Well, I got such great feedback from everyone with the last post. So, if you haven’t had enough of dualism yet, there’s a whole lot more where that came from, and I think it’s my new found calling in life to bring it to the masses ad nauseum. 🙂 I read this article by Nancy Scott called “Dueling with Dualism” not too long ago, and it really struck a chord with me. I encourage you to read the whole thing, but I will share with you my favorite passage:
To separate our experience into spiritual and material, leads us to place value on the pursuit of “spiritual” things over the pursuit of “earthly” things. For the Christian college student, her pursuit of literature and the arts becomes “fleshly,” which is “less than” a spiritual pursuit. Since God is not in “the flesh,” the most valued vocations for her as a Christian are those involving spiritual things. For the Christian mother, tending to the needs of her children becomes “fleshly,” and perhaps frustrating to her, when she would rather pursue loftier, “spiritual” things. She may consider ministry, Bible study, and church activity the “better” things to do; when in reality, loving her children the best she can is the higher task.
If instead we carry with us an integrated view of the spiritual and the material worlds, we are free to pursue the plethora of options God has laid before us. If the highest human experience is moral beauty, then it matters less what I do (non-moral) and more how I do it (moral). I can pursue expressing myself in the arts, literature, or science as a joyous expression of the creature God created me to be. The college student can firmly embrace her studies on the campus, while thinking critically about the ideas presented. She can choose the vocation for which God has given her a desire, and see His hand in whatever she chooses to do, without the fear that anything can turn her heart away from the posture she has before God. God is the one holding her heart, and He is faithful. (emphasis mine)
Oh man. Isn’t that beautiful???
I also really dug what she had to say about reading the Bible, keeping in mind the cultural context in which it was written and the audience for whom it was written. This is one of the reasons that I love the Emerging Church‘s teachings. I know that may deem me a heretic in some circles, but…oh well! They acknowledge this. They point out to us how easy (and lazy, might I add) it is to read the Bible with our own cultural frame of reference into the Bible, and completely miss out on what the true inspiration of the text really meant for its intended audience to hear. In other words, missing the heart of what the author is saying and rather focusing on the literal law of the letter of the word. I’ve seen too many people do this and use the Bible to justify abuse. This is why we don’t take verses like those that admonish slaves to obey their masters, women to keep silent in church and not cut their hair short, literally. We look at the broader message of grace, love, and respecting the culture around us even if we don’t necessarily agree with it, which unfortunately we haven’t always done a great job of doing. Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t too late to start.