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my knowledge trumps your experience - part 1

Some recent experiences of mine have tied in with some other experiences and produced an epiphany of sorts. When we were at our previous church, we had a few encounters that, to me, epitomize the rift between moderns/traditionalists and post moderns.

Now, keep in mind that modern and post modern is a vague and somewhat false dichotomy but it’s the easiest way to explain what I’m talking about. Also, I’m not suggesting that being modern or being post modern is either good nor bad, it just is. One of my major frustrations with critiques of the emerging church is that they toss around “those post moderns” as if it were an accusation. As if we’re choosing a way to think, a way to BE in this world. I don’t choose to be post modern any more than I choose to be 29 years old born in Fargo, ND. Where I think moderns tend to be “wrong” is suggesting that post modernity is wrong and that post moderns need to just stop causing so much trouble and get back to the “good old days”

Ok, so back to my stories. Here are some of my recent encounters:

The “The Bible is all we need” guy. Here’s the logic - the Bible is God’s Word given to us to teach us what to believe and how to behave. It speaks for itself. All you need to do is read it and follow it and you’ll have life and peace and joy and go to Heaven. In this conversation, this guy basically said that we don’t need to contextualize or communicate the Gospel through relationship, all we need is to “preach the Word” and people will be transformed. *raised eyebrows suspiciously* I wasn’t at this conversation (thank GOD) but David related this encounter to me and I know this thinking, it’s very prevalent in the modern church.

So, to follow this logic, we should be able to broadcast someone reading the Bible 24-7 at a subliminal level and within a few days, everyone will be transformed and Jesus can return and rapture us to Heaven. Ummm..yeah. Maybe not. So then the only other conclusion that can be drawn from this is that people aren’t transformed because they’re choosing to disobey God. It’s not the “Word’s” fault and it couldn’t possibly be because the guy presenting the “truth” is an ass so therefore, it must be that the person receiving the truth is rebellious and have led themselves down the path of eternal damnation.

Now, most of us would say that our experiences tell a different story, one that is infinitely more nuanced. But in the modern way of thinking, knowledge rules, knowledge shapes reality and even transcends reality. So experience does nothing in the shaping of knowledge of truth.

Next: My knowledge trumps your reality - part 2: the “I read stuff about post modernity and heard something on the radio” guy

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  1. Geoffrey — September 21, 2007 #

    I found your blog post via BlogRush!

    I recently was engaged with a discussion of sorts with some folks over the nature of the faith with specific reference to the Bible. The upshot of these discussions was that I was called a “false teacher” because I thought the attitude you describe as “The Bible is all we need” was too simplistic and just plain wrong. Anyway, nice to visit, I am sure I will be back, and best of luck and blessings.

  2. Mak — September 21, 2007 #

    thanks for stopping by Geoffrey! I’m sorry you got that “false teacher” line, I’ve gotten it too - - mostly behind my back though. “deceived” is often what I get to myself.

    what’s so funny is that I’ve pinned down some of these people at times by talking through their logic with them to the end conclusion and they often get very flustered and combative realizing that it doesn’t pan out in the end equation.

  3. Paul — September 21, 2007 #

    I see an irony, read it and follow it - I’m good (sometimes) on the read it and even on the listen to someone else read it but not so good on the follow it part - which is perhaps the point :)

  4. Pingback - Swinging from the Vine | knowledge and experience, now what? the finale — December 3, 2007 #

    [...] Part 1 an aside Part2 an aside 2 Part 3 an aside 3 Part 4 an aside 4 [...]

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