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A Tale of Two Stories: The Intersection of Epistemology and Spiritual Formation

A Tale of Two Stories: The Intersection of Epistemology and Spiritual Formation

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Published by robertmilliman
An illustration of the power exerted by one's preunderstandings and presuppositions while engaged in the act of knowing reality and how that power is affected by Christian conversion
An illustration of the power exerted by one's preunderstandings and presuppositions while engaged in the act of knowing reality and how that power is affected by Christian conversion

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Published by: robertmilliman on Jul 22, 2010
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10/25/2012

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A Tale of Two Stories
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Our perception of reality is influenced by and cannot occur apart from (1) the effect of all our experiences (preunderstandings) and our (2) decisions, both conscious and unconscious, aboutreality (presuppositions).In a similar way, understanding a text is controlled by the text’s genre and context. We all usedifferent rules to interpret different genres, whether personal letters, poetry, or newspaper articles. In addition, one cannot adequately understand a text without knowing its context, boththe specific purpose for which an author created the text (historical context) and the text’s placewithin a larger literary unit (literary context).This comparison between reality and texts suggests that we may view reality as a kind of text.Texts have objective meaning that exists apart from our accurate knowledge of it. Likewise,reality has objective meaning that exists apart from our accurate knowledge of it. The knowledgewe do have of reality is controlled by our interpretation or perception of it. And this perception isa product of our preunderstandings and presuppositions.Furthermore, it is helpful to think of our perception of reality itself as a text, a story. This story isthe reality in which one lives and by which one interprets reality. Though this reality, this story,is analogous to objective reality, it is not the same as objective reality—it is one’s perception of reality, your story.To illustrate: Why do different people (e.g., a husband and wife!) and different people-groupsinterpret the same facts differently? Ignorance? Sin? Different stories?Our stories do not function in isolation, but are part of longer stories. These longer stories,especially their characters, shape and transform our stories, primarily through their actions, their example. The characters in the stories closest to our own story have the most influence over oustory. For most people, these characters are one’s parents.My civilization’s story(The West)My nation’s story(USA)My region’s story(NW Wis)My families’ stories(Millimans and Sentys)My parents’ stories(Warren and Marge)My story

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