We work within a culture of rugged individualists and fragmented communities. We are officially schooled in the notion that we are most fully ourselves when we are liberated, autonomous, on our own. We live under the modern myth that it is possible, even desireable, to live our lives without external, social determination. Ironically, that we think it desireable to live our lives without external, social determination is proof that our lives have been externally, socially determined by the culture of capitalist consumption. I did not on my own come up with the notion that I am a sovereign individual with no greater purpose in life than to live exclusively for myself. Rather, this culture has formed me to believe that I have no other purpose in life other than the purpose I myself have chosen. The irony is that I did not choose the story that I have no purpose in life other tha that which I have chosen.
The issue is not, Shall I be externally determined by some community of interpretation and authorization? The issue is, Which community will have its way with my life? Or perhaps more accurately, Will the community that determines, interprets, and authorizes me be worthy of my life? (19)
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
will willimon and social determination
I just picked up Will Willimon's book Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry. Here's something to chew on about the way that our values are often chosen for us, without our permission.