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David

Can We Rebuild After Deconstruction?

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What could I say to Bill? Forget the experts and forget about deconctructionism. When it comes to faith there are no necessary and sufficient conditions.

 

 

I would have to hear more. This sounds like a post modern conclusion.

 

Could you speak to my questions that I have used in an attempt to form this discussion? Is there anything deeper than correct belief or correct action? What do you think of the “deeper foundation for faith” that I have tried to describe?

Edited by David

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There is a new Gospel and a new Christian theology brought the old fashioned way, by divine revelation. Perhaps it's time to move forward past the End Times of Abrahamic religious conceptualization and embrace the new aeon.

You are in a protected area. You are not in the debate area.

 

Please read the rules: This area is for general, supportive discussion about progressive Christianity or related ideas. If you find that your views with regard to Christianity differ significantly from those that you encounter here, please do not use this area to challenge, debate or provoke.

 

Please explain to me how this post is appropriate given this rule. Given that you have already rejected Progressive Christianity please explain why you would consider posting in the protected area.

Edited by David

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I would have to hear more. This sounds like a post modern conclusion.

 

Could you speak to my questions that have attempted to form this discussion? Is there anything deeper than correct belief or correct action? What do you think of the “deeper foundation for faith” that I have tried to describe (obviously without success because it can not be put into words).

 

Take the issue to debate and dialogue, I'll answer you there.

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Take the issue to debate and dialogue, I'll answer you there.

I have no interest in starting a new thread. I like how this one is going. I appreciate the fact that I can suggest that DavidK and others not bring challenges to this area. It is my understanding that you can disagree within this thread as long as you are generally supportive of Progressive Christianity. I hope you will reconsider responding. If you do not want to however that is ok.

Edited by David

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I have no interest in starting a new thread. I like how this one is going. You can disagree here within this thread. But if you do not want to respond then that's ok.

 

Post # 15.

 

"Thank you for your responses. Minsocal: I agree with your comments ... "

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IMO, what is deeper depends on the individual personality. "Deeper" is not single sourced when it comes to human beings. If it is your nature to find "depth" in the external world. So be it. If it is your nature to find "depth" in your internal world, so be it. Both have found the same depth.

 

I will suggest this interpretation as I find it resonant with my own personality:

 

“The deep is tehom, the Hebrew for ocean, for depth as saltwatery first stuff of the universe; for depth as a dimension; and for chaos (Keller, 1999).” Chaos or tehom is that which resists a status quo order (Keller, 1999)."

 

I agree the "same depth" is found in the "external" world as well as the "internal" world. It is the same depth. And I agree that "depth" is not "single sourced". I have tried to point out a few examples but there are obviously many, many more. I also agree that this is not static; it resists a status quo order.

Edited by David

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I agree the "same depth" is found in the "external" world as well as the "internal" world. It is the same depth. And I agree that "depth" is not "single sourced". I have tried to point out a few examples but there are obviously many, many more. I also agree that this is not static; it resists a status quo order.

 

The source I cited (Keller) is very interesting. She states that men have a fear of "depth", what she calls tehomophobia. She goes on to state that "depth" will be not be obtained until women have full access to the process of change. I agree.

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If Progressive Christianity needs protection then perhaps it's time to rethink the paradigm. Please note the "perhaps" meaning a suggestion. David, you seem to be fearful that Progressive Christianity will somehow be sullied or made moot by criticism raised by non-Progressives. Why be so defensive if you think Progressive Christianity is A-OK? I made what I consider a highly relevant point to this topic, namely that without divine revelation there is nothing new in Christian theology, only the intellectualization of traditional Christianity's failure to give adequate meaning for many modern Christian believers. If necessary, I will take this point to the Debate boards but really, it belongs in this discussion unless Progressive Christianity devolves to become the restricted membership of a special interest clique.

 

The board provides for two different discussion areas. Just look upwards to "guidelines" on your webpage.

 

"This area is for general, supportive discussion about progressive Christianity or related ideas. If you find that your views with regard to Christianity differ significantly from those that you encounter here, please do not use this area to challenge, debate or provoke."

 

As I see it, if parties refuse to take differences to the debate and dialogue area, then discussion ends. When I find my views significantly different from the thread, I'll suggest moving to debate and dialogue. Otherwise I am forced to agree with points that are not even made explicit. I am asked to make points that may, or may not agree, with with an unknown stance. Anyway, I have better things to do.

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Sonomon,

 

After clarification of the problem you had with your understanding of Point 2 of TCPC do you still have a problem with Point 2. If so, david is correct but I have not made that prejudgement that you do not fall under the PC umbrella which is quite large. So , do you feel that you fit under that umbrella of points now. Do you have any conflicts with our TCPC points at this time Yes or No?

If no you may post here and your post was acceptable

If yes then it is not . and you know not to post in this section.

