The Chair and the Desk, 4/5/16

From the chair:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

-Romans 15:13

I find this to be a beautiful and comprehensive prayer, that really fits anyone in any time and place. It was my prayer for you all, readers (some by name, those and I know, and those of whom I do not know, too), and a prayer I would always ask anyone to pray for me. May be filled with faith in the God who gives joy, peace, and hope.


From the desk:

“The fallibility of all knowledge is not a sign of its deficiency but rather an essential characteristic of knowledge, for every knowledge claim is part of a system of signs that is open to further interpretation and has consequences that are to be publicly tested and confirmed.” 

-Richard Bernstein describing Charles Peirce’s thought in Praxis and Action, p.176

On the one hand, Peirce admits that knowledge is fallible: It’s open to being publicly tested and confirmed. That’s true. I appreciate that. On the other, he argues that this is a “not a sign of its deficiency but rather an essential characteristic of knowledge.” This is important. I appreciate this more.

“Yeah, but how do you know?” is a poor critique of a claim. It might be part of a critique of a claim, but it’s more productive to say, “I disagree. I think it is actually this way because of such and such.” To only ask “but how do you know?” is mere skepticism. It’s ancient. It led nowhere, except perhaps to nihilism. “Yes, but how do you know?” is not a useless question, but it is a meager question in isolation. My answer will not soar above fallibility. It will have its own weaknesses, but what are you posing as an alternative? What we have are not merely true and false ideas. We have ideas in competition with one another.

My claim is that everything is grounded in the promise, incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension, pentecost, and immanent return of Jesus Christ.


“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.

 

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