Self Awareness, change and control

Following on from my previous post on theology and control I have been thinking about the type of resources we need to ensure that our thinking is not restricted or controlled and yet linked with the wisdom of the past. A basic model many use is the triangle of Culture, Scripture, and Tradition. However my practice encounters recently have challenged this and I wonder if the pull of theological norms that come from the traditions are too powerful. As I further reflected I was drawn into thinking about personal change and if this change is to be real and lasting how this stems from self awareness.

Now I have a conundrum in that I am more aware of the issue and the pull of the theological norm, but also aware of my own desire for change and self tendencies to push for this. There is an issue for me in the static nature of theological norms verses the dynamic nature of scripture. Whilst I recognise that tradition does change and evolve it is more gradual, whist culture is far more dynamic. Can scripture be a way to hold the tension and what role does self awareness play? It is bit like all three (Scripture, Tradition, Culture) are moving at different pace and yet I am also moving, so in order to do justice to the model I need to aware of my own tendency for change and this desire, and make sure that this does not mean I make too many jumps in my thinking (which would be easy as I am emerged in the fast moving culture) but work harder on the tradition to slow me down and the surplus in scripture to hold the tension.

Another issue for me is a growing awareness of how modernist and logical this approach is, which in itself causes me issues around control as I firmly believe that by working with different disciplines and traditions and engaging in mission progress is made and God moves in paradigm changing ways rather than in a gradual process (see redefining church

National Lampoon’s ‘Pledge This!’ Naughty Version release

) and that borrowing from different perspectives other than the christian tradition and reflecting this with scripture can help us see the changes needed. Yet this often leads to orthopraxis and the logic and knowledge base takes time to catch up.

3 thoughts on “Self Awareness, change and control

  1. The picture I imagined while reading this post was of some kind of ungainly tripod trying to move forward, but the legs are moving at different speeds – a very modernist mechanical image! Can I offer another picture – trying to find out where we are on a map by triangulation. As we listen for the voice of God, so we fit it into the context of our acculturated selves (the boundaries of the map – we can’t be meta to ourselves) and try to match it up with the landmarks that we have from Scripture and the mutable features of tradition. I know this is a limited picture (of course!) but it’s useful for me in situating “church” in a place on a map that hasn’t yet been completely filled in, and balancing the desire for change (running round all over the map to look at different views) with the need to keep an eye on the landmarks we have so we don’t get lost.

  2. thanks Steve. In many ways the ungainly tripod describes my frustration well. Looking back at the landmarks is a good image for me, as it gives the sense of freedom to explore but maintains points of reference.

    I also like the concept of situating church in a place that hasn’t been filled in as it is practice that leads us to these new places

  3. and on tradition, there’s a good little saying that goes, “tradition is the living faith of the dead, whereas traditionalism is the dead faith of the living”.
    merging old with current can bring new synergies, learnings, and riches out of the storehouse of the past to bless what god’s doing now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *