Phyllis Ryder (pryder@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU)
Tue, 6 Aug 1996 16:11:52 -0700

It seems to me that people are talking about religion as if we don't use
rhetoric to make religious decisions. I suspect most ministers would
disagree: the "faithful" need to be persuaded as much as anyone else.
Isn't that what weekly sermons are for? And among the "faithful" are
heated and lively debates about how to act, based on interpretations of
what is "good" and "right"; about how to interpret; about what it means
to "read" the Bible, and so on. The fact that the Bible can be
interpreted so many ways--and IS interpreted so many ways--means that it
necessarily relies on rhetoric, doesn't it? I disagree that, for the
"faithful" the Bible=fact, and is therefore non-negotiable. That seems a
simplistic way to view what happens in churches/synagogues/mosques, etc.
(I'm thinking of a dissertation a colleague wrote called "Subversive
Devotions" in which she, as a Presbyterian Minister, argues for the
authority to define Christianity in non-patriarchal, non-homophobic
ways. Her audience is Christians. Her method is rhetorical theory)

Be patient towards all that is unresolved in your heart, and try to love the
questions themselves. Do not seek the answers that cannot be given to you,
because you would not be able to live them, and the point is to live everything.
Live the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually, without knowing it, live
along some distant day into the answers. --Rainer Maria Rilke
Phyllis Mentzell Ryder/3438 East Bellevue Street/Tucson, AZ 85716/(520) 326-5416