The Inbetween and the Economy of Faith

The realm of the in-between concentrates its narrative attention upon what is done rather than on the space itself. In-between is a process before being

22 We arrive here at the portals of Kafka's castle and the auction-room in Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49. Mimesis is established with the crisis of representation, where Jesus's question to the disciples 'Do you still not understand?' (8.12) echoes endlessly, and endlessly cannot be answered. When is something understood? When do we know we have now understood? The crisis of representation (a crisis which representation is always in, for representation is forever seeking for the ground, the arche, the origin that would allow it to understand itself and to be legitimate) leads either to faith or madness. Again, the other side of mimesis provoking faith is the provocation of paranoia. Postmodern thinkers like Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe wish to stress this side of mimetic activity: 'madness is a matter of mimesis' (Typography, p. 138). He points out that 'Possession ... is the monstrous, dangerous form of a passive mimesis, uncontrolled and unmanageable' (p. 264). The two sides of the crisis of representation are evident in Mark's Gospel in the polarisation between the Kingdom of God and the chaotic madness of the demonic realm. The victims of possession and the unpredictable storms are portrayals of the instability of meaning that mimesis as representation in crisis provokes. The religious and political institutions in the narrative offer a pragmatic but arbitrary order which the presence of Jesus renders illegitimate. In the crisis of representation only faith in God as the arche and origin will suffice.

a place. That process is the process of representation. Discipleship could be described as learning (that is being subject to, disciplined by participation in what is being mediated) how to represent aright. The recognition of one's own participation is also the recognition of being inscribed within what is being mediated of the Father through the Son, Jesus Christ. We are written into a story, a metanarrative. Our recognition is that we are always only in-between. Similarly, one reads of Andrew and Simon entering into a dis-cipleship, but a discipleship that is a continuation of what they have been doing formerly. The verbs of 1.16—18 — paragon, amphiballontas, poieso umas genesthai and aphentes — are all verbs emphasising transition and movement. Fishers they were and fishers they will remain, for it is while they engage in the narrative of their occupation that they issue into the narrative of Jesus Christ.23 It is not that narrative meets metanarrative, but that narrative is always complicit with metanarrative — and it is that complicity that Jesus calls his disciples to understand. To become fishers of human souls is to enter the narrative of their occupation from another perspective. It is to be taught the metaphorical association between two forms of activity; to enter into the crisis of representation that the metaphorical always engenders. But within that crisis there is also the entrance, through the parabolic and figural, into new articulations of identities and the configuration of the world. And so they must recognise that, in being part of this new narrative, they are not just fishers (those in control, those mastering their own economic destinies), they are fish (servants) caught by Christ in the nets of a narrative within which he too has been and is being and will be caught, by God the Father, the unrepresentable origin of the arche, the Sender, the Giver.24 The disciples, while plying their trade, are informed of the fact that they are woven into God's meta-text, a story of Trinitarian inscription

23 See Robert Scharlemann, The Reason of Following, particularly chapter 6, 'Explication of Acolu-thetic Reason', in which he outlines the phenomenological relation between the first-order self and the second-order self as they adhere to the process of following.

24 In the section of the Gospel which treats discipleship (8.27—10.52) there is a story of the man of great wealth who addresses Jesus as 'Good'. Jesus's reply, 'No one is good except God alone' (10.18), indicates, as Morna Hooker observes, that 'Jesus makes no claims to independent authorship,' as God's representative he 'point[s] away from himself to the character and demands of God' (The Gospel According to St Mark, p. 241). His being a representative is part of his nature as a son. James Dunn, in the second edition of his book Christology in the Making (London: SCM, 1989), points out the relation between this representative sonship and the sonship of those who follow him. '[T]here is sufficiently good testimony that Jesus taught his disciples to regard themselves as God's sons in the same intimate way, but also that he regarded their sonship as somehow dependent upon his own, that he thought of their sonship as somehow "derivative" of his' (p. 32). The relationship between Christology and mimesis that I am attempting to uncover here provides a better description of the nature of that 'somehow' in Dunn.

where God is author, Christ is performer and the Holy Spirit is the performance.25 We, as readers/listeners, are not external and excluded. For our act of reading 'concretises' another performance.26 We too are caught by the power of the story-telling. Being held by the story is analogous to being part of the liturgy. Our participation is then a liturgical praxis of sacramental and soteriological significance.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment