Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Pleading Ignorance

So I've been reading D.A. Carson's book on the Emerging Church. I started before Christmas and I am not quite half way yet. I have found it to be very heavy reading...for me. I read and reread some paragraphs without much further understanding. I have zero background in philosophy and ideology. I have no experience in discussing what is modern versus postmodern thought. I have had to stop and look up various vocabulary terms that were unknown to me. My ignorance has been so great at times that I just feel like shelving the book. However, I want to finish the book even if it takes me all year. But as I am reading, one thought continues to plague me. How conversant are the Christians who have aligned themselves with this movement in discussing what is postmodern thought and what is not? Can they articulate for themselves what the problems are with modern thought? I'm a bit skeptical that a vast majority can. That's fine. I can't either. But how much understanding do I have to have to join up? How much do I have to understand to participate in the narratives and conversations? How intellectual do I have to be?

5 comments:

  1. I think what (unnecessarily) burdens and frustrates people sometimes is the assumption that we must understand EVERYTHING when we read a book. This will not always (if ever) be the case.

    I recently read "The Gagging of God" by DA Carson and found it to be difficult in places. However, I was consciously aware that I understood a good deal of the material BECAUSE I had been reading some books on philosophy that dealt with similar topics. So I came away more encouraged than frustrated.

    So the solutions is: keeping on being BOOKISH.

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  2. Anonymous11:04 PM

    good encouragment there sdb! glad to read it ebk

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  3. That's goes for you too ebk - keep being bookish :)

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  4. Man - what's wrong with me? That's two posts in a row with spelling mistakes.

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  5. I'm not sure you'll read this since this post has been archived but I did a paper on the Emergent/Emerging church for seminary and the people who are involved in it are conversant in theology and philosophy. The reason that the whole movement has started is to address the issues of post-modernism and they want to do theology in community from a post-modern perspective. That implies to me that people will have to know the issues if they are involved in the conversations (though I was at a blog where the guy was complaining that the movement's knowledge of philosophy was pretty superficial).

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