OK. No hard feelings either way.

 

Thanks Joseph

 

Merged response.....

 

Joseph,

 

I have no problem with those 8 points.

 

sonoman

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I would have to hear more. This sounds like a post modern conclusion. for faith” that I have tried to describe?

 

No, it's source is from those who oppose postmodernism. In fact, it predates postmodernism. The issue has to do with individual differences. Faith is a psychological state and no individual psychological state has necessary and sufficient conditions. I suppose, for some, "faith" can be an intellectual enterprise, in which case the rules of "faith" could be worked out by logic. Even then, there must be a "condition of satisfaction" that is an individual psychological state. If we discard "true" and "false" as the condition of satisfaction, we have an interesting picture. Instead, insert an emotion as the condition of satisfaction (this is what usually happens). Perhaps there is a sense of joy associated with faith, or elation, or ... ? To proceed into "depth" is almost always to proceed into emotion and intuition. This is a core assumption of Process Theology.

 

Postmodernism of the kind you have been exposed to seems to have failed. I think it failed simply because it offers nothing other than "destruction". This was not the original intent when the concept was first developed. If you look at the Eight Points you see what I think represents a reaction in opposition to postmodernism. In their current form, they are positive "we are" statments rather than negative "we are not" statements. I am not sure about this, but I think this was deliberate. This parallels a shift in psychology that is still taking place. The emphasis has shifted from the the study of what makes us "abnormal" to a more positive perspective of what makes us "normal". And, guess what, spirituality is back in psychology.

 

P.S. It was Nietzsche who first discussed the "necessary and sufficient" issue in modern times.

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The something deeper, in my opinion, is Love. Jesus said that we are to Love God with everything we have and love our neighbors as ourselves. From that everything else follows. This is how we reflect God's glory. It may seem like "right action," but it is more complicated than that. Being human involves many hard decisions. How do I "Give to everyone who asks?" "Love my enemies?"

"Who is my neighbor?" A lifetime can be spent figuring out how to relect God's glory through perfect Love.

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I remember reading Spong's "Resurrection, Myth or Reality" years ago and thinking that Spong's conclusions were too weak for men to die for (to be martyred).

 

Since then, I've tried to figure out for myself which teachings of Jesus do I try to follow. What progression do I see in man's understanding of God within the Bible and how have we continued to grow in that understanding since Biblical times? Jesus is the spirit-friend who encourages me to be more than I am.

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The something deeper, in my opinion, is Love. Jesus said that we are to Love God with everything we have and love our neighbors as ourselves. From that everything else follows. This is how we reflect God's glory. It may seem like "right action," but it is more complicated than that. Being human involves many hard decisions. How do I "Give to everyone who asks?" "Love my enemies?"

"Who is my neighbor?" A lifetime can be spent figuring out how to relect God's glory through perfect Love.

 

You have captured the essence of asking the hard questions. Love, as Whitehead said, "is just a bit amoral". You are right, IMO, it takes a lifetime.

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David's Post here moved to Complaint to TCPC under admin area.

 

Joseph

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No, it's source is from those who oppose postmodernism. In fact, it predates postmodernism. The issue has to do with individual differences. Faith is a psychological state and no individual psychological state has necessary and sufficient conditions. I suppose, for some, "faith" can be an intellectual enterprise, in which case the rules of "faith" could be worked out by logic. Even then, there must be a "condition of satisfaction" that is an individual psychological state. If we discard "true" and "false" as the condition of satisfaction, we have an interesting picture. Instead, insert an emotion as the condition of satisfaction (this is what usually happens). Perhaps there is a sense of joy associated with faith, or elation, or ... ? To proceed into "depth" is almost always to proceed into emotion and intuition. This is a core assumption of Process Theology.

 

Postmodernism of the kind you have been exposed to seems to have failed. I think it failed simply because it offers nothing other than "destruction". This was not the original intent when the concept was first developed. If you look at the Eight Points you see what I think represents a reaction in opposition to postmodernism. In their current form, they are positive "we are" statments rather than negative "we are not" statements. I am not sure about this, but I think this was deliberate. This parallels a shift in psychology that is still taking place. The emphasis has shifted from the the study of what makes us "abnormal" to a more positive perspective of what makes us "normal". And, guess what, spirituality is back in psychology.

 

P.S. It was Nietzsche who first discussed the "necessary and sufficient" issue in modern times.

Minsocal,

 

I will not be posting on the primary focus of this thread until Sonomon is able to check in but I thought I would send a quick note to you.

 

It seems to me that I look at postmodernism from a theological point of view and you approach it more from the field of psychology. I found your comment from that point of view interesting.

 

I see the move in theology towards postmodernism as a move from theological language to the language of psychology, anthropology and sociology. So I could see how there was not a comparable shift in the field of psychology. In theology the conversation went from Tillich to Jung. But it moved past Jung so that the important questions were “contained” by individual context (I see no evidence of even Whitehead being discussed much on holy hill anymore—but I’m not there as much as I used to be).

