Here is an essay that I wrote about the javelin like nature of the Word of God that’s a bit too long for an article on BJS. I’ve included the excerpt here and then included the PDF file for you to read the remainder of it.
The chief god in Scandinavian mythology, Odin, carried a javelin called Gungnir. This javelin was no ordinary javelin, for it was created by a group of dwarves known as the Sons of Ivaldi. It was fashioned from the holy wood of Yggdrasil, a tree centered in the cosmos that reached to the heavens. The javelin has been defined as being so well composed that it could hit any mark, regardless of the ability and strength of the person throwing it. It always found its aim, for it moved perpetually forward.
The idea of the javelin Gungnir possessing power within itself, regardless of the person throwing it, is a most commanding image. Furthermore, the idea of a javelin having penetrating power, a power integrally possessed within the javelin itself, also elicits us to ponder its characteristics. Consider with me the implications of this mythological weapon, for it indeed was a supreme weapon. A mere mortal could pick it up, throw it at a target, and the javelin itself is effective to do its job of hitting the mark and inflicting a deadly blow. Furthermore, as a javelin, Gungnir was meant to be aimed, Gungnir was meant to penetrate and deliver. Is this not the same with the Word of God?
I certainly don’t mean to diminish the Word of God by comparing it to Scandinavian mythology, but I do believe and contend that this metaphor of a javelin, as described so well in the Scandinavian mythology, is most fitting for the Word of God.
There is resistance to this metaphor though. From approximately 10 years of pastoral experience, I have observed this resistance from individuals inside and outside of the church. Though I am not completely sure, this resistance may be due to a number of factors such as: resistance to being subservient to the Word; the desire to place pious fellowship and church tranquility above an invading Word; the aspiration to maintain a cultural narrative of love and tolerance by isolating an interrogating Word; or simply the need to eliminate the incursion of the Word due to the love of darkness more than the love of light.
For the sake of this essay though, I have decided to explore three particular areas or spheres, if you will, where I have observed resistance to the javelin metaphor. First, the Word as a javelin is resisted when individuals assert that the metaphor of a javelin is too aggressive or simply too extreme of an analogy for God’s Word. Second, the javelin metaphor is resisted when individuals assert that the Word, as a javelin, is unnecessary for the human condition—that the human condition does not demand a penetrating and performative Word. Third, the javelin nature of the Word is resisted practically speaking when pastors and ecclesiastical leadership attempt to dull the javelin character of the Word in order to diminish potential blowback from congregations and others.
Despite the resistance of applying the javelin metaphor to the Word, it is what it is. Otherwise stated, I will contend in the following paragraphs that this metaphor of a javelin is exactly what the Word is and does. Furthermore, I will claim in the following paragraphs that the Word as a javelin is exactly what is needed by all. Finally, I will vie that any attempts to dull or lessen the javelin nature of the Word, are not a mere diminishing of a particular quality of the Word, but an actual changing of the Word into something that it is not, a different word altogether. Consequently, any attempts to resist the javelin nature of the Word are actually a resistance to the Word itself.
To read more, CLICK HERE or view it in scribd below.
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