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my knowledge trumps your experience - part 3

The “If we don’t tell people what to believe they’ll be led astray” woman.

One of the things with modern ways of approaching truth is that they believe right knowledge imparts right truth, leading to right behavior. Very black and white, very linear. What’s almost comical is when you point out to someone like this that there are those who disagree with them and also think the same way they get really upset and defensive, usually saying something like “well, I have to go with what I believe is right”….ummmm….yeah, how very postmodern of you.

This thinking leads to an almost frenetic paranoia about making sure that the young and/or vulnerable are taught “THE(IR) Truth”. This is why youth pastors, children’s ministers and young adult/college ministers are often under a very strong microscope when it comes to what they teach.

I was having coffee with a couple of the “pastor’s wives” once and we were talking about this and that was the comment made to me by the head pastor’s wife. “If we don’t tell people what to believe they’ll be led astray”. *sigh*

To which I replied - but we’ve been telling people what to believe and how to believe it and how to teach it and how to behave for hundreds of years of modernity …. and now we’re facing a crisis in churches and we do what? Continue on the same path?

Here’s the thing - modernity is fine for moderns and that’s great, let the moderns do their modern thing with other moderns and help them follow Jesus. But for moderns to claim that post modern Christians are wrong because we’re trying to reach post moderns is really unfortunate.

So now what?
What do we do with all of this?

…. to be continued.

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  1. Geoffrey — September 27, 2007 #

    So, I just read all your posts from the top down, but I’ll begin commenting here, if you don’t mind.

    The attitude you describe - save them or God kills a kitten kind of thing - is not leadership, at least as I, or St. Paul, understands it. Of course, we want to preach THE Gospel, not MY Gospel (again, to quote St. Paul), but the question becomes what is THE Gospel for today? is the link between form and content so close that, unless we “teach them the truth, they are going to be led astray”? Or, perhaps, can we offer others the opportunity to see with new eyes, to check for themselves what the possibilities and opportunities for the Christian life are, and trust God to make up the difference?

    The latter is my own preference - it is non-authoritarian, and it also has the added bonus of giving the Holy Spirit its due.

  2. Pingback - Subversive Influence » Blog Archive » Random Acts of Linkage #28 — September 29, 2007 #

    [...] Earlier in the week, Scot McKnight was asking whether it’s better for a leader to have their theology straight but be abrasive and mean-spirited or to be generous and kind but sometimes stray from traditional thinking. 90 comments, and you can guess which way I’d lean. Somehow, this post from Makeesha just seems to fit. Who knew? After all this time, it turns out that just knowing the right doctrine doesn’t make you behave any better. Now, what was I just saying about that? [...]

  3. Peggy — September 29, 2007 #

    Hello, Mak!

    This really reminds me of Alan’s phrase from TFW: act you way into a new way of believing….

  4. Peggy — September 29, 2007 #

    actually, that is “a new way of thinking”…oops!

  5. Mak — September 29, 2007 #

    yep :)

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

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

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