 

David

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Why wait for sonoman? He said he has not struggled with deconstruction. David started this thread in response to Bill's searching about what is still valid within Christianity.

 

I just finished looking up quotes about the quest for meaning. We're having a coffee shop discussion about that tonight. I ran into something interesting that may contribute to this discussion. The question was whether or not we can find true meaning in life without God. It made me think of the relationship aspect that has been being discussed in this thread:

 

(H. Gollwitzer, a theological student of Karl Barth)

1. The question of ‘What am I living for,’ is given a satisfactory answer only if it is a quest for something to which I can be in human communication: people whom I love and by whom I can be loved.

2. I ask about what survives me. Comfort must be able to bridge the gap that is brought by death.

 

 

On the basis of these two criteria, it can be established whether something can give us sufficient meaning. Does some good, like money or employment or sexuality give meaning? It does not meet both requirements. Can an idea or a collective - socialist society or one’s country serve as an instance that gives meaning? It meets the second criteria, but not the first. And God? The Christian answer meets both requirements. You can have a relationship with God, and God can withstand death.

 

Relationship with God (loving God with all my heart) makes me want to glorify God with my life. What drives those people who do not have that motivation to love sacrificially? Is it just a general love for humanity? There are a few humans I can only see as loveable if I look through the eyes of the creator. :-) When I look around, many humans are fully consumed just loving those in their pack, which is an animal instinct.

 

One of the historical benefits of Christianity was that it encourages us to root out sinful behavior and try to reflect God's goodness. I understand that self-help can also break people of undesired patterns of behavior. Since there is a direct benefit to self, people are pretty interested in it. Are the changes asked for by pop-psychology the same ones that are asked for by Jesus?

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Why wait for sonoman? He said he has not struggled with deconstruction. David started this thread in response to Bill's searching about what is still valid within Christianity.

It is evidently a weakness of mine that others evidently do not share although some who before said they do not want to post in the same area as DavidK are now strangely silent. You need to review “Complaint to TCPC” and “Posting in the Protected Area” for some of what is going on but you will not see it all because some of my posts have been censored. Bottom line is that I do not feel that this “protected area” is being protected. If Sonomon posts here then I will not (although I have communicated with him in other parts of this forum and will continue to do so hopefully in a civil manner). I’m waiting for him to check in.

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I certainly wasn't trying to imply by your words that you have a weakness I don't share. I hope we can keep these message boards on topic, because I think this is such an important topic for us progressive Christians to talk about together. Essentially, I've been asking people not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but we need to come up with how to communicate what the baby is. What do we have to share with the world if we don't believe we have the "inerrant word of God" or an exclusive right to heaven?

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Minsocal,

 

I will not be posting on the primary focus of this thread until Sonomon is able to check in but I thought I would send a quick note to you.

 

It seems to me that I look at postmodernism from a theological point of view and you approach it more from the field of psychology. I found your comment from that point of view interesting.

 

I see the move in theology towards postmodernism as a move from theological language to the language of psychology, anthropology and sociology. So I could see how there was not a comparable shift in the field of psychology. In theology the conversation went from Tillich to Jung. But it moved past Jung so that the important questions were “contained” by individual context (I see no evidence of even Whitehead being discussed much on holy hill anymore—but I’m not there as much as I used to be).

 

David

 

David,

 

I am assuming here that the term "deconstruction" used here is the same as defined by Derrida. That being the case, I never found any use for it. For Derrida, "meanings that are fully present to consciousness are in principle impossible (Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy)." I chose the work of John Searle instead to form a bridge from Jung to cognitive science and emerging trends in psychology. Searle, by the way, is a major opponent of Derrida and postmodernism. Derrida is decidedly anti-psychology. The version of post modernism I am familiar with follows Derrida and is agressively anti-psychology.

 

Is it possible that theolgy has it's own definition of these terms? I once heard Fred Plummer say something to that effect.

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No, it's source is from those who oppose postmodernism. In fact, it predates postmodernism. The issue has to do with individual differences. Faith is a psychological state and no individual psychological state has necessary and sufficient conditions. I suppose, for some, "faith" can be an intellectual enterprise, in which case the rules of "faith" could be worked out by logic. Even then, there must be a "condition of satisfaction" that is an individual psychological state. If we discard "true" and "false" as the condition of satisfaction, we have an interesting picture. Instead, insert an emotion as the condition of satisfaction (this is what usually happens). Perhaps there is a sense of joy associated with faith, or elation, or ... ? To proceed into "depth" is almost always to proceed into emotion and intuition. This is a core assumption of Process Theology.

