Wednesday, August 04, 2010

If you don't listen, you can't hear and if you can't hear, you cannot know.

In a kind of serendipitous morning, three posts arrived from various blogs I keep in touch with that all seemed to link together.   Maybe it's not so serendipitous given that all the writers are mission-minded in one way or another....

David Fitch wrote 
Neo-Reformed Theology is built on the same logic as evangelical theology. In fact this is also the same logic as the protestant mainline theology and for that matter the Emergent theologies. They all rely on the cultural foundations of the West and in particular the Enlightenment. And, for me, this means all of these movements will eventually fail to engage the new and changing cultures of Post-Christendom in the West for the gospel, they will fail at resisting the consumerist forces of modern American society, they will fail at transformational engagement (eventually). They will all end up repeating the fate of evangelicalism – i.e. being successful at harvesting those who are already in some way culturally inclined towards Christianity but not capable of inhabiting the new post Christendom cultures of the West for the gospel. This is why we need a third way!!

Len Hjalmarson began his post in this way:
In The Secret Message of Jesus (2006), McLaren devotes an entire chapter to contextualizing the concepts of the kingdom of God for the current generation.
Len's shorter post mostly offers a variety of ways of rethinking the way we view the kingdom, and by connection, God's mission. 

Paul Fromont, on Prodigal Kiwi(s) quotes another writer - Barry Taylor - who doesn't at first seem to be writing about mission...but is - note what he says about listening....

“…On the final day [of a two-week intensive class on Theology and Popular Music] I attempted to sketch out something of a beginning posture for the initiation of a conversation between these two elements. Posture, being the operative word, because for me, any act of theology requires a posture, an attitude, from which it springs, and for me, this is first and foremost, listening - to the other - if you don't listen, you can't hear and if you can't hear, you cannot know. All too often, in my experience, people begin with a pre-formed schema, which is then imposed over whatever it might be, and then, what fits is accepted and the bits around the edges are cut-off--negated etc. A bit of a broad dismissal of the theological enterprise I know, but I use that analogy simply to say that my approach is a bit different--I am interested in the surprising intersections that arise because of the rupture and disconnect as well as the congruity and synchronicity between various elements…”

 ...if you don't listen, you can't hear and if you can't hear, you cannot know. 

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