Translating something from English to Spanish at work today I used the expression “Demos cara a.” It’s an idiomatic expression that actually has a quite direct translation into English: “to face up to.” The idea behind both is the same: to link one’s face (that is, one’s identity) to something; to acknowledge that one is connected with an event, behavior, statement, etc.
You can think of Facebook, as well. We use the face as a metonym for our whole beings, who we are. We fill out profiles with details which we place next to our pictures so that people see us and know us. Damos cara a who we are and we show that face to others.
What I was translating had to to do with the way the church where I work views the Bible and how it thinks we should interpret it. Later I discussed their position (as contrasted with Multnomah‘s) with the pastor. While he ended the conversation no less scornful of modern evangelicalism’s “selective literalism” and “proof-texting” than he had been when it began, he did acknowledge the good treatment he had received from people at Multnomah (including myself) over the years.
We discussed how I was dissatisfied with the way people behaved themselves at the seminary I had attended formerly, how I felt judged for my approach to Scripture and my theological beliefs. Multnomah rejects that seminary’s hermeneutic just as surely as it rejects Multnomah’s but the difference is in the attitude. At Multnomah I’ve always heard people speak charitably about those traditions they disagree with. In other settings, that hasn’t always been the case.
God knows (and I mean that literally) that Multnomah isn’t perfect and we committ our fair share of sins. But I felt really proud today that this Episcopalian pastor’s opinion of Evanglicalism in general and Multnomah in particular was better after knowing us than before. I feel like that general goodwill toward us brings him one step closer to what I consider orthodox, Biblical Christianity and I’m glad for that.
And, really, I’m glad that I can dar cara a Multnomah. I’m willing and happy to put my face next to Multnomah and asked to be considered together. What a blessing that is!