 

Postmodernism of the kind you have been exposed to seems to have failed. I think it failed simply because it offers nothing other than "destruction". This was not the original intent when the concept was first developed. If you look at the Eight Points you see what I think represents a reaction in opposition to postmodernism. In their current form, they are positive "we are" statments rather than negative "we are not" statements. I am not sure about this, but I think this was deliberate. This parallels a shift in psychology that is still taking place. The emphasis has shifted from the the study of what makes us "abnormal" to a more positive perspective of what makes us "normal". And, guess what, spirituality is back in psychology.

 

P.S. It was Nietzsche who first discussed the "necessary and sufficient" issue in modern times.

 

It has been ages since I posted on this site but this topic really grabbed me. I'm surprised that no one in this thread has referred to John Cobb's or David Griffin's ideas labeled as "Constructive Postmodernism". This issue is an epistemological problem. Although I can hold no intellectual belief with certainty, I do not agree with Kant that "knowing" only comes about through sensory perception. There is a pre-cognitive knowing, a "soma awareness", an intersubjective awareness, which won't provide logical, or empirical certainty... but it does provide a ground for faith.

Edited by PantaRhea

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So where have you been? I would rather not get into a detailed description “about” what you are talking about since that would be a form of “correct belief” discussion. But when you say “There is a pre-cognitive knowing, a "soma awareness", an intersubjective awareness, which won't provide logical, or empirical certainty... but it does provide a ground for faith.”, that’s exactly what I am pointing towards.

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Janet,

 

I thought again about my post which is really not fair to you and others that may want to move on with this discussion. So let’s move on. If Sonomon posts I will revisit my decision.

 

I like your lifting up not just “love” which can easily become a “correct belief” but you lifted up “love your enemies”. “How do I give to everyone who asks”? Jesus talked in parables it seems to me because the “deeper foundation for faith” can not easily be approached directly with words. Words are too often associated with “correct belief”. When you posted this I thought of the word “compassion”. It seems to me that “compassion” may point to that which is deeper than correct belief or correct action.

 

I am uncomfortable about the “quest for meaning” pointing towards that depth which is deeper than correct belief. That is because the quest for correct belief and the quest for meaning can be seen to be the same quest. You probably did not intend that. You stated that the depth for you is associated with what is worth dieing for. But even there many have seemingly died for correct action or correct belief.

 

Thanks for suggesting that we move on.

 

David

Edited by David

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For me one word that points beyond itself to the depth that is deeper than correct action or correct belief would be the word forgiveness. You obviously can approach this word from the direction of correct belief. You can provide many words that help us understand more about forgiveness and arguably provide a more “correct” understanding of forgiveness. Or you could do many things that would seem to be a “correct” action that reflects forgiveness. Some actions arguably could reflect forgiveness more “correctly”. But it seems to me that the experience of forgiveness goes much deeper than correct action or correct belief. It would seem to me that the experience of forgiveness therefore needs to be included in that “deeper foundation for faith” that we are talking about.

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Can we get personal here? Can we share what we each have ended up with so far during our rebuilding process, rather than talking in broad terms or quoting theologians?

 

TCPC is concurrently running a blog through Open Path. http://tcpc.blogs.com/openpath/

:P There is a related post on that site, where a member is asking if we are on thin ice dropping basic tenets of Christianity and at what point the ice breaks. Considering those questions may help us to understand what we truly have left, if we break with orthodoxy.

 

Personally I see the search for meaning as different than the search for correct belief. Jesus calls us to invest our life with meaning by serving others and trying to reflect the glory of God in our lives. The motivation for this is to be love for God. It is not about what is good for oneself, but rather what is good for the Kingdom of God. Also, the idea of the Kingdom and it's ongoing mission gives us a legacy to leave after we die. It is a challenge that motivates me to be better than I am and to live life abundantly.

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Is it possible that theolgy has it's own definition of these terms? I once heard Fred Plummer say something to that effect.

The movement that I am trying to describe is really basic epistemological skepticism. But the movement has been associated with post modernism. From Wikipedia: “Deconstruction is a term which is used to denote the application of postmodern ideas of criticism, or theory, to a "text" or "artifact", based on architectural deconstructivism. A deconstruction is meant to undermine the frame of reference and assumptions that underpin the text or the artifact…The more common use of the term is the more general process of pointing to contradictions between the intent and surface of a work and the assumptions about it. A work then "deconstructs" assumptions when it places them in context.” Literary analysis or textual criticism is one of the many forms of “criticism” that has been used to look at the Bible but the post modern skepticism did not stop at the Bible. It went on to “deconstruct” (in the non technical/common meaning of the term) theology. Context trumps content everytime. There is no reality beyond words and words are stuck in context. So I use the word “deconstruction” in a very common way because that has become it’s context—the context of stating that no “objective” truth exists and the way to show that is to attack the words that supposedly provide “objective” truth. Of course the natural response is that Truth was never constrained by those words to begin with.

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