Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Biblical Worldviews and More from Barna

Go to http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdateNarrowPreview&BarnaUpdateID=271 This is the latest George Barna study and seems apt as we approach Pentecost and consider the spirit of God and the church. George Barna's research is useful to all though we often interpret it differently. For example, I would agree with his basic premise that many who profess Christianity do not have a "biblical worldview" and that having such a view is important, perhaps crucial, yet I would disagree with him drastically in some ways about what that biblical worldview actually is: he uses the term and assumes all agree with him, or that if you don't then you aren't a traditional or orthodox Christian which means not being a Christian to him or many like him.

Also you might follow up on his site to another link where he plugs his new book and his ideas about "Thinking Like Jesus." His premise is that to act like Jesus one must first think like Jesus, which means coming to a set of mental conclusions and propositions of orthodox or dogmatic Christianity. Much of our liberal Christian heritage and tradition has been that one can "act your way into thinking" instead of trying to "think your way into actions" and that by putting action first (Christian character more than Christian creeds as the early Unitarians put it in the 1805-30 years) you might actually come out with a different understanding of Jesus and commitment to Jesus than the other way around. Another interesting observation or question is: can we, in the 21st century, "think like" Jesus who was rooted in a rural, oral-culture, ancient model where the sense of one's self is very different from what it commonly is today, especially in the northern hemisphere and in the U.S.? I would say a big step toward "thinking like Jesus" would be to become engaged in radically challenging our default modes of how we see and value the world and all in it, which is what Jesus did, challenging our orthodoxies.

Barna, like many evangelicals, now asks the questions and does the research we need to be paying attention to, even if we come out of it in different places, which is one of the reasons why hanging out with such evangelicals of his more fundamentalist stripe (as opposed to the emerging stripe) is helpful in us seeing our own tradition better.

There is much again in this annual survey of his that is discussable. Where he sees crisis I see opportunity.

2 comments:

Dace said...

I would say a big step toward "thinking like Jesus" would be to become engaged in radically challenging our default modes of how we see and value the world and all in it, which is what Jesus did, challenging our orthodoxies.

Amen! The hardest challenge I fear is to step outside of our paradigms and societal mores, to see them objectively and then ask the oft-misunderstood question: "What would Jesus do?

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