Monday, December 17, 2007

Understand first...

I had a friend once, which in itself will amaze many people. He got a bit wired about the danger of postmillennialism (actually about "dominion theology"). Unfortunately, it soon became clear that he didn't know the difference between postmillennialism and posttribulationism. I told him, "First you make sure you understand someone's views. Then, if necessary, you rip their head off."

I'm not interested in ripping off heads, but I do try to understand ideas before jumping in. And I'm not trying to be the CSFF version of Simon Cowell. Wayfarer's Journal is a promising e-zine. I may even send a story their way to see how good their perimeter defenses are. But there's a need to check matters carefully, even in the non-fiction section.

For example, the current essay is "Are you Ready for Science Fiction Clergy?" From what writer Tom Hohstadt says, probably not. But it is just science fiction. The types of clergy he lists (both good and bad) aren't really types of clergy so much as types of people. You can find them all in the pews or even at an atheists' convention, if you look carefully. From what I read, I gathered that the pastor merely helps the congregation, which does all the major ministry--the equipping model. This is assumed to be the right way to do things, even though it would be far easier to argue scripturally for the more traditional "Pastor = Shepherd, Congregation = Flock" model. ("Pastor" means "shepherd," after all.)

Unfortunately, most readers wouldn't have the patience to sit through an exposition of different views of the clergy/laity relationship, so instead we get a fairly standard bit of Christianized futurism. It's a good playing field for Buzzword Bingo, but it assumes that major changes are ahead for clergy roles.

Quoth Qoheleth, "There is nothing new under the sun." Technology changes a lot, but people and social realities don't vary much. What will future clergy look like? Pretty much like the past variety, unless mankind changes so thoroughly that we turn into another species. Modern clergy and laity as people look a lot like the ones we read about in the first few centuries of the Church. Why should that change now? Well, because this is Now. It's Different. No one has ever gone through what I'm going through right now. In other words, because we're all teenagers at heart, and no old fogies could possibly understand.

Take the time to understand what already is and has been. The Future probably won't arise from nothing; understanding its past will give you a better mirror for things to come. Not a faddish, buzzword-heavy analysis, but true perspective. Who knows? You might not even have to rip anyone's head off.

Other Blog Links:
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Michael Heald
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Rachel Marks
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika or Mir’s Here
John W. Otte
John Ottinger
Cheryl Russel
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
James Somers
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise


Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Steve, I haven't read that particular essay, but I think you make a very convincing argument, in a very un-Simon-Cowell-like way.

I have a friend who reminds people of what took place in Roman during the first century when they start talking about how the evils of this world make it apparent the tribulation is on the way.

Of course there is also Scripture about recognizing the signs, but that's balanced by the "thief in the night" analogy.

All that to say, I agree that Mankind's basic nature, coupled with God's redemption, gives us a pretty good idea how we will behave even in a changing world.


chrisd said...

Hi Steve--I once attended a pre-Wrath seminar.

I have not read the article because when I had the chance, the site was down.

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