Vernon White: Identity

This is about the best book I’ve read in a while probably best also because I got it for such a low price.

In a post-modern world that resists any meta-narrative or early foreclosure of meaning, a ever changing world in which we are always left scrambling for a sense of personal meaning and when we do think it is found, it is quickly taken away again. The Author helpfully grounds any sense of meaning that can be found in such a world with the faithfulness of God, in which we can take hold of as image bearers.

Subterranean Identity BluesEven though our example is Omniscient and Omnipresent we find that He remains the same even when accomodating himself to human experience and ultimately in the Incarnation of the son.

I end with a quote from the book which I think beutifully summarises the main point of book:

If ought implies can, then the call to faithfulness must have some basis in the structures of our existence to make it possible. The framework of these structures has been laid out. A metanarrative which incorporates meaning from the future and the past provides the theoretical basis. Whithin the Christian metanarrative, specific doctrines of God, his love, faithfulness, sovereignty, Omnipresence and eschatology provide the ontological basis and moral motivation to respond. The summons of God who is himself faithful and able to undergird all our action is therefore the most profound resource and reason for human faithfulness. When this call is embodied in a tradition-bearing community when a supporting context of discourse and social practice, faithfulness becomes all the more possible in practice.

As you can see from the above quote, this is a sophisticated book and I cannot tell you that I fully understand every page or line. The reaction to what I’ve read is similar to some at Areopagus – We will hear you again about this. Meaning this is really interesting even though I’m note sure I agree with every sentence and would have to consult some of the works referred to which is surely a good thing to be counted as an achivement on the part of any Author.

This however does not mean the book would have benefited from being longer. The length is just right given the purpose of the series it was published under – Society and Church.

Tell the endnotes I’m coming for them !


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