Beyond Absolutism, Pluralism, and Relativism: Brian McLaren 7/03/05
I. Jane Goodall story
She loved Tarzan novels, wanted to live in the jungle, but didn't; go to college. She was a secretary. But this guy game to her, looking for someone with no education, a woman, to go and observe chimps.
Why someone with no education? Because what you focus on determines what you miss. She didn't know what to look for. She just looked and took notes.
She named the chimps. Got used to the chimps. One day, David Greybeard held her hand. It went from observation to a relationship.
Goodall ended up not only studying, but serving the chimps.
II. The Shift
Jane represents the shift from modern to postmodern. In the modern era, you had to label, dissect, take things to the lab, study them on our terms. That was "objectivity".
Goodall wasn't like that. She met them on their terms.
So the question is, how do we engage others? Conquest and control? Or understand on their terms?
McLaren says it's a shift that takes us closer to the way God sees things.
God is personal. Nothing is objective, because it's all his. God sees and knows everything and cares about it all. It's all relevant to God. We've been formed to the modern world. But we should be nonconformists.
If we think of everything as God's, it should change our perspective.
Don't treat people as objects, but as family.
We need to live in the universe God created.
III. Other stuff people asked at the talk's end...
(By the way, I'm putting these notes into an outline format. That's not how McLaren did it, but I did it to break it up for those not having the benefit of hearing these talks.)
What about going out into the world? What if I want to go into bars and minister, but friends are afraid I'll get drunk?
McLaren responds there are a lot of dangers in the world, and drinking and all that stuff are bad. But so is consumerism. Having the biggest CCM collection can be bad too.
The thing is to overcome evil with good -- go into the world with a sense of mission.
The factor worker doesn't go to work saying 'I hope I don't cuss today', but instead says, 'I hope serve somebody', etc.
Then McLaren touched on the difference between acceptance and approval, and how accepting people doesn't mean we approve of their choices and lifestyles.
McLaren was asked to talk about consumerism. He says commerce is good, even says money is ok.
The love of it is bad.
The idea of commerce he says, is that we use money as a token, to show I'm exchanging my strength for your strength. In that sense economics is a beautiful thing.
Part of the postmodern transition is that postmodernism is post-national. The nation has less important than it was.
When government exists to serve economy it doesn't represent justice.
And that's about all I took notes on, so enjoy!