Wednesdays on this blog involve discussing whatever is on my mind...a space to talk about something that I am deeply interested in. And for the next 4 or 5 Wednesdays I am going to hammer on a theme entitled "Truth & Cement." (I invite you to join me if you don't mind listening to someone discuss & debate with himself.) Personally speaking, I have been on a hunt for something my whole life, "honest truth." I am growing weary with trying to keep up with the newest theological imaginings, cool church trends, and post-modern constructs that don't seem to clarify understanding; but rather confuse and weaken what once seemed firm. Convictions are so easily sacrificed these days on the altar of tolerance and "niceness." We want intellectuals, actors and angry women to like us so we temper our opinions and seek to prove how "open minded" we are. If someone believes the sky has a Scottish plaid-green pattern, we no longer can disagree with a look of incredulity; but now we are only allowed to look up at the clouds and smile admiring their fascinating insight. The ultimate goal of an advanced society is to find common ground in order to dialogue and seek to understand the world's wonderful diversity of ideas.
D. A. Carson in his book "The Gagging of God," talks about the poisonous influence that philosophical pluralism is having on the search for truth, "Any notion that a particular ideological or religious claim is intrinsically superior to another is necessarily wrong...If all interpretation is culturally conditioned it becomes a tool for domination." Therefore, he explains, in the mind of the post-modern scholar, "no interpretation can be dismissed, and no interpretation can be allowed the status of objective truth!" In the classroom of the University this sort of conclusion displays the brilliance of an open and fertile mind; but in the real world this is a load of cow manure.
Let me show you what I mean from something I learned first-hand working with simple bricklayers. How you mix cement, specifically when it come to adding the proper amount of sand, really, really matters. To the novice laborer, mixing cement seems rather trivial -- but not to the journeyman mason. You must mix it right! Too much sand makes it weak, not enough makes it stiff and unusable. I was talking with one seasoned construction veteran and he told me his dad taught him how to mix it just right. This basic formula was passed down from his dad, who learned it from his dad, who learned it from his dad. So I asked him, "Don't you think it is time to come up with a new way of mixing cement? Try shifting the focus, look for a new "cement paradigm": switch up the ingredients, try changing the mixing ratios of sand, cement, lime and water? You never know how much better and efficient you will be until you try?"
He said, "Do you want a wall that stays standing for years or one that falls apart at the first hint of rain?" I said one that stands. He said, "Then do it my way: it has been rigorously tested, it has stood strong through years of wear and tear. This cement formula has more than proven itself!"
Is he intolerant? YES! Is his opinion superior? YES! Is his opinion unreasonable? No! He lives in the real world, and he knows what "truly" works. This is what I am on the search for in all things religious. I am tired of cool square rimmed glasses guys coming around saying, "Try putting some more sand in your atonement theory. Maybe your exclusive eschatology is formed from your modernist perspective? Salvation is much more fluid than believing you simply need to be "Born Again." We need to catch up with the times, isn't it about time to let the old doctrines go? That ship has sailed." Or, "Hey, isn't it about time to stop calling heresy heresy and start letting all new ideas, new paradigms, and fresh re-imagined constructs to have an equal voice at the table of dialogue?"
It all depends: Do you want your faith to "stand for years" or fall apart at the first sign of rain? So if you are willing, come with me on Wednesdays as we go back to learn the some basic skills of cement mixing. I want my faith to stand...
HOW ABOUT YOU?