Brad Kallenberg

Reductio Absurdum . . . Or, The Ex-Reverend Parses Martin Marty

I recently returned to Ethics As Grammar. David Fitch recommended I read Kallenberg to access Wittgenstein via Hauerwas. How is that for a project?

My interest derives from my friendship with The Ex-Reverend. Language, vocabulary in particular, forms much of the critical evaluation offered by The Ex-Reverend. Kallenberg gives a progression for what is meant by understanding W, no not Geroge W., in Philosophical Grammar.

Essentially, as I see it, the move is to evaluate how language is actually applied. Or, in something of an admittedly overly simplistic default, “words mean something.” And, when they enter a given context we learn that words do not always have a global, or universal, sense. The result is an attempt to parse.

My personal intrigue is not just on the level of finding the best means of communicating faith when often the standard words are so variously applied – see the recent trend from missional to gospel-centered. Mix in a little Fitch and it is not hard to see W at work in Fitch as he parses Zizek for the rest of us.

Casual conversations with youth and 20-somethings, even early 30-somethings, prompts some of us to realize the vocabulary most often used in our churches has been an arrogant oversimplification fearing if we talked faithfully about life and faith it would be just too hard to understand and “scare our young people off.” Or, at least intimidate them. As if they are not intimidated by our publicly unwavering stridency. Read More