Diagnosing the Current Normal of the Church: An Interview with Tom Ingram

Is it true the frog does not discern the temperature in the kettle until it is too late? Years ago the answer was, Yes. Today, the answer is No.

Despite the corrective science, the metaphor continues provide a way of explaining the dangers of gradual changes. For instance, if the container allows the frog to escape the water, it will. If not, it is not the acclimation of the frog to its surroundings but instead the reality there is no way out.

Is There a Way Out?

Many contend there is no way out for the dislocation of the Church in modern culture. I use modern in the sense of contemporary not as modernity, though most acknowledge we are still stuck with modernity like it or not.

It could be true there is no way out of we could agree the container, the world/culture, offers no escape. But, that may even stretch the analogy too thin. Culture is continually morphing so it may not be viewed as a static container able to keep the Church in check. But, if the Church fails to understand the changing container then it may be more Pavlovian. Conditioned by culture warring, there is a patterned response that when the call to arms is heard, Christians despair the loss of its once lofty status.

Maybe we need to diagnose the Church and not culture.

Diagnostic Neurophysiologists to the Rescue?

 Tom Ingram is on the podcast today. He is the author of the book, The New Normal: A Diagnosis the Church Can Live With. In the book Tom takes the diagnostic approach of a neurophysiologist and discerns the current normal of the Church. He then proposes a way forward. The obstacle, Tom says, is out big buts. Not bad for a play on words!

Here is a blurb about Tom,

After many years in the creative and business sides of television and music production, Dr. Ingram now divides his time between research/writing and mentoring/coaching/encouraging others in their efforts to pursue God purpose for their lives. He holds a Master of Business Administration in Leadership and a Doctor of Ministry in Semiotics and Future Studies.

Signs and Meaning

Some of you may have googled semiotics. Think of it as signs and meaning. Yes, this is overly simplistic, but it gets you on the road. Listen to the podcast and you will hear Tom provide a great illustration to help see the value in semiotics.

My friend David Phillips also received his D.Min. studying under Leonard Sweet. David told me that Len believes the church needs an increase in semioticians in our ever changing culture. He may well be right.

Tom suggested the book, I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World, as an entry point for semiotics and metaphor. Check it out.

If you find the podcast helpful, share it with your friends. Share it with your pastor friends as well as folks you know involved in leadership that touches on the pastoral. Also, consider heading over to iTunes, login, search for pathological and give us a five star rating and a kind review.

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

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