The Spiritual Myopia of God’s People

I’m buried under stacks of grading this week, so take missing persons reports with a grain of salt.

Reading through narrative analyses of John 9, I came across this gem from the conclusion to one paper:

In the field of organizational psychology, the term “organizational myopia” is used to describe what happens when people work within organizations without a clear understanding of the purpose of one’s work. Without clear understanding of one’s function within an organization, the mission of the organization begins to drift and functions, procedures, and roles become larger than the mission. In much the same way, the religious leaders functioned in ways that were spiritually myopic. The larger purpose of their faith tradition became lost in translation as they worked to maintain their ethnic-religious-political traditions. Throughout the text, this tension is played out over a series of interactions with the religious leaders. In these interactions “knowing God” takes on different meanings. There are those who know God in a traditional and theological sense while there are others who know God in an experiential sense. These ways of knowing God need not be pitted against one another as they mutually reinforce each other. However, in the Gospel of John, Jesus consistently points out the religious leaders’ lack of experience with Him and their inability to discern His presence that nullifies their intellectual and traditional knowledge of Him.

One thought on “The Spiritual Myopia of God’s People

  1. Greg Johnston

    I thought this conclusion started out like gangbusters, but it lost its train of thought when it switched the topic to knowing God. The problem in John and highlighted in chapter 9 (it seems to me) is not that the leadership did not know God “experientially” (whatever that means). The problem (as in Isaiah 28 and 29) is that they were myopic. They did not know God in the sense that they had lost sight of the “organizational mission” and did not understand their role in his unfolding plan.

    Their systematic theology had developed a life of its own independent from the overall narrative and played a major role in their myopia. This man cannot be from God because we know he is a sinner. And we know he is a sinner because he does not keep the sabbath as defined by our theological reasoning.

    “We see.” And their sin remained.

    Or so it seems to me through my untrained eyes.

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