The world cannot be disenchanted

The rise of the practice of telling stories to illustrate theological claims does come with a greater awareness of our role in making meaning. It arises with a loss of confidence in the givenness of the meanings we experience. But to take the loss of the experience of givenness as a sign that there is no givenness is to engage in exactly the idealism that this perspective criticizes in mythological thinking. Such a conflation confuses our experience of the world with the world itself. O’Connor’s near contemporary Saul Bellow named this dynamic precisely. “The educated speak of the disenchanted (a boring) world,” he wrote. “But it is not the world, it is my own head that is disenchanted. The world cannot be disenchanted.”

—Ted A. Smith, “From Silkworms to Songbirds: Why We No Longer Preach Like Jonathan Edwards


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