News, Connections and Photos from the life of the faith community at CAPC Oakland
I grew up learning that together we can find answers and solutions to the problems we face. This requires listening to one another, wisdom, thinking through things and acknowledging our mistakes (what won’t or hasn’t worked). Increasingly though we are recognizing that people who share the same facts and data, have the same way of thinking through problems and data often come up with wildly different solutions and answers to the same problem. How can that be? This is in part what I think is leading to paralysis and partisanship in our nation.
Epistemology is the philosophical work for the study (-logy) of knowledge (epistem-). Briana Toole, professor of Philosophy at Claremont McKenna College has been working on this problem and has been forefront in the renewed interest in standpoint epistemology. Standpoint epistemology acknowledges that our knowledge is not based just on our education, or the information we possess, it’s also shaped in large part by our social identities. Social identity is a person’s sense of who they are based on their group membership(s) – such as racial background, gender and social class.
What she’s saying is the oftentimes we don’t see what someone else sees because we are different. That’s how we can often look at the same situation or problem and find such different – even conflicting – things. Our personal stories intersect with and greatly shape the way that we see the world. We can never get outside of our own experience.
In today’s scripture the blind man, who formerly saw, but now cannot, has his eyes opened twice. It’s like he has to do a double take to expand his vision, Then Jesus sends him home telling him not to go into the village. It reminds me of the Magi who are told to return home by a different path when they’ve found the Christ child in the manger. It’s similar to the conclusions about age that Father Richard Rohr writes about in his best-selling book Falling Upward. Rohr writes that many older people find themselves stuck in the culture of the first half of life, where they continue to live by the values of fame and wealth. However, there comes a point when one must look inward to contemplate life and “discover your soul.” “What is the normal goal to a young person becomes a neurotic hindrance in old age.”
Questions for Reflection & Examen:
• What engaged you, enraged you, or surprised you in this story?
• Why do you think it take two times of touching the man for Jesus to heal his eyes, giving him sight?
• How do you long to see differently, or to see with new eyes? From what might you need to be healed and/or delivered to have such clear sight?
• What invitation do you hear the Spirit of God speaking to you – or to us, as a church – to act, speak, be or change through this word of scripture?
CLICK HERE to get to a PDF Study Sheet on Mark 8:22-26 that we’ll use at CAPC Oakland.