Rich Paxson

“How does reading Scripture as progressive revelation help us discover new and more true things about God and ourselves?”

Towards the end of Essay One James wrote:

“There has only really been teaching when there has been learning. The anthropological correlate to teaching is learning. The anthropological correlate to revelation is discovery.”

The concept of progressive revelation gives me the space to grope, to discover, to learn the dimensions of the concavity of God’s presence in my life. The beginning point is not that of a good person seeking moral justification. No. The truth is I am essentially flawed, and yet a person who is free to accept God’s loving forgiveness.

A self I have discovered, starting with Forgiving Victim resources, originates not within my head, but is given to me through negotiating with the “social other.” At first I could not integrate this concept into my practice of living. Then I encountered Matthew Crawford writing about “skilled practices” in his new book: ‘The World Beyond Your Head’ [http://bit.ly/1zPIzqR] :

“Skilled practices serve as an anchor to the world beyond one’s head – a point of triangulation with objects and other people who have a reality of their own. The most surprising thing to emerge in this inquiry (for me, at least) is that through such triangulation we may achieve something like “individuality.” For it is an an achievement, especially in a mass society that speaks an idiom of individualism and thereby obscures the genuine article.”

Reading scripture as progressive revelation where Jesus is our interpretive principle is a skilled practice. Honing analytical skills for reading progressive revelation triangulates a way forward as I continue to grope within the concavity that is God’s breaking into our human centric world. St. Paul in Acts 17:26-28 told the Athenians about this:

“From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For “In him we live and move and have our being”; as even some of your own poets have said, “For we too are his offspring.”