Sunday, June 25, 2006

Defining the Territory

Our SS class is studying the BCE material on the Ten Commandments. Our teacher spent some time this morning describing the context, according to the Book of Exodus, in which the commandments were presented. The Hebrews had been an enslaved people in the richest nation in the world--a nation of polytheism, slavery, and a religious dictatorship. They were unmotivated, rebellious, and uncertain about where they were going. The commandments provided a basis for conceiving the world in a new way. They provided a new definition of the territory--the world they found themselves in. Although he did not use the term, the Decalogue introduced a meta-narrative--a way of bringing order to a disordered world.

Is this where we find ourselves today? In a postmodern world, what do we base our lives on? What is lacking for many in this world is a meta-narrative--a story to help them make sense of the world. Maybe the commandments are a good place to start.

1 comment:

mike smith said...

I agree that most people in our culture do not have a meta-narrative from which they draw a sense of place and purpose. Insofar as I can see, the Israelites in the wilderness were in the midst of living through the making of their meta-narrative. When all was said and done, they had a defining story, to which they returned again and again in the subsequent centuries. I'm not sure that lists of commandments, doctrines, and the like can be the basis for a meta-narrative. It takes a story, often one long in the making. I think many people long for such a story. Perhaps what the world really needs is better storytellers!