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Posts Tagged ‘worldview’

I preached a sermon on the idolatry of science and technology last week. The audio can be found here, it is the evening service on 22/11/09

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Dr Goheen is going to be speaking at a conference in Bristol in a few weeks time.  Click here for details, there are still places available.

Here are a few lectures of his which I came across on the internet. They are excellent. Here is the link. (scroll to the bottom of the page) Here is the blurb for the lectures.

Dr. Goheen’s first session explores the gospel as the announcement that all of creation and human life is being renewed, and the church’s mission to make known that gospel in life, word, and deed. Understanding the comprehensive scope of the gospel is mission critical as we pray, work, study, and live in this world as God’s kingdom witnesses.

This second session explores how our capitulation to the Western worldview has limited the gospel and narrowed our mission. In order to fully embrace the big gospel of Jesus, we need to understand how we shrunk God?s big story in the first place.

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I am delighted to announce the forthcoming ‘Living at the Crossroads’ Mission, Worldview and Evangelism conference. This conference will take place on 4th April 2009 at Trinity College, Bristol, UK. The conference is based around themes from the recently published book ‘Living at the Crossroads’ by Craig Bartholomnew and Micheal Goheen.  Speakers include Micheal Goheen and, good friend and cheeky storyteller, Mark Roques

To keep up to date with this conference and obtain booking information go to the conference blog.

final-1-copy

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This afternoon I led a seminar for the post grads at Trinity College, Bristol. I ahve put the powerpoint on the blog as it conatins some interestign Wright and Pitre quotes on exile.

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Narrative and Ontology is also discussing worldview. I thought I would repost this old post in case its any use to anyone doing work on worldview.

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I started a paper a few months back which sought to offer a worldview reading of Galatians. Here is the first part of if. I have added the rest of it as a PDF file. See the link at the bottom of the page.

It still needs a conclusion….

It essentially takes N.T. Wright’s worldview model and seeks to read Galatians in a way so that the Pauline worlview can be sketched out.

 

Galatians and the Pauline Worldview

Historiography, Hermeneutics and Worldview

Interpreting Galatians, like any other ancient text, is far from simple for the chasm which stands between the interpreter and the original author is immense—this immensity being created by the differences to be found in historical location, culture, language and rhetorical conventions between the Pauline interpreter and Paul himself.

This hermeneutical challenge, which exists in all forms of communication, is in one sense minimised or bypassed by the ‘naïve’/modernist reader who think that simply by a close reading of the text the intended meaning of the author simply appears when the tools of realism, objectivity and empiricism are vigorously and methodologically applied.1


On the other hand the post-modern Pauline adventurer may simply see the chasm as being insurmountable as the historical tools of modernism are viewed as the worthless and arrogant product of an enlightenment epistemology. A post-modern adventure for Pauline studies may be described as a move from asking‘What did Paul mean?’ to ‘What does the text do and mean for my community?’, thus resulting in a shift away from ‘objectivity’ to the ‘subjective’ approach of multiple possible meanings.2

In contrast to both a modern and post-modern historiography I intend to sketch out and use a ‘Worldview Hermeneutic’ as a methodology to interpret Galatians and begin to construct ‘a’ Pauline theology. This worldview hermeneutic, as discussed in a previous essay3, relies heavily on the methodology of N.T Wright but seeks to apply this to one book within the Pauline Corpus. Before setting out on a worldview approach to Galatians it is necessary to sketch out, in broad strokes, the basic structure of a worldview.

Worldview

In recent decades there has been a steady rise in the use of worldview (Weltanschauung) which is seen not only across the academic community at large but also within the church, at both a popular and academic level, in its development of evangelism, mission, bible translation, ethical theory. The use of worldviews is so pervasive owing to the fact that it seeks not to offer a theoretical construct aimed at one area of life, instead it provides a interpretative framework which can be applied to all fields and spheres of human interpretation and existence.

A worldview (or vision of life) is a framework or set of fundamental beliefs through which we view the world and our calling and future in it. This vision need not be fully articulated….this vision is a channel for the ultimate beliefs which give direction and meaning to life. It is the integrative and interpretative framework by which order and disorder are judged; it is the standard by which reality is managed and pursued; it is the set of hinges on which all our everyday thinking and doing turns.4


Any worldview, whether ancient or modern , according to N.T. Wright, contains four basic interrelated components5;

1) Stories: Worldviews ‘provide the stories [grand narratives] through which human beings view reality’.

2) Questions: These grand narratives provide answers to the basic worldview questions. Who are we? Where are we? What is wrong? What is the solution?6

3) Symbols: Stories express themselves in cultural symbols, whether that be the symbol of the ‘credit card’ expressing the consumerist meta-narrative, or the ‘eagle’ expressing the grand narrative of Roman imperialism.

4) Praxis: Stories, Symbols and the answers to basic worldview questions provide a ‘way-of-being-in-the-world’, the stories which people indwell and the symbols which they cherish provide a call to action, whether that be the praxis of a terrorist ideology or the outworking of a nihilist mindset.

I intend in this essay to explore, within Galatians the role of story, symbol and praxis within the Pauline worldview.

  1. Story

Worldview Shift and the Damascus Road

And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles,…” Galatians 1:14-16

The events on the Damascus road undoubtedly had a major significance for the Apostle Paul. Once he was ‘advancing in ιουδαισμω Judaism ’ (1:14) but now he sees himself, in some sense, as separate from Judaism (1:13)7. The events of Damascus road have been variously described as conversion—from one religion to another—or by others as calling or commissioning8 which reflect his call to preach the gospel to the gentiles.

I propose that the Damascus event is best seen as a ‘Worldview Shift’. By using the word ‘worldview’ I intend to highlight that this is not simply a ‘religious event’ as the word ‘conversion’ in popular usage suggests, nor does the notion of ‘commissioning’ do full justice to the change in the entire outlook of Paul, a change that, as we shall see, provides an alternative to the story, symbol and praxis of Saul the Pharisee. I use the word ‘shift’ as opposed to ‘change’ to highlight, an obvious although important point, that Paul’s post Damascus worldview is still essentially Judaic through and through, but a modified form.9 By using the word ‘shift’ I mean that Paul’s worldview after Damascus has not changed completely but has shifted from what it once was, the worldview, in my opinion, has been modified.

Footnotes

1 For further discussion see Wright, The New Testament and the People of God Chapter 2-3

2 The phrase ‘Postmodern adventure’ I have taken from the influential essay by Clines A Postmodern Adventure in Biblical Studies: The Pyramid and the Net:

3 For a discussion of New Testament Historiography in the light of postmodernity see Swales, Postmodernity and New Testament History

4 As cited in Naugle Worldview 349, likewise N.T. Wright “Worldviews are thus the basic stuff of human existence, the lens through which the world is seen, the blueprint of how one should live in it, and above all the sense of identity and place which enables human beings to be what they are. To ignore worldviews, either our own or those of the culture we are studying, would result in extraordinary shallowness.” New Testament and the People of God 124

5 For a full discussion see Wright New Testament and the People of God esp pp 122-126

6 Mark Roques Five Big Worldview Questions provides answers to the basic worldview questions from a Nazi, Hollywood, Liberal, Christian, Enlightenment, Romantic, Pagan and a Buddhist perspective.

7 Ἰουδαΐσμός is used within Maccabees to differentiate between the way of life of Seleucid Hellenism and the Jewish religion (2 Macc 2:21, 8:1, 14:38, 4 Macc 4:26) becoming a term of honour amongst the Jews. See Longenecker Galatians

8 As with Stendahl “There is not—as we usually think—first a conversion, and then a call to apostleship; there is only the call to the work among the Gentiles” Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West

9 N.T Wright helpfully shows the similarities and differences between the Judaic and Pauline worldview in his frequent refrain of triad of covenant, monotheism and election. See Fresh Perspectives Wright

The full draft text is available by usign the following link.

Jon Swales. Worldview Reading of Galatians

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 Just a collection of quotes from N.T. Wright

 In order to answer the question ‘Why?’ in relation to the past, we must move from the ‘outside’ of the event to the ‘inside’; this involves reconstructing the worldviews of people other than ourselves’1

 ‘Worldviews are the basic stuff of human existence, the lens through which the world is seen, the blueprint for how one should live in it, and above all the sense of identity and place which enables human beings to be what they are. To ignore worldviews, either our own or those of the culture we are studying, would result in extraordinary shallowness.’2 

‘Worldviews, as I said earlier, are like the foundations of a house: vital, but invisible. They are that through which, not at which, a society or an individual normally looks; they form the grid according to which humans organise reality, not bits of reality that offer themselves for organisation3

 “Worldview are the lenses through which a society looks at the world, the grid upon which are plotted the multiple experiences of life.”

