No Guarantees- An Ethics Posting
In a recent Ethics entry, John Hickey puts forth the family as an obvious place where narrative ethic is lived out – traditions are lived out and handed down, family stories are shared. He then concludes that : anyone who has already experienced bright little faces turning into snarling teenagers and then suddenly transformed into those strange creatures known as independent adult children knows that there is no guarantee whatsoever of any shared virtues, practices, or telos.
At the end of chapter 5 of Truth is Stranger, I think this is exactly the point Middleton and Walsh are making. At the end of this chapter on the Biblical metanarrative, they state that the Scriptures contain “the resources to shatter totalizing readings, to convert the reader, to align us with God’s purposes of shalom, compassion and justice.”(p.107) At the same time, they conclude that this conversion is not automatic, and is not guaranteed. It requires response from the reader, and constant engagement. As Christians, any guarantees we have do not lie in other humans. Our hope does not depend on humanity’s ability to get the story right. So no, this ethical framework is not a guarantee that those who follow us will do any better than we did. What it hopefully does is raise our awareness of who we are, who we have been, and who we are called to be – and to keep on trying to be those people. Without guarantees, but always with hope.
As a side note... Luke was watching a Sunday am news show before we went to church this week. I just caught the conclusion, but the host was ending the show by noting how we have lost the language of ethics. Sound familiar, anyone?