Friday, May 21, 2010

Simplicity versus Simplistic

A facebook interaction with a friend recently has stirred these thoughts and I am not really sure I have a good way to articulate what I am thinking. Ah, this is why I blog. I get to order ideas and thoughts on paper, well on a screen if we are going to be technical.

This began with the idea on her wall that Faith is not Intellectual Suicide. I thought long and hard about that idea and was trying not to comment because I knew it would develop into a longer conversation. But, in spite of my best attempts at self regulation, I commented. I said something like, "it may not be, but it sure feels like it sometimes when you see how the church and Christians tend to offer simplistic answers to complexity." Her response was that simplification of truth was the challenge. I responded back that at some level I think I see her point....HOWEVER...

Simplistic answers like: God, Jesus, Bible and Church just don't cut it anymore. Pray, Repent, Obey don't either. They are all still true, valuable answers -- we just have to measure how we use them. In a culture that no longer values the "I have all the answers" mentality that Christianity has prided itself on, we have to change our ways. It is now more attractive to have good questions, hard questions, ones that require a struggle.

And so, when considering these two "S" words -- we can agree that God is truth and that is simple, but it is everything that follows that statement that is nuanced, tensioned, and gritty that we need to be challenged with. If we simplify down to simplistic we are no longer representing God in the way He chose to reveal Himself to humanity.


WendyC said...

Pretty profound, Arlene. I hate what I call "reductionism" or lowest common denominator Christianity. You can't simplify Christianity to the level of arithmetric equations (faith + baptism = salvation) but some try to do so, and miss the majesty, mystery and inexplicability of God.

thekingpin68 said...

Yes, there is a need for proper reasonable and Biblical presentation of Christianity within Western culture.