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January 15, 2004

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At least he didn't say "brilliant dimness"! The move to scientific empiricalism was not a smooth transition either. The development of scientific observation was a back-and-forth movement with trials and tribulations of its own. Even the move from an industrial age to a technological age (a transition with we are more personally familiar) was not as smooth as some would have it.... if it had been, we'd be a completely paperless society by now.

Does the emergent movement stumble from time to time? Have we been able to accomplish all that we visualise? Is there a difference between the "world of ideas" and the "world of reality"?
Yes, no, and no.

Any newborn (movement or child) struggles to get on its feet, wobbles and then falls... its expected. But eventually, it will walk, even run, if it doesn't listen to the negative voices saying things like "you can't even run... we can run, but you can't even walk... why don't you just give up?"

Has ANYONE been able to accomplish all they have visualized? If you answer "yes" to that, you're a liar and the truth is not in you.

Yet, there is NO difference between the worlds of ideals and reality. Without sounding like some new age, or name-it, claim-it charlatan (spell-check says I spelled that correctly, but I don't know), the space program was just an idea in someone's mind... as a result of an idea and lots and lots of hard work, it is now a reality... sci-fi has helped produce so many technical advances that its ridiculous!

I idealize a world that is fully devoted to Christ... and Christ says that if I follow Him, ONE DAY I will see it (one way or another, if you read the prophecies in Scripture, you will see that what is NOW an idea, will ONE DAY be accomplished).

BrotherPhil

What intrigues me is that many of the specific things that many of us accuse modernism of are precisely the things emerging culture is criticized for. Certainly brilliant ineffectiveness is one of them.
As for "authentic community", I've not run across very many modern christian gatherings who could legitimately criticize community efforts of any kind among the emerging church. At least my pomo friends know how to just "be" together without having to manufacture reasons to meet and follow a curriculum to teach us to bond and be accountable to one another.
Ideas and reality? My puny cynical self differentiates mo and pomo in this area in this way, mo Christians have ideas and search for someplace to initiate them. Often they are financially motivated. How can I build a business while helping other Christians? Pomo Christians seem to see what is needed and search for ideas to plug in there.
I feel like the brilliant ineffectiveness of the modern church is one of the main motivating factors of the emerging church.
Well, sorry for being so ugly. I guess I tend to get more ticked off than intrigued.

Helpful commments so far. Thanks.

I'm not so sure that a "disconnect" between the world of ideas and the world of reality doesn't exist. In the case of Spirit-inspired prophecy, there is an "unseen connection and continuity". I can't see this as always being in place. I think that Rod articluated an important observation:

many of the specific things that many of us accuse modernism of are precisely the things emerging culture is criticized for. Certainly brilliant ineffectiveness is one of them.

It emphasizes the similarities that exist between modern and postmodern, between IC and EC. Maybe brilliant ineffectiveness is a tendency everyone must be aware of or guard against. (??)

When we emerging church folks say things like:

At least my pomo friends know how to just "be" together without having to manufacture reasons to meet and follow a curriculum to teach us to bond and be accountable to one another.

We must be careful to concede that modern believers have experienced exactly the same during previous decades and centuries. We can become just as braggadocious and arrogant as staunch modernists can. Am I wrong about this?

QUOTE
I need some help thinking this one through... brilliant ineffectiveness -- that's exactly what some are charging postmodern culture with. Let me see if I can explain a little
QUOTE

Well pomo is said to have more "self reflexivity" and a certain ammount of that can lead to Alley McBeale-ishness.

And at times it can also mean an awful lot of quibbling over terms and things. Sometimes that can be good. Because you can find the terms can reveal that people have various assumptions that can be very slanted, narrow, predjudicial, or limmiting in some other way. And I've seen some good discussion come from that.

But I've also seen a number of times on a number of issues where sometimes it can be hard for a discussion to go beyond a really basic level, where I think this can work as a disadvantage. The best way to describe the problem is. If you don't assume anything, or if you don't reference a concept directly by naming it, but insist on describing it in great phenomenlogical detail. Then you actually make a theological discussion maybe 10 times more complicated. So on some issues, with certain people it can be hard to cover something indepth.

I haven't really seen this is in a while. But when I first came to the ooze, their was a question everything/ or describe/ or analyze everything approach. Used by some that traffic jammed discussions, or made them move at a snails pace. Which is why In discussions I do use and will probably use the old modern academia, technical jargon naming and defining things. If people have questions or comments about the terms or assumptions then they are free to comment on that. And that can take you into some interesting areas.

