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July 30, 2012

Reflection for the Week- July 30th, 2012

One of the most significant questions we all face is – how can we be a ‘real’ self in the midst of the strong and influential currents of the modern and post-modern world? It seems evident that we all exist in time and story, so we are neither entirely transparent, nor completely opaque to ourselves. Unfortunately, our legitimate fears of being deceived may lead us to trust and embrace the ultimate authority self of modernity or the lost and alienated self of post-modernity, instead of finding a mediated place and space to be and be with others. The old modernist perspective that there are only facts and the new post-modern one that there are no facts only interpretations leaves us in the quandary of being either masters or slaves. In a diversity of ways, neither of these options fit, as they represent unrealistic polarizations, which by the way are always enticing, yet dangerously flawed. Let’s say a better formulation would be something like, there are only interpreted facts, as far as we know. This calls for a worldview of subjective objectivity, which allows us to know something of ourselves and reality. If this is the case, it means we will always be situated selves, but in seeing this we will find there is an open possibility for a trust in the Infinite One, who will not deceive and who frees us to be real. God’s gracious offer of creation, redemption, and new creation invite us to be truer selves, as we begin to live in his picture of trust and suspicion and his economy of exchange and gift. As a result, we will need God’s wisdom to help us have a clearer picture of who we are in the context and framework of a given life that is beyond us to control or define.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 23, 2012

Reflection for the Week- July 23rd, 2012

As the famous French philosopher Albert Camus once commented: ‘the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions.’ Taking Camus seriously, there seems little doubt that we are fragile agents in time and story, groping for a picture of our lives that makes sense. Our plots may include shifting dimensions of hurt, suffering, despair, and healing, joy, and health, but these very spheres of our narratives leave us in a world that’s way too small. Faced with continually discovering that we are not able to emplot a self-determined existence, we stumble along and are forced to ask this burning question again and again. The truth is there is far more to the meaning of life than our present circumstances may be able to recount. Surely, in some areas this is widely accepted, but just as surely in others it is not. There are many instances where we readily acknowledge there is more, while in some situations we still tenaciously grasp at the illusive power of being the ultimate authority. Thus, we all too often continue to demand to tell the key parts of the story our own way, but in attempting to do so, this simply leaves us short of meaning that is sufficiently able to address and cohere with a world that is not of our own making. Following on from this, we begin to recognize the need for a bigger story – the biblical mega narrative – which appears on the horizon, not as a totalizing account, but as a meaning-full telling with the force of explanation and new understanding that takes us to the limit.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 16, 2012

Reflection for the Week- July 16th, 2012

We are invited to be wary of self-deception, fiction making, power plays, exploitation, and control tendencies that inevitably result in us making it up as we go along, and which will only lead us into the landscape of hopelessness and despair. A God focused holistic hope, by contrast, pertains to self, other, world and the destinies attached to each. Self = a new self being transformed into the image of Christ – the other = a person loved by God and one who has weight concerning who one’s own self is; oneself as another – the world = a redeemed and renewed planet breaking away from all that is not good. Such a trinity of destinies is breathtaking in its features and scope, in that it is sacrificially offered by the Divine One, who encourages us to be released from competing networks of manipulative interests, since this spewed out grace, which infuses us with new identities, illustrates a redemptive trajectory that inaugurates a dwelling place in his space.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 09, 2012

Reflection for the Week- July 9th, 2012

Renewed and being renewed selves are to be saturated in hope. This hope is best pictured as a virtue – a good character trait, made possible by God’s grace – the key that unlocks the direction towards that which is worthy of hope. Feelings of hope may be valid, but they must undergo a dialogue with the notions of trust and suspicion, in order to evaluate their referents. But even when feelings of hope are considered trustworthy, they are not to be embraced as ends in and of themselves. This happens to be the case, because hope is more than feelings. Hope reflects, therefore, a deliberate way of viewing life and destiny that translates into a state of being, which promotes a holistic configuration of selfhood and a confident looking forward to all that’s good.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery

July 02, 2012

Reflection for the Week- July 2nd, 2012

Receiving the gift of a new self, anchored in a Divine call from beyond and a Christo-redemptive act from within, deconstructs manipulative power and conniving selfishness, setting us on the path to life with all its detours and complexities. The vistas opened up along the journey are breathtaking, as God’s promises for the past, present, and future begin come into focus and to coalesce in our lives. As a result of this reality taking place, novel ways of seeing, being, and living sear the landscape of the whole of who we are, encouraging us to begin to let go of self-defeating strategies of control and exploitation, and to embrace God’s project of genuine love that is out transform us and the world.

Dr. Gregory J. Laughery