2009-01-17

A Poetic Response to Truth and Deconstruction


OK, so I teach this youth ministry class with two talented colleagues. And this week we talked about youth culture and "postmodernity" (yeah, yeah, overused term… but give me another term to use that is more useful and I will use it).

Anyway, we got into the issues of "discourse as violence" and language and idea-systems as means of power and social control. That led us to talk a bit about deconstruction, and why people feel the need to deconstruct discourse, language, and idea-systems. We also talked about how the youth of today use implicit, simplified, and naive tools of deconstruction when examining Truth claims (perhaps the best is the question "So what?").

So, in the course of the conversation at one point I wound up sounding (to myself) like an unabashed pluralist and deconstructionist (which I am actually not). However, I will admit that I find the tools of deconstruction helpful in examining culture. I also will admit that, due to the multiple dimensions of human experience, and my own experience of doing things for competing motives, that I think there are often many legitimate "reads" on a particular event… Even Biblical events (there… I said it!).

However, I also believe that deconstruction presupposes a "word" or a "reason" or a "purpose" which is used to analyze and deconstruct discourse and narratives. It may the the "word" of feminine empowerment, or the "word" of class liberation, or the "word" of pluralism, or event the "word" of libertarian hedonism. The "word" acts as the key, the purpose, and the plan by which the interpreter exposes the fault lines in the text, and turns it inward on itself, so that it can be used to validate the "word" of deconstruction.

Well, I believe that there is a Word which deconstructs all our words, and which is the Key to unlocking the hidden fault lines of all our discourses. That Word left the realm of ideas and ideals, and became enfleshed for us in the Person of Jesus Christ. He is the Word that made all worlds, and by His Word he deconstructs our word-worlds.

So, to try and put that Word into my own words, I wrote a poem (a poem with a huge preface!). Here is the poem:

Just to clarify a thing or two
When I happen to deconstruct our truths
I believe in Truth with a capital "T"
But this Truth is not an "It" but "He"
We are all relative to this Truth-full Lord
And we must deconstruct our world by His Word
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This is a bunch of stuff to make us think hard about our incredible love affair with the God of the universe, our astounding infidelities against him, and his incredible grace to heal and restore us through Christ. Everything on this site is copyright © 1996-2015 by Nathan L. Bostian so if you use it, cite me... otherwise you break the 8th commandment, and make God unhappy. You can contact the author by posting a comment.