Also I realized that building a common "community vocabularly" can also be very helpful. Pomos like psychotherapists sometimes really emphasize the importance of having a highly developed phenemological understanding and insight of something. (Even though you got folks like Derrida and R.D. Laing who challenge this). But its often overlooked, that having a quick rudimentary grasp of something has it own merits. So rather than deconstructing, I actually love to introduce technical vocabulary and concepts to make communication, faster and easier overall. This is one of those "modern" things that I hope will catch on again.

I think this is an interesting point, but methinks the "brilliant ineffectiveness" evaluation is premature. These are nascent ideas about how the world emerging around us will look and function. They are -- by nature -- not fully developed.

To borrow a couple of analogies from the mixed-blessing history of European Imperialism...Would it be fair for the Spanierds to have complained, "What exactly did the Columbus guy accomplish? Brilliant idea; brilliant journey! But what good is it to just tell us about the New World? Seems ineffective to me." Or might some in the US have issued a similar complaint about Jefferson sending those to guys out to explore the Louisiana Purchase?

It seems like there is a desire among some thinkers (modernists mostly...maybe) to begin the work of Deconstructing the Postmodern World before it has even been constructed.

QUOTE
When we emerging church folks say things like:

"At least my pomo friends know how to just "be" together without having to manufacture reasons to meet and follow a curriculum to teach us to bond and be accountable to one another. "
We must be careful to concede that modern believers have experienced exactly the same during previous decades and centuries. We can become just as braggadocious and arrogant as staunch modernists can. Am I wrong about this?
QUOTE

No, you are exactly right about this. And I am the worst. I have been trying to explore this a little on my own blog in recent days. I can see already a tendency (and not just in myself) to begin to follow a different path to the same place as those to whom we are reacting.

Well taken, timely warning, Chris.

If I could be forgiven for the shameless plug, I'd appreciate any feedback on my exploring a related topic on my blog on Jan. 11.
sorry

Rod -- no need to forgive. I enjoyed following the plug. ;) And thanks for the affirming that I'm not off my rocker.

Jimmy -- important point. Thanks. It's funny how I, myself, have pointed out premature judgements regarding the unfolding postmodern paradigm, but yet so frequently forget this! Arrgh.

"There is a time to build up and a time to tear down"

Perhaps this is a time for ineffectiveness. We've all gotten so caught up in being the best that we forget to be God's.

Strangely enough, I'm reminded of structured problem solving. There are stages in the process for empirical reasoning, fact gathering, and analysis. Then there are stages for brainstorming, pattern recognition, stepping away. Perhaps the church, the world, the culture are the same. Ineffective may be in the eyes of the beholder.

"postmodernism is experiencing a bit of a "disconnect" between the world of ideas and the world of reality."

Couldn't this often be the case in the development of new philosophies (if postmodernism can be described as that)?

I'm remembering what I have learned about Jean-Jacques Rousseau... how his writings about our responsibilities towards children were influential in the development of much of our present day beliefs about children and education. At the same time - he personally was a mentally unstable man (my understanding, anyway) who sent all his children to orphanages because he wanted to lead a life incompatible with raising children...

Not implying that postmoderns are mentally unstable :) Just that there might be a lot of examples in history of there being "a disconnect in the world of ideas and the world of reality"...

as a youth minister i didn't stumble onto postmodernism and emerging church as the latest greatest thing... rather i experienced the reality with my youth and as a 20-something and when i read stuff about postmodernism, emerging church, and generational theories it made a lot of sense.... it seemed to match up to the reality i was experiencing. most of the people i know who have come to be on the "emerging church side" of things have come to it in a similar fashion.

there are a lot of people trying different things in the emerging church that are having success in a lot of different ways (not just numbers). i think we should take notice of these successes instead of just decrying the flaws and faults of this movement. it seems to be a favorite hobby right now for people to bash all the faults of emerging church (which was postmodernism's hobby when it was mostly just reaction to modernism), and not talk about what is working. think taize, 24-7 prayer, major movements in europe that are having a major impact.

as a side note... i like the fact that your comments allow people to ramble on indefinitely and not cut them off at 1000 words.

Lucas -- thanks for the reminder about celebrating successes within the emerging church and not just "decrying the flaws and faults". You're dead-on. My personal passion is to champion the cause for balance in this movement. I fully understand how pendulum swings work, but when it swings too far in one direction, I like to grab hold and give it a yank! :D

Re: no word limit on comment posts -- I'm glad you can say here "everything" that's on your mind. :)

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