This page will use two terms, dialectic and artistic, narrowly enough to require definition. Dialectic will stand for the "scientific" approach to complexity reduction, which discerns patterns from the details of reality, i.e. inductive logic. Artistic will stand for the "narrative" approach, which creates perspectives on reality.
God could have communicated His will to us using either dialectic or artistic means. God chose artistic. The Bible is The Story composed of many stories. Why did God do this? One is the nature of symbols as a means of long term information transmission. But more relevant to the topic at hand is that this is how people learn. Human beings must have a context into which they can plug new information. Without a frame of reference, without perspective, information has no meaning.
God laid out the entire perspective in the artistic manner of the Bible. But God, being rather clever, did not stop there. He put the details necessary for the dialectic uncovering of His principles inside The Story.
The process of learning the Word is that we learn the stories within The Story, often as children. As we study and meditate on these stories in detail, we gain understanding through a dialectic process between our understanding of the world and the details of the stories; line upon line, precept upon precept. What makes this dialectic process unique is that God's Story does not change, so the dialectic synthesis requires the change to be to our understanding. This is why the Word renews our minds.
The Church at present is almost completely vested in the dialectic approach. Partly this is to attain a necessary level of understanding in and transformation of ourselves, but also because we have taken on the tools of our dialectic culture. As our culture has discovered, there is a tremendous power in the dialectic; but there is also a great drawback.
This great drawback is a lack of unity, an overall Big Picture. To phrase it in a metaphor, we can dissect the frog but we cannot then bring it back to life. It takes a great deal of scientific training and equipment to understand the information the dissection produces, and even then we do not fully understand. There is an essential unity in a living frog that is beyond the grasp of human science but not beyond the capacities of a couple of living frogs. To use a metaphor from the Bible, Ezekiel watched a valley of dry bones take on flesh, but they were still dead. What was missing was the breath of God. The Word of God is alive.
No amount of knowledge about the bits of a person constitutes knowledge of that person. The whole is more than the sum of its parts. In conversation we make a distinction between knowing and knowing about a person. I know about Abraham Lincoln, but I do not know him. In fact, "I know this person" is commonly used to mean "I have met and talked with this person face to face several times". To come to God you must know Jesus. Demons threw away knowing Jesus, and now only know about Jesus, but that distant knowledge only makes them tremble.
I believe our culture is too heavily vested in the idea of no absolutes, no meaning, to be able to overcome this drawback. Even the art of our culture has largely restricted its view to questions of personal emotion. Fragmentation is thus our culture's penultimate destination. It is quite another matter for the Church. Our destination, by God's decree, is unity. How will this unity come about? By the power of the Spirit, of course, but one of the major features will be a return to the artistic perspective, The Story from which we began.
This epoch is going to be that of the artistic perspective. More detail on aspects of Christianity will not provide this. Rather, we must use artistic communications to draw these isolated realms together in a single whole. These works will provide the mental imagery, the symbolic shortcuts necessary to lead believers into being Bride Minded. Examine the Word and you will see how very important imagery and symbols have been to God.
The Church now nears the end of a long period of gestation which Jesus rooted in the primacy of the Word over human traditions. Doctrine came next because so many errors were made through misreading the Word. Next came the personal aspects of the Word, ministering to the needs of the congregation through detailed analysis of Scripture so it would no longer be true that, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Now we are ready for the artistic phase, where we regain our perspective. This will change the current situation of, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." Why do we perish without vision? Because you cannot stand in faith for something you cannot even picture in your mind.
Once we have grown into this vision of unity, we will be ready to begin walking in unity. Do not imagine the Church will just spontaneously start walking in unity. For centuries we have known, on a dialectic level, that the Word tells us to be one. Yet this has not happened. Our understanding must move up to a living artistic level first. Then and only then will we walk as the Bride of Christ, without spot or blemish, grown into the measure of the fulness of the stature of Jesus.
The Church is bursting with the artistic unified vision of our wedding day. The day is upon us when the arts will no longer be icing on the cake of the service, but rather the meal of which that cake is but one course.
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