Friday, February 22, 2013

Ontologically Speaking, Being Comes Before Doing

Staircase, Detroit Institute of Arts

A friend, AW, writes, re. my last post on Dallas Willard: "Consider the possibility that doing what you ought, especially when feeling grouchy/ tired/ apathy/ whatever, can be what God uses to change our minds.  For me, sometimes the thinking comes first, but other times the doing comes first was."

This is a relevant comment.

My response was: 

My understanding has always been that Willard's idea (which is shared by most if not all Christian contemplatives - Thomas Merton et. al.) is that being precedes doing. This is itself an ontological claim. 

For example, I have in the first place an ongoing, sustained relationship with Linda; out of that relationship comes relevant doing.

I don't doubt that doing what one ought to do [viz., what God wants] can be used by God to change our minds. But even here the God-relationship precedes the doing.