wanted for hire

>> November 29, 2010

WANTED FOR HIRE: one hip individual able to relate, knowledge not required, experience necessary.

A few years ago, back BC (before children) when I was working in full-time ministry, a friend and I were chatting about my upcoming trips planned for the year. When he discovered that Amsterdam was on the itinerary, he joked that I needed to definitely try some "stuff" while I was there.

Yeah, well, "I'm sort of a health nut" I replied.

"So how is a health nut, [i.e. somebody rigid and totally UNfun like you], ever supposed to be able to relate? Aren't you working in a ministry to reach postmoderns? Then you need to explore more! Smoke a little stuff, party it up!"

That got me thinking. Just how much do I have to experience in order to relate?

Oh yes, I believe everyone must travel their own journey. And no, I don't think it's possible to live life without ever making a mistake or a wrong judgment call, just because we hope to learn from the mistakes of others. Rare is the child who accepts "No! Hot!" as final, without still trying to touch the stove.

But how much do we have to experience to be able to relate?

If you're going to teach nutrition to cannibals, must you eat human flesh in order to understand their mindset?

If you're a rehabilitation therapist who is counseling a sexually abusive serial killer, must you go slaughter and rape a few victims before you can get inside the patient's mind to help bring healing?

Do I have to go get rip roaring drunk to acknowledge the medical fact that a hangover is likely to result?

Just how far should we go? Where is the balance? Is knowledge really worth so little without experience? Could experience be overrated? But then, most of us Christians are still feverishly trying to create a faith experience that moves our beliefs from the head to the heart.

Religion without soul is hypocrisy.

So then, if experiential ownership of faith is paramount, what worth does knowledge have at all? Does only experience count? Is it preferable to have only soul without "truth"? Or does knowledge make a difference as well?

And in the quest for reaching our secular and postmodern world with the gospel, what are our limits? Do we immerse ourselves in philosophical theories until we have lost our ability to believe?

Just how far do we go?

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Karen Suvankham,  December 1, 2010 at 4:53 PM  

Excellent thought-provoking article!

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