Friday, July 27, 2012

Caputo on faith, hope, and charity.

So we start to see how deeply the not is embedded in the path, how deeply the impasse is embedded in the pass, and more generally how deeply the impossible is embedded in the possible--almost to the point that, far from being a simple play on words among wild-eyed French theorists, it is beginning to look like a law, and indeed one very close to the religious heart. Think about faith, hope, and charity singled out by St. Paul. When is faith really faith? Not when it is looking more and more like we are right, but when the situation is beginning to look impossible, in the darkest night of the soul. The more credible things are, the less faith is needed, but the more incredible things seem, the more faith is required, the faith that is said to move mountains. So, too, hope is hope not when we have every reason to expect a favorable outcome, which is nothing more than a reasonable expectation (the virtue of a stockbroker), but when it is beginning to look hopeless, when we are called on to "hope against hope," as St. Paul says (Rom. 4:18), which is a magnificently deconstructive turn of phrase. This is above all true of love, where loving those who are lovable of those who love you makes perfect sense. But when is love really love? When does love burn white hot? When we love those who are not lovable or who do not love us--in short, when we love our enemies. In other words, we are really on the way of faith and hope and love when the way is blocked; we are really under way when the way seems impossible, where this "impossible" makes the way possible. It is precisely the "not" that makes the "path" kick into high gear. -What Would Jesus Deconstruct?

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