Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Attending to Forgiveness

Posted by David Reimer

Whenever I see writing on the topic of forgiveness, I take special note. In part, this is because I am a human being: I need to be forgiven, and I need to grow in my capacity to forgive. Also in part, it is because I have attempted to write some academic things on forgiveness and the Old Testament, and I'm well aware of the complexities.

Along the way, it has been a delight to bump into Chris Brauns who (I'm guessing, now!) has been on a similar path. Chris's book on the subject, Unpacking Forgiveness: Biblical Answers for Complex Questions and Deep Wounds, is due out in October. But he has been gathering some interesting resources on his blog. Along with stimulating -- even provocative! -- articles, you can find out more about the book, or take the pointed and probing "Forgiveness Quiz" -- just eight (trick?) questions. I did. I hope I passed!

While we're at it, here's one of my favourite quotes on the subject of the Bible and forgiveness:
Scripture has authority for Christians because they have learned as a forgiven people they must also be able to forgive.... By attending closely to the example of those who have given us our scripture, we learn how to be a people morally capable of forgiveness and thus worthy of continuing to carry the story of God we find authorized by scripture.
(Stanley Hauerwas, A Community of Character [University of Notre Dame Press, 1981], pp. 68-9)

I'm looking forward to reading Chris's book, because I have the sense he'll be helping me to develop the kind of "close attentiveness" that brings Scripture and forgiveness together.