transitionsI ended the previous post by saying that if a nation is not run on a gospel-directed and -shaped wisdom, it is by default run on some other wisdom, on some other way of seeing national life and expressing it, on some other way of trying to analyze and solve its problems. What I am ultimately pleading for on this blog is the developing of a gospel-shaped wisdom that informs the analyses and policy making of international relations, and of relations between the United States and Middle East states in particular.

If you have recently begun to get into this blog, thank you for that, and welcome to the neighborhood. What you need to know, however, is that, except for some brief examples, I have not yet begun posting in any developed way about what a gospel-shaped wisdom for U.S. – Mideast relations might entail. This is because of the limitations of publishing an existing book manuscript post by post on a blog. That is what I am doing on this blog (see here), but in a somewhat revised way so that the material makes sense post by post. Tricky, that.

Unfortunately, however, this means that readers have not been able to start with the entire book in their hands or on their Kindles, so they cannot jump ahead a few chapters, so to speak, if the nudge strikes, to see what I say about U.S. – Mideast relations. I wish it were not so, but you can blame the technology! It has forced me choose what material from the manuscript to put before your eyes first and then keep going from there. This was a hard choice, believe me.

I thought I might start posting by jumping straight into U.S. – Mideast narratives and policies, but I eventually concluded that that approach would leave far too many crucial questions unnecessarily unanswered because I had not said much about the wisdom tradition. So I decided that, first, I better give readers insight into key ideas from the wisdom tradition that inform my thinking about international relations and foreign policy and related matters. Since a wisdom-based way of thinking about these areas is a different than how we hear about them from the media and our politicians, I thought that this starting point would be best. Then once that foundation was laid, I felt that what I wanted to say about U.S. – Mideast and related matters would make more sense.

This approach has stretched my thinking, but it seemed like a win-win approach for all of us. For instance, when I begin writing in later posts on international events, narratives, and policies, I can link one of those posts to one of the earlier ones where I discuss a related matter in the wisdom tradition. If I think that will help spare us all the time of dealing with unnecessary questions, I will do that. But necessary questions – bring ’em on!

Believe me when I say that it has been very hard for me to forebear jumping into the contemporary international scene. But that should begin soon. You can also believe me when I say that it won’t be what you are used to hearing. This is why I hinted in the recent posts about the significance of religion and the faith of nations. But now we will turn again to explore some further, often overlooked, ideas in the historic wisdom tradition.

©2014 by Charles Strohmer

Image by ecstaticist (permission via Creative Commons)

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