Thursday, December 6, 2007

Place and Plurality of Meanings

One of the issues I have struggled to come to terms with is the obvious layers of meaning. If places are, in some sense, socially constructed by events of individuals and communities over time, certainly there will be a variety of meanings, possibly even within the same community. Jerusalem may be the quintessential contested place. Places are layered with meaning. Memory is embedded and continues to be embedded. Each place is shaped by those shared memories. It is here again that we should listen to the power struggles over place and consider whose voices and memories are not being heard about this place. I think both Inge and Sheldrake have helped me see particular experiences in particular places, while perhaps quite different from others interpretation of that place, do not end in those interpretations. The meaning of that place transcends the individual experience to point beyond self and place to the sacred potential of all places. God has claimed this spot, pointing to the eventual redemption of all places. We will certainly have different memories and interpretations of places, but the diversity is united in the light of Christ.