Friday, May 20, 2005

On Margaritas and Burritos

Now I'm going to give a reverse chronological-order description of my day thus far.

Tonight Amy and I found a great place for margaritas and Mexican about three blocks from the convention center. We got after that. I love margaritas with Mexican food. There's no better taste combination.

Prior to that, we went to a viewing of possibly the most bizarre movie I've ever seen: What The Bleep Do We Know. As I already said, this was a dang crazy movie. This movie explores some discoveries in quantum phsyics and ends with the spiritual implications of quantum physics. It was mind-opening, and I'll probably reflect more on it later.

For lunch, I met with a group of fellow-emergents in a discussion/forum on intergenerational issues. This is close to my heart, as I feel like intergenerational relationships are largely missing from both the emerging church and many late-modern forms of church. I met several bloggers I have read or heard of: Adam, Susie, Wes, and Will. This was a great conversation about the need for intergenerational conversation in this emerging story.

In our Learning Community we had a conversation on truth and the nature of truth. This was one of the best thinking opportunities so far in the convention.
In our preliminary discussion these thoughts were put forth by people:
truth is: the assumptions underlying our conversation which either exclude or include others.
to native peoples truth is imperialism/colonialism, because that's what truth has been used for in their context.

The presenters were Todd Hunter (practitioner) of the Vineyard association and John Franke (theologian) of Biblical Seminary in PA. John co-wrote Beyond Foundationalism. Todd started the commentary with an explanation of epistemology. Presumably, there are things, then theories and ideas about things. Epistemology is the collection of theories/ideas about the theories/idea about the things.

To post-moderns, -colonialists, -industrialists truth isn't the important issue. The important issue has become: is the church a force for good on the earth or a force for evil?
This is an important issue to face in our times.

My question was: in order to reach post-moderns, do we have to change the way we think about truth or do we simply have to change the way we teach about truth? What is apparent, given the fallen nature of modern philosophy, is that we should not consider part of our mission to first convert the lost to a modern/cartesian worldview prior to introducing them to Christ. This is maybe the reason for the disconnect between post-modern young people and the current form of Christianity. It isn't that they don't believe in truth, the Bible or Christ. It's that they (and I) don't accept the modern evangelical views of truth, the Bible and Christ.
In our current time we are all a blend of modern and post-modern thought and assumptions, because we're between the times. As in modernism and pre-modern thought, there are opportunities and threats for the church in postmodernity.

From Franke-
the problems postmoderns have with truth:
Hermeneutics of finitude- "absolute" truth is humanly unattainable because of our finitude
Hermeneutics of power/suspicion- If "absolute" truth is attainable for humans, it would be harmful, because absolute truth would be absolutely powerful and absolutely dangerous in the hands of corrupt humans.
The scary thing is: People who defend absolute truth not only believe in absolute truth, they believe they have it and others don't.

So: ultimately, truth is contextual, participatory and experiential.

"The truth is, there is no Truth."
As in, we should accept some forms of truth as a means of maintaining a coherent world and thought system. However, there is no overarching truth.

So, what does this mean in christian thought?
The hermeneutics of finitude relates to the doctrine of creation. Man is a creature, and therefore will not be able to attain full knowledge of anything, especially God and His Word.
The hermeneutics of suspicion relates to the doctrine of sin. Because man is corrupt at his core, there will always be a misuse of truth-claims and power.

A christian translation of the credo of post-modernism:
"The truth is, there is Truth, but not for us, only for God."
Or: our knowledge never equates with God's knowledge, and probably never will.
All truth statements are contextual.

one participant restated this in this way:
"The truth leads me to trust that their is a Truth."

This whole day challenged me intellectually a lot. It's almost time to go back down to the convention center for the general session, followed by worship.

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