HOME ARTICLES SEARCH ARTICLES BOOKS SUBSCRIBE NEWSLETTER ABOUT US COMMENTS

 

II. QUESTIONS FOR CLERGY

Prophetic metaphor is the language of the future church, but it’s not the metaphor you think. The modern notion of metaphor is so distorted and short-sighted that we must "get in your face" about it. So—with your permission—answer the following questions as honestly as you can.

First, however, here are some reminders:

METAPHOR. . .

. . . marks a major shift from logic to revelation, from mind to spirit, from proposition to intuition, and from the literate to the prophetic. As a result, permissible knowledge and forbidden knowledge are jumping into bed together.

. . . follows no preset rules. Not having answers—within the metaphor itself—is more essential than having answers.

. . . puts things side by side that don’t go together, and the tension or "interplay" between these differences defines metaphor. The metaphor’s "message," however, is not its medium.

. . . occurs anytime, anywhere, in any form, and on several levels at once.

. . . is an active, mostly autonomous, force. Great thinkers call it the very language of God—the ultimate incarnate dialogue. It is a never-ending cycle, initiated by God and completed by God, with us in the middle.

. . . opens the future to those who know its language.

PROPHETIC METAPHORS ARE NOT. . .

. . . mere figures of speech, decorative images, or colorful language.

. . . part of the literal world. They have nothing to do with language.

. . . their message. The Truth in a metaphor is not found in the metaphor itself.

. . . space/time objects.

PROPHETIC METAPHORS ARE NEITHER. . . .

. . . logical ideas, objective truths, nor absolute knowledge.

. . . of us nor by us. They do not submit totally to our control.

OK, here are the questions:

If you could describe your church service as a "religious drama," who or what—in all honesty—plays the starring role? I mean really?

What metaphors in your church point to you or your congregation more than Christ?

What common "literal" or "dead" metaphors would we find in your religious language?

Where could we most often mistake the metaphor for the message in your church?

Where could we most often "mistake the oyster for the pearl" in your metaphors?

What typical metaphors in your service mistakenly imply, "The medium IS the message"?

Where do you find the misuse of metaphor in other churches?

For more on this subject, see "Questions for Clergy," Parts I and III.

© 2010 Thomas Hohstadt




Future Church Administrator