offered by ideological scientism, beyond fear of domination and mutual competition (agonisme) of poststructuralism. It goes beyond pursuit of self-indulgence (an anti-humanist stance), to a pro-humanist, self-giving love and mutual support. The church at its best, as Christ’s representatives on earth, produces people on a quest for goodness of this quality, and seek to mediate this transcendent goodness in society; it still believes that God speaks and acts, that the triune God is present to the world, that it is vital to love this personal Good and be loved by him, vital to seek the divine personal Good and be sought by him.

Redeemed freedom flourishes within a transcendent trinitarian horizon. Trinitarian divine goodness proves to be a fruitful plausibility structure within which to think differently about freedom and the moral self. Trinitarian goodness-freedom answers some of the concerns in the Foucauldian aesthetic self and reveals new opportunities for identity, discovery, transformation and exploration. It also adds sophistication and meaning to some of Taylor’s categories around the recovery of the language and horizon of the good. It is in the life of Jesus as a member of the Trinity that one can visualize this goodness- freedom dynamic most dramatically.

It implies a transcendence which resides outside the economies of human experience, and human culture spheres of science, art, religion and ethics, and yet it plays a key role in the drama of self-constitution. It offers a significant contribution to the validation, affirmation, and recognition of the self from a larger horizon of significance, creating a new range of possibilities and deeper roots in a strong Christian humanist tradition. It also occasions a standpoint for an evaluation of beliefs and practices, offering a subject position from which to protest the unexamined hegemony of the aesthetic present in Foucault’s hermeneutics of the moral self. This hegemony, along with the hegemony of science, is resisted through an exploration of the horizons of the good, moving the self beyond many of its late modern limitations.

The discussion of recovering ethics as a partnership with trinitarian relationality is highlighted in Jesus. He offers an example of redeemed human freedom, through the cooperation between divine goodness and human freedom, effecting an empowerment of human freedom. At this juncture, it will be fruitful to explore the marriage of the good (transcendently rooted and qualified) and freedom. Jesus’ life constitutes the reconciliation of, rather than the enmity between, goodness and freedom; transcendent goodness energizes and impacts his expression of freedom in the earthen context. In the philosophical turn towards transcendent goodness, freedom as an ontology is subverted by the ontology of agape love, or divine trinitarian goodness.

It also renders problematic the seeking of the good or goodness apart from seeking God, the pursuit of the good while walking away from relationship to God. It transforms ethics, within the economy of human relations, from a contest within a general will to power (nihilism), to the economy of grace within a communion of agape. It is not the economy of a naked, free human will choosing for or against a moral law or choosing to design/invent self autonomously. Goodness is no mere achievement of the human will; it is truly a mysterious gift of God. At its worst, the institutional church can obfuscate this goodness as well, reneging on its most fundamental mandate. At its best, caring Christian community is so profound, tangible and authentic. It is theologically grounded outside of the self.

Human freedom, claims Alister McFadyen (1995), is grounded in and defined by, God’s freedom; there is no necessary competition between these two freedoms.


God’s inmost being is constituted by the radical mutuality of the three divine Persons, in which they both give and receive their individuality from one another. In their intersubjectivity, there is the creative intention and recognition of subjectivity, and therefore transcendence in form of the integrity of personal identity, in the giving of space to one another. This giving of space is an interpersonal event, and must not be thought of as analogous to the evacuation of physical space. It is not a form of absence, but a way of being present with others in creative recognition of their autonomy within the relationship. It is a letting-be, rather than a letting-go: a structuring of the relationship so that it includes space and time for personal discreteness and autonomous response. Thus the trinitarian life involves a circulation of the divine potentialities of being through the processes of self-giving, in the unity of which the three Persons receive their distinct personal identities. (A. McFadyen, 1995, pp. 46-7)


Within this plausibility structure, the roots for the ethical life, the transcendent condition for this life, lie in God. Jesus and his followers offer the dynamic unity between the transcendent and the temporal, the absolute and the contingent, the ultimate and the immanent frame. Humans are drawn upward into this new conversation and life-giving posture. The relational goodness of God is discovered not by means of a mere abstract speculation but in human lives oriented toward God, subjectivity engaged and inspired by the needs of the human Other, as well as by the goodness of God. Therefore, the first human life to consider for this position of hope is the life of Jesus. This trinitarian goodness is a gift, and profoundly it is the gift of Jesus Christ. This is an encounter, which provides transformation of the self. The focus is on love not power; love speaks to power and transforms power (Andy Crouch, Playing God). God is the guarantor of its power and effectiveness, of this renewed identity.

The identity of trinitarian Persons is strengthened, not weakened or lost, through mutuality; this knowledge stimulates the human imagination of the possibilities for relationships and the dynamics of the moral self. The sheer joy and freedom of this mutuality within the Trinity is not confined. Lively self-giving freedom is revealed as possibility and reality within divine relationships; it involves mutual indwelling of identities, mutual support, perichoretic freedom. It provides an example of interpersonal relations that do not need to threaten the individual self or its freedom, but which enhance and empower the individual self and give direction to its freedom—towards the Other, in communion.

