Decontextualize

Decontextualize: (v) to remove from a context

Water.

What do we use it for?

  • We drink it.
  • We swim in it.
  • We clean with it.

Very simple.

This is the context for water.

So the young prophet shows up at the river and he wants to use the water to baptize people. Why?

Because it’s something we drink, we swim in it and it cleans us.

The context is clear.  Water is a symbol of life, joy and cleanliness.

What a great way to communicate a transition in our beings. Take us into the water, let us promise good things, let us believe better things. Then splash us beneath the deep and rise us up—cleansed.

Could anything be more beautiful than that?

Does it matter how the water is used?

Does the top of my head have to get wet?

How about my hip bones?

Is it less significant if my kneecaps remain dry?

Since we understand the context of water bringing life, joy and cleanliness, why must we decontextualize by insisting the style in which we enact this ritual is more important than the expression itself?

How shall we take our communion?

Should we use wine or grape juice?

How can we take the symbolism of the body and blood of Christ and trivialize it down to grocery store concerns?

Are you saved?

How do you know?

Did you confess?

Did you come to it on your own?

Did you do it in church?

Did you do it in public?

Do any of these things matter?

Is it necessary to take the context of something beautiful and change it to a complexity and make it nearly inaccessible?

How do you know when you’ve found something pure?

That’s easy.

When no one needs to explain it to you.

 

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