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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Experiences

Wow! Almost a week without posting to the blog. Is this what a new addition to the family is like? It's not quite as hectic as it sounds. I have been planning to write something but haven't quite been able to gather my thoughts together sufficiently for my liking. I am planning to write some pieces about "Experiences of Faith". I gathered some preliminary articles but haven't had chance to read them and I am using some of Moltmann's reflections on the nature of experience as a springboard for my own thoughts.

I got thinking about experience as an outworking of my considerations of Christianity as a rationally "experienced" phenomena. So much of Christian faith seems to be discussed and appreciated at a rational level. Moltmann raises the point that "(the) identification of the true centre of human beings with consciousness and reason is Western, modern and, not least, typically male.

I have also been considering this issue with regard to what I may call the pentecostal/evangelical dichotomy whereas (in a general sense in order to make the preparatory point) a pentecostal service of worship with have a focus upon the emotions and a "heart" response whereas the evangelical service may be said to be focussed upon the consciousness and appealing to reason.

My contention is that such a divide is not healthy for the future of Christianity as an attractive option for the "unchurched" person or for those for a struggling with the difficult balance of life and faith. To be very simplistic an entirely "emotion centric" approach provides little or no intellectual content and so Christians are left without the ability to think through faith/life choices in a cohesive manner but, on the other hand, a completely "reason centred" approach leaves little scope for spontaneity and the interaction with, and appreciation of, one's emotions as God-given and valid for contemplating and working through faith/life issues.

There is much more to be written about this topic. These introductory thoughts simply lay down markers for the journey ahead.

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