Sunday, August 10, 2008

Answering Aaron...

Aaron, in a comment on one of my recent posts, asked me to review a post of his from a few years back and to think about whether or not I am in a place of agreement with it. His post can be found HERE. I honestly don't remember the post, but I notice from the date that it was written during a time of my life when I wasn't too concerned with much of anything other than making it through a moment with enough oxygen to survive. It appears that there was a good conversation going on between Aaron, Cory, and Jason.

Aaron's basic question is if I agree with his tenet that emergent voices(mainly McLaren) could had initially used a little more humility in their writings concerning what they describe as a new way of thinking about and experiencing faith. And my basic answer is, after a little more life perspective-- Absolutely. I look back on my measly writings and see that although I sought to convey a sense of gentleness and humility, the content of what was being said ("post" this and "post" that) was, by its very nature, quite pretentious. In essence, the continual use of the prefix "post" revealed that many of us believed we could make extremely grand statements about our present that previously were reserved for historians.

But I will say this-- The way emerging thinkers wrestle with postmodern ideas makes it more likely that they will have an inordinate amount of sinful pride as it relates to their relationship with the larger evangelical world. But it also gives them an ability to recognize this pride much quicker than those who place such a high premium on an absolute belief of traditional theological doctrines (i.e. Calvinism- Arminianism.) I've always understood that a Christian dialogue with postmodern thought should not lead to uncertainty, as many believe, but to humility. I don't deny absolute truth. I do, however, question whether or not there is any tool available to humanity to objectively discover what absolute truth is. This "hunch" of mine should not lead to despair, but to hope. It should not lead to a belief that I am above history and not bound to the centuries of struggle great people of the faith have had, but rather to a confession that I am just as inadequate at understanding as the next guy, and that what I know now should not be held so tightly that I cannot be taught differently.

So, that's a lot of words to answer a question in the affirmative.

4 comments:

jenA said...

"I do, however, question whether or not there is any tool available to humanity to objectively discover what absolute truth is."

--- there is. It's called entering the kingdom of heaven.

Chris said...

A balanced and humble response.

I would venture a couple statements.

1. There is no need to modify truth. Truth is exactly that, truth. The modifier absolute amounts to calling water wet. That is unless we are using Stephen Colbert's "truthiness." Paul even says “We now know in part…” suggesting that only when all things are renewed and we with unveiled faces look directly into the face of the exalted Christ will we know in an unmediated fashion.

2. The Christian tradition has always said that which is the source of truth is only approached asymptotically. That God, who is not simply another being, cannot be fully grasped. Therefore, to read the Father, who were quite confident in their writings, is nonetheless to understand they realized their words were faithful to the point human language can surmount to the infinite.

3. The association of "post" in the post you were replying to is interesting. Most historical research asserts that it is in a large part due to the advent of Protestantism that individualism was possible. Also, to the statement that to call oneself "post" anything (Protestant for example) while Protestants live is ridiculous, is problematic as well. Liberals exist still, but the post-Liberals legitimately do as well. They arose from liberal backgrounds for the most part, but no longer can adhere to its tenants. The movement did not gain its name until it had coalesced into a corporate body. Just saying.

Aaron said...

Craig,

This kind of mature reflection is what will advance the whole emerging conversation. If that is, indeed, what it is and what the emerging leaders want it to be, I hope they will follow your lead.

Danielle said...

"It should not lead to a belief that I am above history and not bound to the centuries of struggle great people of the faith have had, but rather to a confession that I am just as inadequate at understanding as the next guy, and that what I know now should not be held so tightly that I cannot be taught differently."

---Very well put indeed!