Thursday, April 28, 2011

Threatened worldviews threaten other worldviews

I've been reading 'The Last Word and the Word After That' by Brian McLaren, that covers a lot of the same ground as 'Love Wins'. This struck me as a relatively good explanation for the criticisms levelled at Rob Bell during the recent "controversy".

" must engage with the culture in which is finds itself but... can become so excesively enmeshed with that culture that its power is neutralized - actually, neutered... If a faith becomes enmeshed, not just engaged with a culture... people hardly notice - until a wave of cultural change hits. Then, when people want to move on from that fading culture, when they want to be part of that new wave, they feel they must leave their faith behind as well. Their only alternative is to try to disengage their faith from the fading culture, but this is one of the most painful things a person can do - mentally painful, spiritually painful...

"In times of profound cultural change... such as our current transition from a modern colonial culture, with its emphasis on rational certainty and conquest and control, to a postmodern and postcolonial culture, which distrausts rational certainty because of the violence that confident people have inflicted on others in their striving to conquer and control them. In times like these, people, thousands at the same time, face this agonizing task of disengaging their faith from the culture it has grown with, like two trees whose roots are intertwined." [page 15, bold text mine]

It's no accident that the last colonial superpower left is the battleground between the modern and postmodern elements within Christianity. It's no surprise that those with the most to lose - the theocrats whose worldview is bound up in a scientific narrative that insists on one form of truth as supreme - are so vocal in their criticism of reformulation (and potential reformation).


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