Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What Would Jesus Deconstruct - Book Review

Last week our youth group visited a Hindu Temple.  Here is what I learned:  Three main deities in Hinduism are Brahman, Vishnu, and Shiva.  There are hundreds others but these are three main ones.  They are understood to be manifestations of the "one real."  Brahman is a creator god.  Vishnu is a sustainer.  And Shiva is the destroyer.  You might be struck by the parallel with the Christian trinity.  The Father is creator like Brahman. The Holy Spirit is a sustainer like Vishnu.  But can Jesus Christ be though of as a destroyer?  If one takes the cross as the central event of Jesus' life then perhaps.  Jesus questioned the status quo of his day.  Some might have feared that he had the power to destroy.  He died, his life was destroyed, on the cross.  In Baptism, we say that a person is baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ.  God does not leave destruction without the hope of restoration.  God restores.  God resurrects.  Hinduism, too, offers hope of new life in ways distinct to its tradition.

I don't want to force these two historically distinct traditions to align.  But it is interesting to hold our traditions in conversation and see what emerges.  Learning a little something about Hinduism helps me to appreciate something in my own Christian faith.  Resurrection comes after destruction.

In the book, "What Would Jesus Deconstruct?" by John D. Caputo, a case is made for considering deconstruction as helpful for the Christian life of faith.  The basic gist is this: conceding that everything can be deconstructed awakens the Christian from dogmatic slumbers.  Rather than put one's faith in a particular theological doctrine or reading of scripture, the Christian should put their faith in God alone.

Is it right to put faith in the project of deconstruction?  If we take deconstruction seriously then the answer is no.  Faith should be put in God alone.  But deconstruction might be a helpful path, that is, a dead end which allows a way to be made out of no way and the fullness of resurrection to be known.

2 comments:

Brian said...

That's great that you took the OSLC youth group to a Hindu Tempe. You're definitely thinking more outside the box than my old youth group leader. Good job.

And you make Christianity sound so awesome when you bluntly state that faith should be in God alone... that's what it is... call it how it is!

wesmenkster said...

Thanks Brian!