Saturday, 25 July 2009

opinions in late July

Jonathan Sacks writes in The Times We must guard love in this world of easy pleasures.

Michael Wright writes in the Guardian about becoming a Quaker.

Diana Butler Bass writes at Beliefnet about The Real Decline of Churches.

Robin Gill wrote in last week’s Church Times about Turning from the slippery slope.

Giles Fraser writes in this week’ s Church Times If I have to push, I shall push.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 11:09am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

All Giles Fraser's piece demonstrates is that schools shouldn't have any formal connection with Churches - the motives get confused on both sides.

Graham Shaw wrote in Time and Tide a chapter on his own movement to the Quakers, giving up his Anglican ministry if not orders, with a view that it encourages a more authentic discipline towards truth, and my own view is that the demands via apostolic expectation do distort and skew expressions of truthfulness to oneself and others. You end up with an orthodoxy game of appearances rather than a more rigorous if difficult truth seeking.

Posted by: Pluralist on Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 9:12pm BST

The Butler piece is quite interesting. Consistent with what I have been able to pick up anecdotally – generation gaps, intellectual changes.

Two factors.

One is the constant wear and tear on big tent communities of faith, as weaponized vigor exploits this or that hot button difference, usually in a bid for power.

This most often does not successfully take over the community - just tears the big tent apart. In the case of the Southern Baptists USA, the take over did seem successful. Free thinking Southern Baptists who understood the baptist tradition to have leeway enough to include them, more or less speedily departed or were pressured to leave as a drag on True Southerns.

The longer, larger lesson might be that this iteration of believing eats its young (Questioning=Sin), eats anybody who questions.

Those effects might not show up for a number of years, the process is so slow moving.

A second huge set of factors is simply modernity. We lack the integrated empirical language to connect one field with all the other fields, mostly because too many empirical domains are changing too often, too fast nowadays.

Interdisciplinary cross references are no sooner recognized than new data and new models arise, counterbalancing integration with a new set of facts, models, research questions. Change overcoming context dynamics has been going on for a while now; since World War II if not longer?

Even when we duly reconfigure so that domains get settled down and inter-connected for the time being; I think it might be all that much more difficult for us to completely forget that even a new grand integrative moment is still frankly provisional, keeping in mind the recent change history through which we will have passed.

Very few if any theologicans are bothering to deal with this larger, underlying knowledge dilemma so far as I can tell. Postmodern schools look in that direction, but usually settle for just saying all knowing is contextual, so do not dig into mapping how change affects existing contexts. I dream of a natural change-context topography project, starting of course with the real history of our big past changes.

The two dominant coping strategies so far are ignore it, or track backwards or sideways, both habits seeking some way to draw boundaries around a limited arena for doing theology which gets blessedly defined as free from knowledge dynamics, period.

Posted by: drdanfee on Sunday, 26 July 2009 at 7:59pm BST

Kendall Harmon has written a critique of the piece by Diana Butler Bass here:

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 27 July 2009 at 6:41pm BST
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