Thursday, November 22, 2007

Too Many Words

Peter Paul Rubens - The Four PhilosophersOne of the blogs I read from time to time is run by a group of people that are obviously educated to some degree. They throw around some pretty big words sometimes, usually when they are attempting to prove a fairly simple point.

Yesterday, they were discussing an interview with Doug Pagitt (emergent church people love the guy) where, in the hearing of some, he came across as "hesitant and most unable to give clear answers to simple questions." (NOTE: DO NOT speak ill of Doug Pagitt on emergent friendly blogs! They really become upset when you do that.) I didn't hear the interview, but it appears that at some point, Pagitt pulled a "Joel Osteen" and "hummm'd" and "haaugh'd" around a question. One commentor took him to task for not hitting the softball out of the park.

Question: When a muslim dies where does he go?
Answer [what Pagitt should have said]: He goes to hell which is why we must tell him about Jesus.
Sounds right to me, but then one of the regulars (big emergent defender) jumps in with:
Here is the Platonistic dualism (emphasis mine) you are right on… yet biblically all will be judged according to what they have done. Jesus stated that, that is what is stated in Rev 20 in the Great White Throne Judgement...

I took a psychology class my senior year in high school. Not because I wanted to, but because I already had enough credits to graduate and I had to take some classes to fill up my schedule. The class was taught by one of the football coaches (go figure) who took a pretty lax approach to education. Most days were: "Read the next chapter." or "What did you learn from the chapter you read yesterday?" There were, occasionally, pop quizes or tests over some of the material, but all-in-all, it was a pretty easy class...especially the "year-end final."

Coach walked into the classroom, stood at the front and stated: "Today is your final. Get everything off your desk expect a clean sheet of paper and something to write with." Then he walked over to the chalkboard (remember those boys and girls?) and in large letters wrote:

What do you think?

"That's your test," he said--and he sat down at his desk. We all looked at each other with that "what the?..." look. That's IT?! "What do you think?" How is that a test?

The students around me started writing feverishly, recounting many of the topics we had covered throughout the year, waxing eloquent about all kinds of philosophical and psychological theories. I sat there a moment...pondered the question, and then, in my best penmenship wrote: "I think it takes a big dog to weigh a ton." I signed my name to the paper, gathered my things, walked up to Coach's desk, turned in my "test," and walked out of the classroom.

Several days later, Coach walked into the classroom with a stack of papers--our graded finals. We sat there as one by one, he passed out the papers. Then he came to my desk. "Whitfield," he said, "you actually answered the question--what do YOU think? Not exactly what I was lookin for, but you told me what you thought." He handed me my test and there at the top...was a big, red "A"!

Sometimes, it's best not to use too many (or too big) words.


Neil said...

They are a wee bit defensive, aren't they?

I consider myself to be pretty analytical, but I think we need to step back often to remember the simple points (e.g., Muslims and others who die without Christ go to Hell for eternity).

Dissecting God like a cadaver may make one feel intellectually superior but ultimately misses the point.

Baxter said...

That was so cool and SO FUNNY! :) Great way to make a point. 2 Cor 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the SIMPLICITY and purity {of devotion} to Christ.

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

That is what removes credibility when you will not honestly address errors from some who you like. It's like refusing to discpline your own child.

Pagitt has crossed the line as I believe MacLaren has. The rest are walking a fine line, but those two have jumped the fence.

Coram Deo said...

You can check out Pagitt's non-responses to Todd Friel and enjoy several devastating critiques of the interview as well over at Pyro.

"Pyromaniacs: One stop shopping for emergent error!"

Keith said...

I've been out of pocket for a couple of days (family Thanksgiving thing).

Neil - yep, they can be a bit defensive. They also tend to make things WAY too complicated.

Baxter - actually I was a lttle surprised that I got an "A". I was probably trying to be more of a smart-aleck than make the grade.

Henry - I STILL don't understand why you hand around over there (as a contributor). Maybe someday you'll expose the "chink in their armor."

Coram Deo - Love the Pyros!

Baxter said...

Hey, I miss your little "toon" picture. :) You should find a way to incorporate him into your blog design. Not that the "thinking" photograph isn't appropriate for your blog, but I found the little "toon" character cute. Oh, BTW, I also went and checked out Todd's web site and when I read his "Before I cross into blasphemy territory (which is very easy to do depending upon WHO reads your blog)," I knew the "WHO" had to be a link to you. LOL Love a sense of humor! Thanks Todd!

Keith said...

Baxter: Todd doesn't like it when I use the "b" word...of course, the Apostle Paul didn't leave us with a list of unacceptable words, so I'm feeling pretty safe with that one. 8^)>

I may resurrect the "cartoon" profile pic. I've been playing with the masthead, etc. the past couple of weeks. Who knows where it'll end up.

Team Awesome said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Confessor said...

The point isn't a blanket defensiveness about Doug Pagitt.

It's playing the gotcha game and that is the point that was being made.

It's not an attempt to defend Doug's outlook. He's responsible for it. No one else is.

It doesn't matter that it's Mr. Pagitt.

But, then again--if you are committed to keeping things simple--that might be too nuanced of a concern.

And please.
Save the "you need to defend" him tripe. He's a big boy. He should of manned up and just answered the question. It fed ammo to people he's smart enough to know have an agenda.

BTW, what's wrong with being defensive when people are playing manipulative games?

To use the word "defensive" as a kind of perjorative code to neutralize people from acknowledging real offenses is dishonest and manipulative too.

Just my nickel for ya'll.


Keith said...

Confessor: Keep the change...but thanks for dropping by (I think).