Sunday, November 29, 2015

My Thoughts on the End of Protestantism Articles

A response to Jay's post on the End of Protestantism which was inspired by a First Things Article that suggests a  move to Reformational Catholicism.

I think it is a good thing to acknowledge and learn from the wealth of Christian history prior to the Reformation.  The recently deceased Phyllis Tickle was of the opinion that Christendom undergoes a big change every 500 years.  The Reformation commenced about 500 years ago, The previous period began with the Great Schism between Catholic and Orthodox.  And roughly 500 years before that was the time of Pope Gregory the Great whose actions and import she describes in her books.  Of course this all began 500 years earlier with the life of Christ.  These periods are accompanied by changes in society.  In Pope Gregory's time it was the fall of the Roman Empire and changes in travel and communication and other structural changes of life then.  Of course, the Reformation was made possible by the invention of the printing press.  When the form of communication changes, the nature of human consciousness changes.  We live in such a time.  We are transitioning from a print culture to digital culture.  With this change comes new ways of looking at the Bible and religion.  It is good and necessary that we mine riches from the past.  And thanks to easy digital access to the writings of earlier Christian thinkers and contemporary students of them, we can.  But we should also look to the future and the changes that are in process and coming.  Our younger cohorts are not convinced by the word formulas lifted from a seemingly common sense reading of the Bible.  I say seemingly because one cannot read the Bible text by oneself.  One's community is sitting on the shoulder guiding the effort.  It is an exciting time to see all of this unfolding and the new styles of Christianity being born.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Don't Be Such A Scientist

I recently finished Randy Olson's book, Don't Be Such A Scientist.  After establishing himself as a scientist by teaching, doing field research, and publishing;  he decided to change his calling and make films.  Quite an odd progression it seems to me.  He desired to make documentaries that called on his science expertise. In order to pursue his new career he took acting classes.  The experience helped convey to him what stirs an audience.   He claims some of the very personality characteristics that help a person be a good scientist are a hindrance to science communication.  It is one reason much of the public has problems with understanding and being convinced by scientists in regard to climate change.

He says scientists are typically "handicapped by a blind obsession with truth."  They do not care much how something is said or by whom it is said as long as it meets scientific rigor.  However, the public is more likely to believe someone if they are likeable and good at telling a story.  They much show passion, emotion, and humor.

It is a difficult problem.  When I've read or see in the news about research and developments with which I'm familiar, I find simplifications and minor inaccuracies.  It has been awhile and specifics have left me, so I cannot think of an example.

I saw myself in his characterizations.

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