This is the same gift of benevolent divine freedom that is expressed within human creation, particularly through the presence in the world of God the Son and God the Spirit, the second and third Persons of the Trinity. God is a community of Persons in movement towards and present within creation, stimulating and opening up a future of new possibilities for human freedom and identity with purpose and hope. The transcendence of the trinitarian Creator includes free personal presence and free indwelling in history, revealing the potential of a definition of freedom which is rescued from the obsession with the blasphemy of radical autonomy. It is an alternative story, a counter-story. It is the kind of freedom that begins as a mutuality interpreted in trinitarian terms; it then proceeds towards a rethinking, a relocation of the self through a realignment of self with God’s freedom, a new interface of self with the transcendent horizon of goodness-freedom. The new subject position is informed by, bounded by and rooted in, divine freedom and the relational dimensions of creation, rather than standing over against or aloof from it.

A. McFadyen (1995) illuminates some nuances of the divine-human interface of freedom, revealed through the incarnation.


[By] incarnation in the body of the crucified one implies that God’s freedom does not, after all, entail a transcendent aloofness from the world, but a form of involvement with it in which the divine being and freedom are staked. God subjects Godself to the risks, vulnerabilities and ambiguities of historical existence, including the risk of rejection, suffering and death, as well as of misinterpretation. God’s freedom and sovereignty must be of a radical kind: the freedom to give oneself in relation; to be with and in creation in ways that are costly to God, but which do not abrogate God’s sovereignty, freedom and transcendence. (p. 42)


In the incarnation, one sees God communicating and relating, not as a tyrannical, coercive, absolute sovereign, but vulnerably in and through the form of human individual, by uniting the divine freedom of self-giving agape love with that of a human being. In the Christ event, one is confronted with a divine power that is highly personal, and which consequently has impact through forms of interpersonal communication and personal presence. This God posture makes creative appeal to human freedom; divine freedom is the context of human freedom in this plausibility structure. It is not a divine monologue of commands, but a dialogue in which humans are intended and respected as subjects with choice. Jesus is in constant dialogue with the Father. His life is one of sacrificial servanthood to humanity, agape love writ large (I John 4).

Application to University Research Language is a divine gift to human persons, a most wonderful, powerful, formidable and dangerous gift. Scholars work with grammar, figure of speech, assumptions, dispositions, theories and various kinds of linguistic practice. We ought to explore enjoy this language to the full, for the common good of society, to build up moral capital, and to give thanks to God for offering us mere mortals access to this high level of calling and community, this high level interlocution. We need to find our voice within the incarnational word made flesh, the word that underwrites all human language and speech. This will provide new interlocutors that can free us from the grip of too narrow a perspective on research, life, self and reality. To close ourselves off, to implode into a minimalist or reductionist language game, or to try to articulate all aspects of life with scientific language alone, to refuse theological and philosophical language outright, is to be in denial of this richer, common human heritage, this larger brilliant linguistic and moral horizon.

Stephen Long notes, “Good philosophy, philosophy that does not seek to close us off from the world in some tight, immanent reality, will remain open to receiving this gift, a gift that can be found in language, but never identified with it” (2009, p. 316). Further he writes, “Philosophy should be the love of wisdom that prompts persons to use reason in the quest for truth, goodness and beauty.... Philosophy and theology have distinct tasks, but those tasks cannot be delineated solely in terms of nature and supernature or reason and faith” (Ibid. pp. 83-4). Further he says, “There must be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God....Theology comes as gift communicating God’s goodness to creatures for their own perfection, showing them their imperfection” (Ibid. p. 207). Creation has no meaning; it is a brute fact, until we give it value. Metaphysics will continue to ask why is there something rather than nothing. The question points beyond the world trapped in its own immanence and yet offers critical information about that immanence, that human flourishing.

Poet, pastor and theologian Eugene Peterson speaks to this issue of words as one might expect from Charles Taylor:


Christian followers of Jesus have an urgent mandate to care for language—spoken, heard, written—as a means by which God reveals himself to us, by which we express the truth and allegiance of our lives, and by which we give witness to the Word made flesh .... Contemporary language has been dessicated by the fashions of the academic world (reductive rationalism) and the frenzy of industrial and economic greed (reductive pragmatism). The consequence is that much of the talk in our time has become, well, just talk—not much theological content to it, not much personal relationship involved, no spirit, no Holy Spirit .... We need a feel for vocabulary and syntax that is able to detect and delete disembodied ideas, language that fails to engage personal participation. We need a thorough grounding in the robustness of biblical story and grammar that insists on vital articulated speech (not just the employment of words) for the health of the body and mind and soul .... Words don’t just sit there, like bumps on a log. They have agency. Scott Cairns, reflecting on his work as a poet working with words in the context of a believing community reading the Scriptures, says that we “are attending not only to a past (an event to which the words refer), but are attending to a present and a presence (which the words articulate into proximity for their apprehension)... leaning into that articulate presence, participating in its energies, and thereby participating in the creation of meaning, with which we help to shape the future. (E. Peterson, 2007, 67-8)

 

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