If individual objectivity is a myth, what happens when individuals in a community of believers are honest about their own subjectivity? What happens when they don’t deny their subjectivity, but rather own it in dialogue with each other in the context of communal relationships? Stanley Grenz suggests:
“Narrative thinkers remind us that we must view theology in terms of its relationship to the story of God’s action in history. This seminal assertion carries important implications. One ramification is that we can pursue the theological task only ‘from within’—only from the vantage point of the faith community in which we stand…Theology, then is the task of the faith community; it is a community act.”
Thus, as the community of faith attempts to interpret Scripture and speak of God we offer all of our perspectives to each other in honesty, humility and love. We learn to listen to each other and be shaped by each other’s perspectives. This allows each of us to “think outside ourselves”, not by claiming a position of objective neutrality, but by learning to hear other perspectives. Admittedly and intentionally we operate from a position of faith. We do not claim or seek objective neutrality. We have put our confidence and hope in this narrative. Kierkegaard (under a pseudonym) said “Subjectivity is truth” . Though what he meant by his enigmatic statement is somewhat debatable (which would seem to prove his point), I suspect that he was pointing to exactly the reality that we’ve been exploring.
(To be continued...)