Tuesday, January 09, 2007

sanctimony baloney

okay, i've been thinking about this for awhile...
especially since we hit the 40-somethingth comment on the 'cruel God' post...
this dialogue is just too rich to shut down.

although i was trying to close off this blog, the conversation kept moving forward. it didn't even surrender to redundency and circle logic... it just kept progressing.

what kind of an idiot would pull the plug on that?
not this kind, anyway.

the challenge has been to either come up with something new to post or change the whole blog. the e-pistles idea was certainly dialogue based, but originally it was a place to put long-winded explorations of things that had sprung from other emails, comment boxes etc. after awhile, the phrase 'but that's a whole nother blog' started to appear whenever it felt like a tangent was developing. the idea of starting a blog that entertained only the tangents started around then...
a blog that allowed ideas to flow like sweet wine.
an oasis that might have five or six posts all going simultaneously in different directions... something for those of us with attention deficits... those of us who are currently reading four or five books at a time and seem to never be finishing any of them in chronological order.

lately, this has been that blog in a way. it's been a great place to talk, and has been, in the comment boxes of the last two official 'posts' changed direction and focus numerous times. it's been awesome in that it has both challenged and affirmed.

so here's what we can do...
every (or most) time(s) a comment takes us in a different direction, i will just copy and paste it as a new post so that we can continue the one thread while recognizing and embracing the new 'tangents' along the way too. this way the blog will grow naturally out of ongoing dialogue like the many tributaries of a morris louis painting, except that instead of convergent streams of paint these are divergent streams of ideas.
that's why the new name and that's why the new look. the same idea stream with a key difference: the topical flow is less restricted and less reliant upon whether yours truly has anything on his mind these days.
what follows is what prompted the last post, and probably the reason why this blog has stalled for so long. see it as a confessional.
i remember a conversation that i had with a friend of mine long ago. we were going through a rather 'rocky' period in our relationship, and one day he asked me why we were always fighting. i didn't even have to think... it just came out:

"because we both know we're right."

okay, so i think i'm still figuring some things out.

a few weeks back, on the same listserve that brought us that controversial piece of wisdom from charles spurgeon (don't think i've ever heard spurgeon refered to as controversial! ha ha) about what debates to enter into, there was a post by someone else who holds a very critical and exclusive (dareisay exclusionary?) perspective on postmodernity and the emerging church.

the good thing about a list like this is that it is run essentially by the people who read it (as opposed to being an 'official' company line on anything.) the bad thing is that it features mainly the cerebral meanderings of many people who should probably just start their own blogs and send the address out to the crowd one time. you can hardly even read the 'del' on my delete key anymore.

now at the risk of sounding disunitive (and amidst a fair bit of sanctimony baloney of my own) i have found the sanctimonious nature of the posts by this one writer on this one email list a bit annoying. at my darkest, i read them so that i can be annoyed, but at my brightest, i choose to not read them because they annoy me... not much of a gap there. not much grace.
so much for being mr free-exchange-of-ideas.

anyway, in his post, this guy was extolling the virtues of a certain book that, in his view, all postmoderns and all emergent pastors should read. in the same post, he shared a few tidbits as anticipatory teasers to ready the soil for the seeds of wisdom that he would be sharing in a forthcoming synopsis and review of the book.

reading the teasers caused me to wonder by whom and for whom such a book is written.

it is the same thing. no big deal, the writer just believes he's right. he's found intellectual acquiesence among many, like the fellow posting the review, who subscribe to the same views. i am reminded of the episode of the simpsons where bart gets kicked out of school and, before finally settling on home-schooling, he is briefly enroled by marge in a school that proudly but falsely promises to put "the fun in fundamentalist dogma."

you see, from within rich personal tradition and its ugly twin, ethnocentricity, people who write often write at everyone else who, in this view, is obviously wrong and misguided... not to them.

from this place, a person often thinks that he/she is helping when he/she presumes to advise others... but in trying to acknowledge societal, philosophical, theological or doctrinal change from an unchanging (although not immutable- simply subjected to and strengthened in its resolve by opposing worldviews and new traditions) vantage point, one risks mispresumption on a number of levels. i wonder how often i wear that hat? i'm pretty sure i'm wearing it now, but i'm going to stand in front of the mirror for a few minutes and just see what i look and feel like with it on.

yep- i look and feel like an ass. call me not-so-jolly-beggar- jollybeggar's ugly twin.

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Blogger SocietyVs said...

I like the idea of a continuing stream of thought - kind of keeps us dialoguing - maybe not always agreeing - but at least wondering.

I agree, we are all presumptous (including myself) on a variety of issues which we have blogged on a lot of times. But I have been given some ammo for the arsenal in that regard, can't say i am proud of that but I am just a searcher too - sometimes too proud to back down from my own refurgitation - yuck man!

I am all for it - but know that I don't mean a bad thing to others but simply to challenge the desire to remain complacent and not open up to new views - or at least have to somewhat defend your own viewpoint and why it is that you hold it strongly. I'm an idiot.

Blogger BrotherKen said...

hey i am glad you addressed some of that stuff, i hate apologizing before being exposed for the fool i am. i also think this is worth the effort and i think you are onto something with the multi streams. some day you will be the answer to the trivia question "who was the first to introduce the popular hyper-threading blog causing an explosion of interest in the co-operative mindset resulting in world peace?" ok, got a little carried away, didn't mean to mock ya :-)

Blogger bjk said...

Wow....I may not be bright enough to participate BUT I sure look forward to reading and following.....INTERESTING

Blogger jollybeggar said...

"...I am just a searcher too - sometimes too proud to back down from my own refurgitation..."

ha ha- now there's an image... and it's even scriptural:

'As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.'
Proverbs 26:11

bless you, man, for continuing the search. i'm belching right along with you. the walk together is a good one, even if we occasionally detect the gut-wrenching smell of our own bile. to keep moving- that's not only the challenge, but the only hope of fresh air, yeah?

Blogger SocietyVs said...

You know I was thinking of something along that line scripturally - just couldn't remember where I had read it - so proverbs it's in.

Fresh air - yeah, Heinini is going to come out to one of my Action Group Meetings this Thursday - 'the times they are a changing' (Dylan).

Blogger SocietyVs said...

and can we blow up something for our religion?


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