Friday, April 27, 2012

[negativity dominance]

From Richard Beck's book, unclean: Meditations on Purity, Hospitality, and Mortality.
Finally, consider the attribute of negativity dominance. The judgment of negativity dominance places all the power on the side of the pollutant. If I touch (apologies for the example I’m about to use) some feces to your cheeseburger the cheeseburger gets ruined, permanently (see above). Importantly, the cheeseburger doesn’t make the feces suddenly scrumptious. When the pure and the polluted come into contact the pollutant is the more powerful force. The negative dominates over the positive.

Negativity dominance has important missional implications for the church. For example, notice how negativity dominance is at work in Matthew 9. The Pharisees never once consider the fact that the contact between Jesus and the sinners might have a purifying, redemptive, and cleansing effect upon the sinners. Why not? The logic of contamination simply doesn’t work that way. The logic of contamination has the power of the negative dominating over the positive. Jesus doesn’t purify the sinners. The sinners make Jesus unclean.

Beck, p. 30.
See the naked jesus cartoon in the previous post.

There is an online discussion of the book at

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