II. QUESTIONS FOR CLERGY
Prophetic metaphor is the language of the future
church, but it’s not the metaphor you think. The modern notion of
metaphor is so distorted and short-sighted that we must "get in your
face" about it. So—with your permission—answer the following
questions as honestly as you can.
First, however, here are some reminders:
METAPHOR. . .
. . . marks a major shift from logic to
revelation, from mind to spirit, from proposition to intuition, and
from the literate to the prophetic. As a result, permissible
knowledge and forbidden knowledge are jumping into bed together.
. . . follows no preset rules. Not having
answers—within the metaphor itself—is more essential than having
. . . puts things side by side that don’t go
together, and the tension or "interplay" between these differences
defines metaphor. The metaphor’s "message," however, is not its
. . . occurs anytime, anywhere, in any form, and
on several levels at once.
. . . is an active, mostly autonomous, force.
Great thinkers call it the very language of God—the ultimate
incarnate dialogue. It is a never-ending cycle, initiated by God and
completed by God, with us in the middle.
. . . opens the future to those who know its
PROPHETIC METAPHORS ARE NOT. . .
. . . mere figures of speech, decorative images,
or colorful language.
. . . part of the literal world. They have
nothing to do with language.
. . . their message. The Truth in a metaphor is
not found in the metaphor itself.
. . . space/time objects.
PROPHETIC METAPHORS ARE NEITHER. . . .
. . . logical ideas, objective truths, nor
. . . of us nor by us. They do not submit totally
to our control.
OK, here are the questions:
If you could describe your church service as a
"religious drama," who or what—in all honesty—plays the starring
role? I mean really?
What metaphors in your church point to you or
your congregation more than Christ?
What common "literal" or "dead" metaphors would
we find in your religious language?
Where could we most often mistake the metaphor
for the message in your church?
Where could we most often "mistake the oyster for
the pearl" in your metaphors?
What typical metaphors in your service mistakenly
imply, "The medium IS the message"?
Where do you find the misuse of metaphor in other
For more on this subject, see "Questions for
Clergy," Parts I and III.
© 2010 Thomas Hohstadt