Re:[ASA] Yes -- the YECs are still winning (earlier on....)e: [asa] The Daily Me

From: Jim Armstrong <jarmstro@qwest.net>
Date: Tue Mar 31 2009 - 01:15:33 EDT
I will repost this, without the dreaded H word that apparently triggers a review, interfering with timeliness of response.
Here goes again, FWIW.


Wayne, you make what I think is an interesting point about forces and issues of division. That was really what I was poking at in my earlier post [below the stars].

The YEC issues are one point of divisiveness, but [the H word] is arguably more damaging in this regard in our time,  particularly with the younger generations (cf the book "unchristian", co-authored by one of the Barna Group principles).

I just was wondering if folks who are at ease (for whatever reason) with an evolutionary model for living kind might be a little more disposed to perspectives of likeness-while-accommodating-diversity (though perhaps without necessarily arriving at that perspective by some rational process) than folks who for theological reasons are inclined to nurture differentiation among themselves.

And, at the end of the day, I just wonder if a more essential Christianity should not, as a matter of principle or realization, be a stronger force toward amicable community than those influences and perspectives that distinguish us, splinter us, roil us, and characterize us stereotypically and unfavorably to so much of the rest of the world [and dare I say it, even cause us to discount the verity of the divinity they seek on the basis of language, tradition, understandings and names (human things!) that differ from ours].

That's "What's wrong with this picture?" in my view. There appears to be something wrong in a very foundational way, based on the way community (singular) is not built, but fragmented. That fragmentation - not only present, but fostered in the "Kingdom" - seems to be a largely ignored but important symptom of something amiss. There seems to be some truly transformational element missing or weak in the way we traditionally do things, and in particular what we teach our children, whether overtly or by default. I know there are long traditions involved here, but traditions are likewise man things. I think it is safe to say not only that "many churches are already well on the decline", but that virtually all mainline churches (denominations) are on the decline. Somehow the revolutionary, and simple (a la Micah 6:8 as reflected in the sermon on the mount, for example) seemingly somehow attractive messages of Jesus as they were in his time, seem not to have been faithfully extended forward. One might argue that the institutions, buildings, and praxes are evolved things that on their dark or unattended-to side have instead masked, overcomplicated, altered, and diluted the essential Jesus.

Is there a need at all to take a steely-eyed look at such matters (using the methodology we've learned in the sciences) to see if the hypothesis and results match, and if not, REALLY why not?

If this seems too personal and idiosyncratic, or off topic for reflecting on here, I'll accept that. [You can ignore everything after the first three paragraphs!] But the collection of thinkers and discussers on ASA is a tempting forum for some of these conundrums. I just wonder if there exists in reality a rational, realizable-over-time way of doing anything about such matters, such "pictures".

Regards

JimA [Friend of ASA]


Wayne wrote:

Many churches are already well on the decline.  Having been converted as an adult, I can say that a major reason (in my case at least and to many people of similar education) is because YEC made the church seem embarrassingly idiotic and possibly deranged.  Most of the people I have to deal with don't have any reason to question the general conclusions of science on the age of the earth. Moreover, to many people (including myself at that time), Christianity and YEC were equivalent.  Naturally, when I became a Christian, that was exactly the kind of reaction and attitude I had to contend with.  The younger generation has less and less need for such irrelevancies, and so they turn elsewhere, including Dawkins; though his "take-it-on-the-chin-science/philosophy" is probably mainly appealing to some scientific types not so different in training from myself. 
 
At least some churches that really are growing tend not to divide the church so much with YEC/OEC issues.  As far as I can tell, Rick Warren leads one of them.  I also recently read a book "The Reason For God" by Timothy Keller; he does not speak well of YEC, and he runs quite a megachurch in New York City; the last place on earth where anyone would expect a _church_ to prosper.   It is certainly not the case that a church grows (or dies) as a function of its leanings toward (or away from) YEC.  In fact, YEC may ultimately succeed more at thoroughly demolishing most of the church. 
 
I think the whole effort at division undermines the gospel.   It is just one more way to become distracted from living a life of repentance; as if we didn't have plenty of other more important and difficult things to learn about living a Christian life. 
 
by Grace we proceed,
Wayne

******
Preston - You bring up a good point, "We already had over 2000 denominations in this country even before the internet."
I have serious questions in this regard.
What is wrong with this picture?
    OK, that was probably an easy one. [Wasn't it?]
But how did we come to tolerate/accommodate this?
And what can possibly and realistically be done - under the banner we fly - to make it otherwise, short of the temporary expedient of another interfaith war?
Or should we just not register concern about such divisiveness in the community that bears the name of Christ, and the message it conveys to others outside the community?
[Or is this just too far off topic?]

JimA [Friend of ASA]


Preston Garrison wrote:
Randy,

You should definitely read the book called "The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google" by Nicholas Carr.
Here's the Amazon link:
<http://www.amazon.com/Big-Switch-Rewiring-Edison-Google/dp/0393333949/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237639992&sr=8-1>http://www.amazon.com/Big-Switch-Rewiring-Edison-Google/dp/0393333949/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237639992&sr=8-1

The book is about the change landscape of the web, how computing is becoming a utility that is done more and more on the cloud computer or world wide computer (as opposed to using your personal computer software, etc.). He talks a lot about how the transhumanists promote these changes as utopian (no single authority, information freely available to everyone), but how in fact people subconsciously self-select their information. The result is greater segregation and less tolerance and understanding of opposing viewpoints, etc.

It's scary, really. I think this explains why the Christian theological, apologetic, and politcal landscape and community is becoming more divided rather than unified.

The book is about technology rather than science, per se. However, I think it would be worth discussing this list.

Doug


Doug,

As much as I usually like your comments here, I have to object a bit. We already had over 2000 denominations in this country even before the internet. How much more fragmented could we really get, on the one hand?

On the other hand, doesn't the Babel story tell us that bigness and unity is what we should fear, if we fear anything? (Personally I've pretty much had it with fear - I stood at a plate glass window 40 stories up the other day and I felt that twinge of natural fear that you feel when you are 400 feet high with nothing under you. I decided to stand there and look down until it went away - after a few minutes, it did. Then I wished I had a key to the roof and my old hang glider.)

If the Christians got united, wouldn't they likely unite around some strange attractor, some charismatic (in the general, not theological sense) person who would lead them on some weird crusade?

Unless of course the one who united them was Jesus. But you get that kind of unity by praying for it and going about doing what you're led to do. A little persecution would go a long way in inducing it, but I'm not crazy enough to ask for that.

Preston

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