Worldviews may be studied in terms of four features; characteristic stories, fundamental symbols; habitual praxis; and a set of questions and answers.

A mindset is a worldview held by a particular individual 

 

‘Their world view is their picture of the way things in sheer actuality are, their concept of nature, of self and society’ 4 

There are four components of a worldview 

  1. ‘provide stories through which human beings view reality. Narrative is the most chacteristic expression of worldview, going deeper than the isolated observation or fragmented remark’5 
  2. ‘from these stories one can in principal discover how to answer basic questions that determine human existence: who we are, where are we, what is wrong , and what is the solution?’
  3. Stories and the answers provided to the questions are expressed in cultural symbols’
  4. Worldviews include a praxis, a way-of-being-in-the-world .6

 

1NT &POG 121

2NT&POG 124

3NT&POG 125

4Gertz, Clifford 1973 The interpretation of cultures: selected essays New York: Basic Books, 1973 127

5NT&POG 123

6NT&POG 124

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I am trying to see if there is a way of effectively putting powerpoint presentations on my blog which other users can download, modify and use themselves. This is a test run using slides for a presentation I will be giving later this week. I don’t know how useful this is as the fonts are skewed and program does not account for custom animation when text is placed over other text. I guess I could easily redo some of the slides

Whilst people are having coffee the following video will be running.

In the presentation we will also be looking at 5 worldview questions which I can use off-line by using this free program.

I actually don’t use microsoft powerpoint but the free and excellent open office.

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Worldview

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Ok, here it goes. This is my first theologcal ramble whch I have entitled ‘living by the script’.  I am not going to edit myself so I offer my apologies to those who may think I need for structure or better spelling.
How should we lve as Christians? I guess a typical answer would be ‘We live by the bible? This appears fine but I woudl want to ask what we mean by this?- The bible doesn’t seem to speak about issues which face us in the 21st century. Questions like ‘How should we respond to global warming?’ ‘What about capitalism? should we seek to impose democracy overseas?what about  civil partneships for practising homosexuals? I guess we may be able to find some proof texts for these things. However I want to suggest, as with Tom Wright, that we should view the bible as a script. It doesn’t give us the answers for everything but allows us to see how previous genrtaions of YHWH followers and the ‘communities of the king’ have responded to the issues they faced.
Bear with me as I want you to sue your imagination.
You are an actor who is looking for work. You are approached by a stage director at a local theatre. He says thsi to. ‘Hey I hear you want some work. Well we have a job for you. You see we have found a play written by Shakespeare. The probelm is we have the first 3 acts, but the fourth act is missing. We do have the ending however.’ As a skilled actor you accept the job. You read the script and you decide that you can make it work. You just need to improvise, along with the rest of the cast, so that it makes sense of where the play had got to, and also to make sense of where the play is going.
Ok, back to the bible. We have a story in the bible. The story of the mighty acts of YHWH and the story of a community who lives sometimes faithfully, and sometimes unfaithfully before him. In the last part of the story we have seen how with the arrival of the Messiah the spirit has now been poured on his community. The community are working, growing and strugging as they await the return of the King.  As Christians we are now part of this community and we are given the job of improvising. 
A few reflections on improvising.
    a) There is good improvisiation and bad improvisiation. Its not just a case of anything goes
    b) improvsiiation must take direction from previous charcetrs and acts in the story. However, the previous ats should not simply be repeated. A story, our story of redemption, works in a linear time format. We are going soemwhere as we await the return of the king.
Now back to the fictional story. If a number of other theartres developed a similar project using the same script. We would not expect the plays of the differant theatres to be exactly the same. The improvised acts may well be similar (as they make sens eof previous acts and work towards the final act) but they will also be differant.
Church, as covenant communities improvsing the story, will offer differant expressions of this improvisiation. Any theatre/church which says they have THE improvisition is mistaken. However, I would neither want to say that anything goes. We need to hold these ideas in tension, we  steer a line between simply repeating previous episodes, and with taking a line that anything goes.
  The church needs to reinvent itself every generation, not simply repeating previous acts but responding to character devlopments whetehr that be changes in the their communties or changes in the larger world of worldviews. It seems to me that some of the emergent folks are improvising based on the the developemnt of the postmodern mindset.
 I hope you catch my drift….

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