Each volume of Resonance is arranged within a chiastic pattern including a series of different article types interwoven with works of art. This pattern offers both a reliable structure to each volume and ensures that every theme is approached from a series of important theological vantage points, including: liturgy, scriptural exegesis, personal witness, and historic or systematic theology. Here is a deeper look at what a chiastic pattern is and how it is expressed through the volumes of Resonance.
What is a chiastic pattern?
A chiasmus is an ancient literary structure which arranges elements in concentric parallelism following the pattern “a, b, c, b, a” or “a, b, b, a.” The term itself derives from the Greek letter “Chi” (which corresponds to the English letter “X”) because the pattern goes “in” toward a center point and then “outward” again in reverse order.
“Akin to palindromes, chiastic writing uses words, phrases and ideas from the first half of the passage in reverse order in the second half. Consider, for example, Genesis 9:6: “Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed.” In other words, chiastic word patterns present a forward-and-backward symmetry… In Paul’s letters, Breck insists in Scripture in Tradition… the main points are made at the chiastic center of a section or of the letter, not at the end.” by John Dart in Scriptural Schemes: The ABCBAs of Biblical Writing
The chiastic pattern in Resonance
Each journal volume will contain five basic types of written article arranged in a chiastic pattern and woven together with artistic pieces that all relate to the volume theme. Worship will open and close each volume. Worship in the form of prayers, hymns, homilies, and spiritual exercises are unique in that their voice is directed first and foremost toward God rather than the human reader. The reader is thereby invited into the opportunity to frame the rest of the journal’s elements within a clear orientation of worship offered to the triune God. Below is a list of the written article types and a short description of each type’s unique character and purpose within the whole volume.
- Liturgy is the work of the people of God. It is the practice of worship that seeks to shape disciples into a more perfect reflection of Christ and trains our hearts to love rightly. Articles of this type are focused on the significance of worship for this purpose and seek to illuminate key ways that Christian worship prepares followers of Christ to engage the concrete realities of life in this world. Articles in this category should be between 2,000 – 3,000 words.
- The scriptural canon is the bedrock of Christian faith and practice. Therefore, all theological inquiry should be grounded in careful biblical exegesis and a faithful hermeneutic. The articles of this category should display these qualities and anchor the overall discussion of the volume’s theme securely in the scriptural narrative. Each piece must be biblically based and remain faithful to the coherence of scripture while also seeking to illuminate a particular facet of scripture in relation to the theological theme that is in focus. Articles in this category should be between 2,000 – 3,000 words.
- At the heart of Christian identity is the call to be a witness for Christ in this fallen and hurting world. Jesus gathered his disciples in order to send them out to enact and proclaim the good news that the Kingdom of God has come. Articles of this type should seek to engage the volume’s theme by a portrayal of how this theme has been engaged within the constraints of a particular context. Incarnate discipleship is, therefore, the focus of pieces in this category and as such it is expected that they will be rooted in the particularities of a lived experience. Articles in this category should be between 2,000 – 3,000 words.
- The theological resources of the church through time have been incredibly rich and varied. Particular theologians have articulated the characteristics of the Gospel in fresh ways for each generation and diverse strands of the Christian community have offered unique perspectival vantage points on facets of God’s character and the human condition. This type of article offers the opportunity to engage such resources of the church and bring them into dialogue with the thematic concerns of a particular journal volume. Articles in this category should be between 2,000 – 3,000 words.
- This is the pivot point article around which the rest of the journal volume hinges, and it is meant to engage the volume’s theme in a theologically substantial way. Either biblical (Scripture) or historical theology (Tradition) can be the methodological foundation for this article, but the richness of the volume’s theme is the subject matter and the goal is to illuminate key thematic facets for the reader. Articles in this category should be between 3,000 – 4,000 words.