17. Exercise #4: Maieutically Interpreting Col. 1:25-27
The maieutic process for spiritual growth. The following is a 3-step Story Interpretation process developed by Elizabeth Howell, William Doles and Walter Wink and published in Awakening the Fire Within.
We will explore the following passage from The Letter to the Colossians, 1:25-27.
I became its servant according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
1. What does the story evoke within me? This step is about exploration. Think (and feel) the passage with different lenses. Get into a contemplative state. Rather than asking what does it mean?, ask what do I think? Or how does it feel? The central question is “what does the story evoke within me?”
2. How is this story happening in the world around me? “This question serves as both a bridge to the subjective and spiritual interpretation, and a way of beginning to see the collective and cultural expression of the issue. By encouraging a wide variety of response in more objective terms, a richness begins to come to consciousness in terms of the individual. Drawing on intuition rather than logical analysis, the second question asks how the pattern is on the front pages of the morning newspaper and in the TV news – in political, social, economic, as well as religious arenas.”
- What does this passage mean to my present day life?
- How can the Truth it teaches be put into practice?
3. How is the story an event in my life? What does it mean for me? Contemplation and meditation are great companions with this question.
“This question invites the participant to consider the story as an ongoing event in his or her life. This generally begins with identification with only one character. This invitation offers great possibility.”
- How does it relate to me?
- How is the story an event in my life?
- What changes does it call forth within me?
- What do I need to release in order for this Truth to be actualized in me?