III. QUESTIONS FOR CLERGY
Today, we witness the end of a faith that "simply
thinks," that forms from mere passive assent, that fades day by day
with the dying gasps of the unempowered. In its place, a new faith
moves with powerful and determined expectation. It acts with the
perfect knowledge that absent things are
It projects a world.
And this new faith requires metaphor. Metaphor
reflects more than a poetic world, it frames a world. It’s more than
a creation, it is a creating. It doesn’t simply happen "in" history,
it "is" history. It doesn’t simply "predict" the future, it fathers
To the clergy, I say I’m grateful for your
successful "programs." I’m impressed with your intellectual prowess
and rhetorical passion. And I appreciate the importance of your
administrative process. But all these attainments easily take place
without a "manifest presence"—without spiritual empowerment.
So I have some questions for you. But first, a
METAPHORS . . .
. . . require a conscious lifestyle of serious
make-believe. They demand new ways of thinking and new spiritual
. . . are inspired dialogue. They are
bidirectional—give and take, to-and-fro movements between "here" and
"there." They are never-ending, always deepening cycles—started by
God and completed by God with us in the middle.
. . . "do" something; and in that "doing," we
"do" something too. In metaphor—as in faith—we give form to the
"substance," "evidence" and "proof" of things we do not see. In the
same way, metaphors remain the prototype of all creativity.
. . . are not an invention of natural skill nor
an expression of subjectivity. Neither do they suffer the mediation
of man’s doctrines.
. . . do not limit themselves to "special
occasions"or time-appointed moments. Instead, they move in
everything we do.
. . . project a world. They describe what is
coming to be. Unlike our modern words which merely "supervene" in
life—that is, they only "add to" life—metaphors "intervene" in
life—they "change life."
. . . provide the truth to "end times." Metaphors
represent our participation in the "end times"—the doing of "end
times," anticipating and giving form to a future, real world that
God is bringing to pass.
. . . will prove our only advantage in a future
world run by computer intelligence. For Power incarnates Power.
Now, the questions for clergy:
Is your worship service "figured out," invented
by professional skill, and subject to the mediation of doctrine, or
do you allow a more transcendent source?
Do you wait for "special occasions,"
time-appointed moments, or "the talented" to bring inspiration, or
do you pursue it in the least of all events—in the "announcements,"
for example? Put another way, Scripture asks if you "extract the
precious from the worthless"?
In place of "studied performances," have you ever
felt "carried along," as in a great river?
How often do you move and speak "intuitively? How
often do new revelations come out of seemingly "nowhere"?
Could your congregation describe you—even
occasionally—as an artist? . . . a poet? . . . a prophet?
Is repetition your only governing rule, or do you
allow Otherness and Newness in any and every moment?
How often do you give form—not simply talk—to the
"substance," "evidence" and "proof" of "things unseen"?
In addition to speaking "about" God and "to" God,
do you allow God to speak too?
How often do you "call those things that be not
as though they were"?
Where have you seen "the Word made flesh"?
Are you "the" anointed person in your church, or can anyone,
anything, anywhere, and anytime be filled with prophetic power?
Have events happened during worship that, at first, you did not
Do you "speak" more than you "listen," or "listen" more than you
Do you discover things, and then realize later they existed
before you discovered them?
Do you avoid all risk, or do you accept risk as a precondition
for "manifest presence"?
For more on this subject, see "Questions for Clergy," Parts I and
© 2010 Thomas Hohstadt