Rohr on Brueggemann on Scripture as Template for Human Development
Scripture As Template For Development (Walter Brueggemann)
Brueggemann says there are three major segments to the Hebrew Scriptures.
1. Torah = first half of life.
The Torah is the period in which the people of Israel were given law, tradition, structure, certitude, order, clarity, authority, safety, and specialness. It would define them and give them their identity and hold them together.
You have to begin with some kind of Torah in normal healthy development. And it sure helps to believe that you are the “chosen people.” That’s what parents are giving their little ones—security, safety, specialness. The possibility of divine election is first mediated and made possible through the loving gaze of your parents and those around you (even neurologically).
2. Prophet = toward second half of life.
Self criticism, recognition of the dark side, without which most people (and most of religion) never move beyond tribal thinking, which is the belief that they and their group are the best, and really the “only.” It creates narcissism instead of any possibility of enlightenment.
3. Wisdom Literature = second half of life.
healthy self-criticism + healthy first half of life allow you to move to the third section of the Hebrew Scriptures: the Wisdom Literature. Here you move into the language of mystery and paradox. Both-And thinking succeeds Either-Or thinking. You can live withcompassion, forgiveness, patience, and tolerance. But we don’t move toward the second half until we’ve gone through the other two states. The best sequence, therefore, is order-disorder-synthesis…”
~ Richard Rohr.